Gay Pride or Gay Comfort?
Halloween is a very popular event where I live. It’s one of the few times in the year when members of the large homosexual population in West Hollywood can put on a dress and impersonate Carol Channing without fear of ridicule. Another of these occasions is “Gay Pride Day,” a phenomenon that happens, it seems, in more American cities every year. Most people think Gay Pride celebrations are a good and salutary thing. I don’t.
There isn’t one type of gay person — just as there isn’t one type of Jew, Italian, or Vegan. But what all gay people do have in common is that they like to make love with others of their sex. This difference — supposedly 90% of humanity prefers to make love with people of the opposite sex — is not, in my view, something to be proud of. Comfortable with? Absolutely. Unashamed of? By all means.
But proud of? Being proud of being genetically programmed to want sex with people who have the same anatomy as you seems just as silly as being proud of being genetically programmed to want sex with people who don’t have the same anatomy. The reason we don’t have Straight Pride celebrations — or Men Who Like Threesomes parades, or Bukkake Lovers days — is because most straight people understand that our sexual preference isn’t something to be celebrated. We’re not responsible for it; it’s just something that exists more or less involuntarily.
What Gay Pride events do, then, is to celebrate a sexual difference. Differences aren’t bad. They’re what makes America the greatest, most heterogeneous country in the history of civilization. But gays (and most other minorities in the United States) correctly want to be treated the same as everyone else, irrespective of who they want to sleep with. Gays want to be integrated into the fabric of American society, to be judged not by who they bed but by the content of their character. And they ought to be.
To have parades and speeches loudly declaiming pride in sexual difference doesn’t encourage this process; it highlights the opposite. (So do the Gay Games and the Gay Men’s Choir and every other organization and event that excludes those who do not fuck members of the same sex.) I’m glad that my gay friends and neighbors are comfortable with their sexual preference. They should be. Perhaps not marching about it would be the most eloquent expression of this comfort.