Sunday, June 3, 2012

June is Gay Pride Month

Anecdotally, I think February as Black History Month and June as Gay Pride Month are the two best known cultural (?) celebrations in the US. Is this because they are the source of so many jokes and opinions by comedians and commentators? Probably. Or maybe it's because there does seem to be a huge dis-connect between recognizing Black or Gay American accomplishments and those of White and/or Straight Americans. So both are more "in your face" than, say, Women's History Month or Asian American Pride Month.

Irregardless, June IS Gay Pride Month, so here at Friends of Justice I will be commenting on some famous gay music, comics, films, and television in the next month and how they have affected me.
The reason June was chosen as Gay Pride Month, and why it is called "Pride," is because on June 27, 1969 a hole in the wall bar in New York City called "Stonewall" was the scene of the first demonstration-riot by openly gay people in the US. Police evidently went to the bar expecting a run-of-the-mill crackdown by the Vice Squad. What they got was a weekend riot and international incident when the customers suddenly refused to be intimidated and arrested. Basically, it was the first instance of  "We're here and we're queer, so let us be!" This created a whole new mind-set in the world-wide gay "community." It was the beginning of the Gay Rights Movement.

Up until very recently there were laws in the US against homosexual acts. There were laws saying that if you are gay you could be evicted from your apartment. There are still laws saying that if you are gay you can be fired from your job. Until very recently, you could not be openly gay and serve in the US military.

There are always going to be people who say that being gay is a sin, according to the Bible. To that I say: the Bible says a lot of things we ignore today (touching the skin of pigs, eating lobster, stoning adulterers, etc etc). If you believe that the Bible tells you that being gay is a sin, then try not to be gay. But obviously being gay is not a "choice," just like straight people can't control being attracted to blonde girls or tall guys. D'uh. I don't understand how Conservative Christians can "hate the sin, love the sinner" but get divorced OR embrace people who have been divorced (another sin, according to the Bible). Why is that the gays attract so much contempt?

In this environment, being openly gay is a strong statement to make. For all the attitude that gay people have to endure, "pride" definitely is the right word. I support my gay friends and their efforts to be treated equally under the law.

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