Parade of Horribles

Every year during Pride Month, we all get to hear from the people who denounce it as an outrageous display of sexual licentiousness, drunken revelry and public immorality that shames us all. And no, I don’t mean Christian conservatives. I’m talking about the victim-blaming, self-recriminating concern trolls who can’t help but preach about the evils of pride parades.

It’s just terrible, isn’t it? Drag queens, men without shirts, and free condoms for everyone. What a nightmare! Surely this must be the reason why gay people don’t have their rights yet. Good thing we have these folks around to do their best impression of Jerry Falwell and helpfully offer us the answer: We just have to be exactly like everyone else. Blend in, don’t stand out, keep up appearances, and for the love of god, stop having fun. If only it were that simple.

The notion that we have to look good in order to achieve equality is nothing but a self-serving illusion of those who want to believe they can win their rights if they just act normal enough. In doing so, they shift the responsibility to us for the ridiculous views of idiots. To them, it’s our fault for giving people something with which to make us look bad, rather than the fault of the people who try to make us look bad. We’re to blame for having a party, but they’re not to blame for acting like there’s something wrong with that. And as long as they’re uncomfortable with us, we have to be uncomfortable too, or else we’re “giving them what they want.”

Well, since when did we orient our lives around what they want from us? If it weren’t for the people who look for any excuse to oppress us, we wouldn’t have to watch our every move to avoid provoking them! So how is that a problem with us? Can you imagine how absurd it would be to expect the same from straight people? Has anyone ever pointed to a Girls Gone Wild video and said this is why straight people can’t have their rights? Or is it only a problem when men are the ones being presented as an object of male desire? Really, is there anything straight people can do that would ever put the rights of all straight people at risk? Are they expected to micromanage their existence and put their best foot forward as representatives of the straight population? So why should it be any different for us?

I don’t know what people are thinking, but the actions of gay people should have no impact on the rights of gay people. Putting on a wig shouldn’t mean giving up your equality. Throwing condoms from a float shouldn’t mean throwing away your rights. Screwing someone in public is illegal, but it has no bearing on your civil liberties or those of anyone else. They can have a mile-wide coked-up orgy in broad daylight for all I care – it still doesn’t give anyone any moral license to deprive them of the equal rights to which they’re entitled. Anyone who doesn’t understand this doesn’t understand what rights are.

Equality means that even our mediocrity should be no more damning than that of everyone else. And as long as nobody is clamoring to take away the rights of straight people every time there are half-naked women at trade shows or a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, I don’t see any problem with half-naked men grinding on each other. It’s a party, not a PR campaign. If people had even a shred of intellectual integrity in their withered souls, they might notice the vast majority of gay people who are not even at the parade. Meanwhile, can you really be surprised that a festival would be festive? Why are we not allowed that?

Even if all gay people were the walking rainbow terrors that everyone seems to think they are, it shouldn’t matter. Nothing that gay people have done can possibly justify taking their rights away. And the only problem with Pride is the people who have a fucking problem with it.