Sunday, June 25, 2006

What the hell do gay people
have to be proud of?

We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of “morality,” when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes, when entire states vote us into second-class status, when our employers fire us, when our landlords evict us, when our police harass us, when our neighbors and colleagues and fellow citizens openly insult and condemn and mock and berate and even beat and kill us—we continue to survive.

We’re proud because pride is the opposite of shame—and despite what the Christian hate industry works so hard to make the world believe, there is nothing shameful about being gay.

We’re proud because more and more, we are able to live our lives openly and joyfully without fear of losing our jobs, losing our housing, losing our families and losing our lives.

We’re proud because we are smart enough to overcome the self-loathing that our increasingly venomous, mindlessly theocratic society forces on us, and we have the power to stop its destructive cycle by fighting back and by making intelligent choices involving sex and drugs and money and relationships and the way we live our lives.

We’re proud because after all we’ve been through, the world is starting to notice and respect us and emulate the often fabulous culture we’ve assembled from the common struggles and glorious diversity of our disparate lives.

We (and from this point on, I really mean “I” when I say “we”) are proud because we got up on Saturday at the ungodly hour of 5:40 to pick up our friends and get to the south side in time to eat and stretch and run 12 miles on what turned out to be a beautiful morning.

We're proud that our chorus show went off without a hitch, garnering two standing ovations in a row and many rounds of congratulations and high-fives.

We're proud that what had been an acrimonious relationship with our ex-boyfriend has quite suddenly reconciled itself into what feels like a very nice friendship.

We’re proud because we watched the World Cup AND the gay pride parade today with our New Running Buddy and his friends and we feel all butch and worldly and somehow culturally balanced now. And even after our 100th sweaty drag queen and our 200th sweaty attitude queen and our 500th drunken crack-whore queen, we could still see through the “pride” in the parade and enjoy the underlying Pride in the parade.

We're proud because when we were asked to dance shirtless on a float with a bunch of models and muscleboys, we had the presence of mind to know that while we may posess some physical charms, we would look ridiculous dancing all exposed next to people who make a living off their near-unattainable beauty. But we still got a little thrill out of being asked.

We’re proud that we enjoyed our mimosas and lychee martinis and cinnamon rolls and assorted junk foods in moderation today so we are able to climb into bed tonight not feeling fat and sick and full of regret.

Quite simply, we’re proud that we have so much to be proud of.

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