What pride taught me

Today was Gay Pride.

I learned a lot.

1) when faced with complete technical meltdown in the radio studio and an open mike to the airwaves and no music: talk freely about composers you like and when you run out of things to say, simply read the rest of your script and think of it as a teaser.

2) when invited to 10 Downing Street for a pre-Pride reception: consider fully if your OK being exploited for photo opportunities and a political purpose. If you are OK, then enjoy shaking hands with the Prime Minister (even if he has all the charisma of a mediocre headmaster) and taking a look at the Cabinet Room where every single momentous decision in British has been decided for the last 160 years.

3) when tired and overbooked: don’t stand on street corners for 30 minutes, glassy-eyed, unable to decide which of four options you should follow. Follow the one that involves meeting people and/or is most convenient for you.

4) when faced with prospect of dancing and drinking with a million gay brothers and sisters, or travelling across London to spend half an hour with your real brother and sister-in-law: go dancing and arrange a proper lunch for family later at your house. Half measures please no one.

5) when invited to a cultural event by someone you don’t really know: always take the time to read about what you’re going to see. Other people’s passions are not necessarily yours.

This I have learnt on Gay Pride Saturday: Other people’s passions are not necessarily yours. So have pride in your desires. No one will get hurt if you live them out. They might even appreciate it.

14 Comments

  1. Scott

    July 5, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Thank you for your insightful closing statement, “other people’s passions are not yours”.
    I am an openly gay professional man. My friends sometimes comment, “You are so normal–how can you be gay?” When I help with physical work, I get the good-natured joke, “You are the butchest fag I’ve ever known.”

    Our gay culture and the world culture need to recognize that Gay Pride celebrations represent a portion of gay society, not all of it. do not represent the full gamut culture. I have no desire to parade in bikini briefs, feather boa, green wig, stilettos and make-up. I ahave no problems with those who do. My problem is that much of the world sees gays through the venue of the Gay Pride Parades and assumes that his is what we are instead of a light-hearted celebration of ourselves. I would be a bit taken aback if I met my banker, attorney, physician, priest, mayor, teacher in such costume.

    Perhaps gay people like me should do more to show the world that there are many facets to humanity.

    1. alistair

      July 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

      or maybe we should just stop caring what ‘the world’ thinks.

  2. scott

    July 6, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Agreed–it would be wrong to live ours lives fearing what others think of us. Mother Theresa did not care what others thought of her actions nor did Gaitama Siddhartha nor did Adolf Hitler. While Mother Theresa and Gaitama Sidddhartha brought light to humanity, Hitler brought utter darkness. There must be a middle ground. Billions of us, each with a unique mindset, share this planet. If each person chose to do exactly as he/she chose, we would be in major trouble. Your chosen career as a public figure forces you to behave/not behave in certain ways. No, never allow “the world” to dictate, but everyone doing exactly as he/she pleases would result in utter chaos.

    Keep challenging those who follow your blog. You make us think!

  3. Robert

    July 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I can remember marching in 1970 from the Village to Central Park along one small lane of 6th.Ave.I recall feeling fear, elation and tremendous pride. These same feelings came flooding back this year but for very different reasons.Fear because Marriage Equality is in jeopardy due to the clever manipulation of certain NY State Senators in order to delay a vote to insure the bill does not come up for a vote in this session. Elation that I am was able to freely participate in this massive demonstration of solidarity. Pride , because in my own small way I and others like me helped to make this very celebraion possible by marching that sweltering June day fourty years ago.
    However,the celebration was bitter due to the absence of my older John who passed away in Jan. of 2008. You see John and I marched arm and arm that Sunday forty years ago. I made sure to bring a small rainbow flag I found among his possesions as a token of remembrance , so in a very real sense he was there beside me just as he was in 1969
    There was a recent article in the New York Times which made much of the fact that for a movement that was, and had always been about sexual freedom,Gays had made remarkable progress. They did of course miss the point as usual. This movement has always been about a basic human: the right to love whomever one pleases regardless of race, creed, or gender. So I say to all of your readers, STAND TALL, STAY PROUD,AND NEVER GO BACK!

  4. Robert

    July 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    PS, Please excuse the typos my eyesight isn’t what it used to be!

