Tag Archives: LGBTQ pride

PRIDE. (Or, Misery, Loneliness, and Dread.)

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So, I just got back from my trip to London, and I’m very disappointed to say, it was horrible. And making everything even worse is that now I’m back in New York City and WorldPride is going on, so gays are everywhere.

…Having just read what I wrote above, I think I need to clear something up – I am gay. Not a homophobe.

Let me explain where the problems are coming from,

So, I was in London on a press trip for Pride. It was me and two other reporters from the US. Then, the big part of the trip was the flight back to New York City for pride. On the flight, the 3 of us US reporters were seated amongst 30 gay UK reporters.

The 30 UK reporters all knew each-other. The gay media scene in the UK isn’t that large since the country isn’t that large. So, all the UK guys were sassily cliqued up with who they knew, and didn’t take the time to introduce themselves to any of us.

NYC Gay Pride March 2018

To make it even worse, to celebrate Pride, the plane started playing “gay music” to celebrate. Britney, Madonna, Cher, Ariana – all singers that I really don’t give a shit about. In only a few minutes, the plane stopped functioning like a normal flight. Everyone had gotten up in the aisles to dance, mingle with their friends, and drink.

It was the stereotypical bitchy sass-fest you’d imagine with a group of gay men. The UK reporters loudly gossiped about the bad parties they had gone to, the lame gays they knew who obviously weren’t as cool as them, and bragged about the trips they had gone on (which…HELLO! We were all reporters who had gone places! Who the fuck are you bragging to exactly?)

One of the US reporters found a UK reporter he knew, and gleefully jumped up and ran over to his group to join in on the “fun.” And throughout the entire 8-hour flight – a flight that was supposed to be celebrating pride, equality, and the LGBTQ siblinghood – How many of those reporters do you think ever took the time to introduce themselves to me, or ask who I was… The answer is zero. 

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And that’s the problem with PRIDE in general.  PRIDE has nothing to do with Pride. PRIDE has nothing to do with friendship. PRIDE has nothing to do with equality.

PRIDE is a status symbol. Gays wearing a rainbow shirt is like a straight guy wearing a Patriots jersey. It’s social signaling, saying “I’m on the team.” Attending PRIDE parties is like attending a football game, it’s for fun. Nothing more. There is no moral high ground to PRIDE.

It’s a bunch of people dressing up and partaking in the gay societal norms, snapcahtting, instagramming, and tweeting all along the way…for one reason alone. To say, “I WAS HERE. I DID THIS. I’M COOL. I’M TRENDY. I’M PART OF THIS.” 

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2015

When we landed, they put all the reporters in a bus and took us into Manhattan. In the bus, everyone howled and raved about the flight…

“Did you see….OMG they were so smashed, I was like, Gurl!”

“OMG! It was so nuts. I literally can’t believe it!”

“And OMG…. was like, hogging so much aisle space when he was dancing, I was like, honey, this a cramped space, you need to be more aware, like OMG, right?”

And so on…

All the reporters who had gotten sloppy drunk, were now thrilled to have something new to talk about. AND OF COURSE, when retelling the stories of the sloppiest people, they never included themselves. It was always someone else who was the sloppiest. Someone else who didn’t partake the way they should have, someone else who just didn’t get “how it goes.”

I felt like I was back in high school. I couldn’t believe grown adults were acting like children.

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The band PWR BTTM has a song that says, “When you are queer, you are always 19…” And I think that’s true. It seems like the gays are always so immensely immature. Like they’re always trying to be the popular girl they never got to be when they were young. All that hiding and lying they had to do in their youth explodes when they finally come out as adults, and then, they live forever, trying to be the Regina George they couldn’t be when they had the chance.

I was supposed to cover WorldPride with that group of reporters. In fact, we got put up in a very fancy hotel. And were given swag bags that had some very valuable things inside (like gift cards loaded with $100).

But I just couldn’t handle it. 

LA Pride Parade 2018 (Photo by Chris Tuite)

If any of you have read this blog before, you know that growing up, I was treated like shit. And to spend a weekend surrounded by people like this… people who would gleefully throw someone under the bus if they knew it would give them publicity… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I was on the verge of crying when I walked into the hotel room. It was gorgeous, on the 16th floor, in downtown Manhattan. The entire room was just stunning, with a bathroom anyone would kill to take even one shower in. I looked through my swag bag… and saw all the expensive things inside. I felt horrible for giving all of this up. The amount of money that must have spent on it made me feel sick, for being privileged enough to just leave it all there.

But then I thought about having to stay there the whole weekend. Stay there with those people. Stay there listening to non-stop gossip about people I didn’t even know. Nonstop social media obsession, snapping pictures of every moment to be seen by their adoring “fans” online. Could I really do it?

The answer was no. When everyone went up to their rooms, I quietly checked out and left.

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And now, here I am. Alone.

This was going to be my first PIRDE. But instead, I’m going hide from it. It’s hard knowing that everyone can find such pleasure and happiness in things that don’t mean anything to me. And it’s even worse that since I’m gay, everyone thinks I’m SUPPOSED to love this.   Everyone talks to me like this is the fucking super bowl for gay people, and want to know how excited I am.

