Sunday, June 10, 2018

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

On this, the Gay High Holidays of the Tony Awards, I offer again my annual explanation and celebration of what gay pride means from my own journey and my own experience and my own big-ol’-proud-gay-man perspective:

We’re proud because despite relentless persecution everywhere we turn—when organized religion viciously attacks and censures and vilifies us in the name of selective morality, when our families disown us, when our elected officials bargain away our equality for hate votes they try to disguise as so-called “religious liberty,” when communities and cities and entire states codify our families into second-class citizenship, when small-importance bakers with the backing of the big-money hate industry take their unhinged loathing of us all the way to the Supreme Court, 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 systemic bigotry and the ugliest sides of organized religion work so hard to make the world believe, there is nothing shameful about being gay. We’re proud because—thanks to the incredible bravery shown by gay people who lived their lives openly sometimes to the point of being defiantly in the decades before us—we can live our lives more and more openly at home, at work, with our families, on social media … and even on national television.

We're proud because we've worked tirelessly to achieve legal equality in marriage, adoption, parental rights and many other ways that make our families recognized as Families in our states and across our country. And though we have much more to accomplish—and though bigotry disguised as morality and religion and the supposed mandates of constituents work and sometimes succeed at eroding our newfound equalities—we have the momentum and intelligence and drive and humanity and ability to keep driving back the hate as we continue to drive forward with both our newfound and future equalities.

We’re proud because through our tireless work and the prevailing powers of common sense and compassion, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Proposition Hate and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act have collapsed in on their illogical, immoral, meritless foundations—and new legislative attempts to dehumanize us gain little to no traction or visibility and soon die on the trash heap as well.

We’re proud because we are smart enough to overcome the self-loathing that our 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—and by using our lives as examples of success and humanity and love that other gay people can see and respect and emulate and achieve more and more easily.

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

We’re proud because more and more often and in more and more contexts our country and our culture see the fact that we’re gay as frankly boring.

We’re proud because especially this month and always all year we’re celebrating with parties and street fairs and parades overflowing with drag queens, leather queens, muscle queens, dad-bod queens, glitter queens, you’d-never-even-know-they-were-queens queens and even straight-but-honorary-queens-for-a-day queens, and together we can see beyond the pride in the parades of our lives and together celebrate the underlying Pride in the parades of our lives.

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

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