Why is it that so many people get naked at Pride? Does being gay make you want to get naked all the time?
So you go to gay pride because you support gay rights and equality. You think gay marriage should be legal in every state. Homosexuals can offer as strong and as loving a home for children as any straight couple. You are standing at the parade ready to cheer on civil rights for everyone! No more persecution! No double standards! It is time that we learn from our past and never restrict any human’s rights based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation ever again! You can not write discrimination into the constitution! And then…boom! A whole bunch of naked people! What to do? Let’s face it. It’s hard to talk about freedom when you have a bunch of boobs in your face.
In the beginning, let’s call it the genesis of the pride parade, there was Adam and Steve. It was the 60s and Adam and Steve and many others were being persecuted by the police. The police would raid bars and establishments frequented by homosexuals. They took payoffs, used entrapment to arrest gays and raid bars and they received lawyer kickbacks. In New York in Greenwich village, June 28th, 1969, the New York Police raided the Stonewall Inn and instead of business as usual, the gays fought back. The first pride parade was held in 1970 in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco to commemorate the Stonewall riots.
Gay pride parades grew to celebrate diversity without judgment, or hatred. They represented a movement to embrace all lifestyles. Drag queens, dykes on bikes, bears, cubs, leather daddies, the transgendered, and so on could all come out and feel accepted. Tired of being marginalized and forced to live in the closet or be ashamed of who they were, the pride parade allowed folks to be large and in charge. It was joyful and a show of strength and solidarity.
So when did everyone start stripping? There are two things happening. The first is easier to explain. Big party known for embracing all lifestyles in a non-judgmental way, plus alcohol equals naked. This equation works with music festivals, Mardi Gras, free-to-be-you-and-me colleges. If you tell people that we are all a big open and accepting family and then give them alcohol sometimes their clothes come flying off. If it starts raining and there is mud it gets even worse.
The second thing that’s happening I have more ambivalent feelings about. The no-judgment aspect of Gay Pride is good. The idea that what you do behind closed doors is your business is good. There is a moment however, when we depart from the LGBT movement and enter into the sexual freedom movement. Suddenly, while you are trying to explain to a nice couple from Oklahoma how gay marriage is okay and we are pretty much like everyone else, someone rolls a fisting demonstration up behind you. I am all for sexual freedom. I think that whatever two consenting adults enjoy doing with or to one another is fine. Judge not lest ye be judged and all of that. I also think that education is the key to understanding. I just, sometimes, just every once in a while, let’s say just when I am really hoping that we could pass some legislation to legalize gay marriage, I kind of wish that the sado-masochistic bondage demonstration would not show up to the party. Have another party on a different day perhaps. I will fight for your right to do whatever it is that you do (as long as it involves consenting adults and everyone comes out alive) but I wouldn’t mind having two different parades.
So I guess now I am out of the closet. I would like for the gay pride parade to be a little more boring and political. I am gay and it doesn’t make me want to get naked in the streets. I also hear that some people go to Mardi Gras for the music. It certainly takes all shapes and kinds and I am open to that but perhaps just until gay couples are able to adopt a child in all 50 states it might be easier to make your arguments for that while you are not holding a double-ended dildo.