  5. toby

    July 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve never been to pride as even though its a show of solidarity,i wouldn’t feel true ‘oneness’ there knowing just because another is gay dosn’t mean they will treat you with respect.Best to stand in your own hapiness & truth?~

  6. robert

    July 15, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I suppose, but seems a bit lonely. The whole point of the gathering is to show inclusiveness as well as solidarity. If you give it a chance, you may find that as well as respect you will be embraced for who you are. I remember one year the slogan of the parsde was “Come As You Are”. I realize I’m probably biased having participated as long as I have, but I can honestly say that the whole experience leaves me with a renewed feeling of hope for our collective future as a community.

  7. toby

    July 15, 2009 at 10:25 am

    hi, robert
    I know what you mean but i think my point is you get
    that feeling of hope & solidarity if you’re viewing
    the situation from a higher perspective which is
    great, but on a personal level the respect & love
    are not always there.

  8. Scott

    July 15, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    I agree with Toby. Look at the Pride Parade picture posted with this blog.
    I find nothing in common with any of the guys pictured. Theirs is not the image I care to present as a gay male demanding acceptance. They have the right to be themselves and present themselves as they chose. I feel no need to pretend that I feel solidarity the image they chose to present. The conduct I have seen at the Pride Parades has less to do with love and respectthan with being drunk, exposing oneself in public. If that is what is required to show solidarity with gay pride and gay rights, guess I missed the boat.

  9. Mickey

    July 16, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    We went to Pride this year in Indianapolis. Instead of marching in our underpants, or doing any of the other things that get people in a tizzy, we made a picnic. We spread out a blanket and had a lovely lunch in the middle of the post-parade festivities. We drank wine and ate delicious homemade food while we watched the broad spectrum of people celebrating in their own ways. It was a great way to be ourselves (my “normal”) while appreciating others’ “normality.”

    Although we each have our own tastes and practices, sometimes it’s wonderful to share the same space and celebrate our differences. At the same time, we also celebrate what we have in common: Pride.

  10. Scott

    July 16, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    Way to go, Mickey! Sounds like a great way to celebrate Pride without the need to sc
    ream, “Look at me!”

  11. Daniel Murray

    July 19, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Well…I don’t think anyone wants to be limited to a short stick of perception.
    After so many decades — centuries, really — of such an inadequate take on what homosexuality was all about, many misperceptions are still a part of our world: this goes for those within and those looking in and those doing a bit of both.

    Certainly gays aren’t the only ones that suffer from limited insights. There’s still too much of “all Chinese are …” “Every Iranian is …” “most women just want …” “most Americans…” “the British are really…”.

    We all get prejudged in such a facile way from time to time.

    However, a new world is underfoot: nothing stays the same.

  12. Rene

    July 29, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    pride for me is fun first.
    solidarity, yes.

    its a perfect way to meet people, if you want to.
    or have a nice time with friends, if you want to.
    same goes for the carneval in rio, or in cologne.
    i am a quiet person, so it wouldn’t be for me.
    but i happily offer support to my friends, so wouldn’t
    say no, if invited.

    Pride is to remind certain people that:
    some people are gay, get over it!

    just wondered, a pride for women?
    or in my case – for childless carreer women who’s
    family rejected them due to interracial marriage??
    what an idea. yet, better – pride for everyone!
    why classify? why create boxes?
    and furthermore.. where would i even fit?

    honestly, if i had the time and personally like
    parties, i would attend every possible parade.
    to show my support.
    and written on my shirt:
    some people support, get over it, and join!

  13. Hilde Addison

    March 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for your fabulous blog, I am a Norwegian fan living in TN. After reading your blog about Bausch, I saw something you might fancy?

    11 March 2011 Last updated at 06:47 ET
    Pina Bausch season to grace Olympiad

    Bausch, who died in 2009, began the project in 1986
    Continue reading the main story
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    Sadler’s Wells and the Barbican Centre are collaborating for the first time to present a season of works by the late German choreographer Pina Bausch.

    The month-long World Cities 2012 season will feature 10 works inspired by countries that Bausch, who died in 2009, visited during her career.

    Seven of the works exploring locations including India, Rome and Japan, will be receiving their UK premieres.

    The series will be performed in London from 6 June to 9 July 2012.

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