Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Gay Pride 2009

This past weekend was Gay Pride. Here in NYC, it’s always the last Sunday in June to commemorate the Stonewall riots that jettisoned the gay rights movement in 1969. What makes this year special is that it was the 40th anniversary of the riots. The picture you see here (courtesy of the New York Blade) shows Governor David Paterson, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (our first lesbian council member) all marching at the head of the parade on Sunday. I must admit, it’s a great thing to live in a city where we have leadership in support of gay and lesbian rights. It gives you a sense of comfort that you cannot find in other parts of the country or world.

That said, I’m not very political, as readers of bklynbiblio know by now. I’ve never marched in a gay rights rally and I doubt I ever will. It’s just not my thing. I prefer education, not politics, as a way to make a difference. And while it would be great to see anti-gay discrimination and homophobia disappear immediately, sometimes I feel like my apolitical, education-based perspective allows me to have more patience about these issues. Things take time. Gay marriage and the dismissal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” won’t happen over night, or possibly even in 2009. They are simply too controversial for some people. But they will happen, in due time. You cannot change people’s minds by snapping your fingers, especially when religion is the foundation of their beliefs. And rather than be angered by these attitudes, I believe we should reflect on them and work to bring people around through education. Let’s face it, if it were so easy to change people’s minds, every gay man and lesbian would have been made straight by their parents ages ago. Instead, for hopefully many of us, our parents now accept and understand us, but it took them time as well. Don’t misunderstand me. I abhor intolerance. I’m also very disturbed by the ever-increasing number of gay hate crimes that have been happening all over the place. There was at least one gay bashing in Chelsea after the parade, and reports come in all the time on various gay news agencies and blogs about more beatings (note that rarely do these ever appear on mainstream news sites). But I believe we have to work through education to make people realize that we all deserve equal rights and true acceptance beyond tolerance. It will happen, with time.

For me Gay Pride is about hanging out with my friends, just relaxing and having fun. This year, friends visited from Texas and a group of us hung out all weekend. We did dinner and drinks on Saturday night, and we watched the parade march down Fifth Avenue (with thousands of other people) for over 3 hours on Sunday afternoon (fortunately from a lovely shady and elevated spot). There was all the expected at the parade: civil rights activists, drag queens, muscle boys, dykes on bikes, and everything in-between, with floats proclaiming political messages or just pulsating dance music. All in all, it was a fun afternoon.

For more on the parade and festivities, check out the following sites: a great list of many sites regarding Pride on Andy Towleroad's blog; a few more pictures from the New York Blade; Jeremy W. Peters's New York Times article "Gay Marriage Lost in Shuffle of Divided Senate" accompanied by a few more pictures deals with NY politics; and even Google was in on it, with a blog post and pictures of their employees marching and participating in gay pride events around the world.

1 comment:

corporate video production said...

what about hetersexual pride day?