But I’m not. In fact, I hate it. I hate that everyone gets to have fun except me. I hate that once again I’m on the sidelines. I hate that my personality has once again not clicked with yet another group of people. I hate that when you’re gay, society tries to box you in, forcing you to only assimilate with other LGBTQ people. Because I don’t feel that they are my people.

At no point during that flight did i ever feel represented. At no point did I ever feel welcomed. At no point did I ever feel included. Or even wanted. The reality is that gay people are just like straight people – We’re diverse. There is no one lifestyle that we like. So, to assume that all gays want to wear rainbows, listen to Madonna, and get smashed as they gossip like 1950’s housewives is bullshit. And what’s even shittier is that the gays willingly jump into this lifestyle like there’s no other way to live.

 

So, from me to the world, I kindly say, fuck all of you.

~ The Dark Horse

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Why Pride is Still Needed

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So, I’m writing this because of all the backlash that pride month is getting this year. For some reason, straight people are feeling the need to create “straight pride parades”, ban gay pride parades, and harass LGBT people and their allies on social media.

I’m going to write about my experiences to hopefully show why Pride is still important, and how LGBTQ people are not treated equally or given “special treatment” like some suggest. I’m also writing knowing that this IS NOT worst that the LGBTQ community goes through. I’m in no way trying to say I’ve had it the worst. Quite the opposite actually – I’m trying to show how everyday homophobia still exists. Homophobia is more than just a gay person being murdered.  LGBTQ people can be treated like shit on various levels in all aspects of life, and while nothing is as tragic as a murder, the “smaller” things add up when a community has to deal with it regularly.

Here are some things I’ve had to go through…

Harassment 
Growing up in Ohio, I was called faggot daily at school, my health teacher in high school told me that I since I was gay, I was going to die of AIDS, and people refused to be my friend. Even if they weren’t homophobic themselves, their association with me would ruin their social lives, and potentially lead to them getting called faggot as well. So, to be safe, those who didn’t hate me kept their distance out of fear.

Pride is important because, like me, those who come from areas where nobody accepted them feel alone and hopeless. Pride events show them that they are not alone.

Neglect
Neglect is normal for LGBTQ people. I didn’t know how my parents would react to me being gay, so I didn’t tell them until I moved out. My German teacher in high school was particularly homophobic and while I had books thrown at me, had my backpack stolen, and threats of being beaten up, she causally looked the other way, ignoring everything.

Pride is important because because, like me, those who have never had anyone stand up for them feel unsafe and scared of the world. Pride events show them that they are allowed to walk this earth without fear.

Employment
Finding employment, retaining employment, and having a happy and healthy worklife is difficult for LGBTQ people. Let me use my experience as an example. I was hired at Outback Steakhouse. Soon after, the manager who hired me transferred to another store. The new manager, a ridiculously stereotypical straight man, hated me from the day he walked through the door.
Obviously, it’s impossible to prove that it was homophobia. AND THAT IS THE PROBLEM. In this country, with our laws, anyone can simply say they didn’t like an employee or coworker because of their performance, or their attitude, or some similar complaint, and then the LGBTQ person is helpless in fighting for their rights.
For my example, the manager soon hired his granddaughter. Like me, she was one of the hosts, so we worked together regularly. She pestered me about my sexuality endlessly, until one day I got fed up and finally told her I was gay to shut her up.
She then paraded around the restaurant, loudly telling everyone that I was gay, and how weird that was. When she got back up to the host stand, I said, “You know, I know this job seems like nothing to you, because you were hired simply because your grandfather owns the place, but for some of us, this money is important.”
Guess which one of us got fired for “harassing another employee…”
Exactly.

Pride is important because, like me, many LGBTQ people have experienced real inequality that isn’t fair and isn’t right. Pride events give them a space to tell stories and discuss experiences with others in a safe space.

Depression, Anxiety, Anger, and Fear
Rates of depression and anxiety run high in the LGBTQ community. And anger about the past, the fear for the future linger for us all. For example, my current roommate in New York City, one of America’s most liberal cities, is a Trump supporter.
I have to hear him talk to all of his friends in our living room about how annoying gay people are and how “they’re always looking for attention.” He also said he supports the idea of companies being able to refuse service to LGBTQ people. He even told his friends how he thinks it’s gross and wrong when guys “act too gay.”
Now, listen to me…I never would have moved into this place had I known this beforehand. But when I visited the apartment before I moved in, the questions of “Who did you vote for in 2016” or “Do you find gay people gross?” never came up. This NYC for fuck sakes! I didn’t think I had to ask questions like that. But guess what, unfortunately when you’re LGBTQ, you do. Even in 2019.
We don’t get to blindly trust our peers the way straight people do. We don’t get to walk into situations assuming that people won’t hate us. We don’t even get to hold hands in public without the entire world staring us down.

AND THAT IS WHY PRIDE IS SO IMPORTANT. Because the LGBTQ community does not yet have equality.
We don’t yet have safety.
We don’t yet have peaceful lives.
PRIDE is to help us stay sane. It’s for us to feel worthwhile, to feel accepted, and to feel a part of something.

Thank you for reading.