I took my kids to march in Chicago’s Pride Parade last week. We went last year and had a pretty good time, but for one incident with a woman wearing nothing but electrical tape above her waist. My older son later described it as “a girl not wearing anything over the parts girls have to feed babies.” In this, I scored a victory: I told the boys the parade is a celebration of being free to love whomever you choose, but I also have a secret agenda of gently de-exoticizing their own bodies and those of the girls and women they’ll meet in their lives. I told my son that if he spends a lot of time talking or laughing about women’s bodies, he probably won’t have too many friends.
I learned this lesson partly during my experience in a fraternity, and partly by observation: in 7th grade I remember one boy standing in the corner of the gym singing an (apparently) self-composed song about his fondness for pubic hair. If only I could remember that kid’s last name, I could engage in one of my favorite leisure time activities: looking up people I knew in high school on the Illinois registered sex offender list. (Two so far this year!)
This year’s parade, coming so soon after DOMA was ruled unconstitutional, was a bit more. There were a lot of barely concealed pink parts. Lots of hirsute hams and banana hammocks. Given that my sons have seen a couple of animated superhero adventures featuring Superman’s cousin Power Girl, I’m not exactly consistent in my discomfort with revealing outfits. Still, it made me a little uncomfortable: someday, I’m going to have to explain to my sons that they’re half Jewish – so no matter how big they grow up to be, theirs will never be hammock-worthy. And maybe they should learn that the only place it’s ok to see chapped asses on parade is at an annual NRA meeting.
The overt sexuality is part of the point of Pride Parades, right? A group discriminated against because of squeamishness about their sex lives publicly confront the uptight Rick Santorums of the world. And we breeder liberals show up in large numbers to reassure ourselves that we’re not bigots. Because among the core constituencies of the Democratic party, gays are WAY easier to deal with than Blacks or Latinos.
Oh, what? Gays get two Supreme Court victories in a single week – in the SAME week that the SAME court rules that preventing minorities from voting is ok AND the week in which the Immigration Bill began its slow death in Congress. Sure, we’re squeamish about gay sex. But at least we’ll live near the gays.
More than a million people turned out to show support for the Pride Parade. You know how many people showed up to show support for the 30,000 mostly Black kids displaced by Rahm’s school closings? I don’t either. Marches and rallies to show support for minorities usually take place in bad neighborhoods. And liberals already showed we’re not racist – we voted for a black man for President. Twice!
When a million people show up, you hardly need to yell “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” anymore. We know you’re here, since you’ve effectively closed down a 3 mile stretch of the poshest neighborhoods in Chicago. Also, because of Will and Grace, a milestone in the civil rights movement that completely overshadows anything from the 1960s.
And queer? Thanks to Craiglist, David Vitter, Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner, Bill Clinton, Larry Craig, etc. etc. I think everyone knows we’re a country with a veritable pornucopia* of sexual interests and desires we once tittered at. At this point, plain jane breeders should take pride in their steadfastness against a rising tide of kink. Why isn’t there a Pride Parade where a bunch of breeders come loudly celebrate their vanilla monogamous relationships? Imagine: people standing around with their paunches spilling out over their jean shorts and waddles dancing on the collars of their ironically retro Target t-shirts as they yell, drink weak beer and celebrate being boring straight people. The fact that urinating in troughs would be the only thing to distinguish this from a day game at Wrigley doesn’t matter. We’re here! We’re straight! We have the Eagles Greatest Hits!
So, gay people, I think we’re used to it by now. Your flamboyance, piercings, and love of Little Edie don’t shock like they once did. Now you want to surprise us by giving up the fabulousness for staid, boring, married life? Sure, take marriage. We weren’t using it much anymore anyway.
I admit to being a little disappointed with the DOMA and Prop 8 decisions. Gay rights were always the easy liberal cause. The gays brought us disco, hook-up culture, pectoral muscles, and best of all, lesbians. Hot, hot, lesbians. We got all that and gave them marriage? I think we got the better end of that deal.
What are lefties going to do now that gays are going to live the same boring married lives that we do? On just about every other front, the left is retreating: on social programs, civil rights, privacy, abor… wait. Is there anyway that gay men can get pregnant?
*I really wish I had made that word up.