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Jesse's Journal | The day after pride

BY JESSE MONTEAGUDO

Many of you will be reading this article after one of this month’s many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride events.  First established to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion of June 27-28, 1969, GLBT (or LGBT) Pride is now observed worldwide as a community-wide celebration that unites all genders, races, classes and lifestyles.  By taking part in Pride events, we assert who we, as individuals and as a people.  We contribute all that is good in us to Pride events and in return Pride makes us feel good about ourselves and others like us.  In short, Pride is a tremendous morale boost and an antidote to self-hatred and internalized heterosexism and homophobia.

Unfortunately, Pride events are usually followed by all-too real and not very proud reality.  After Pride ends, we must return to a world that hates us as much as it did before Pride began.  Back in the eighties, bad news always seemed to follow a Pride celebration.  As if mounting AIDS casualties weren’t bad enough, Pride Month 1986 ended with the now-infamous Bowers v. Hardwick Supreme Court decision (since overturned by Lawrence v. Texas).  The 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (which was itself a Pride event writ large) was soon followed by Senate approval of one of then-Senator Jesse Helms's notorious amendments that would have banned federal assistance for gay or AIDS groups.  Pride Month won't keep AIDS from killing us, bashers from hurting us, or bigots from trying to send us back into our closets.

While the enemy remains at large after Pride ends, many of us go into hiding.  All the energy that we acquired during Pride seems to disappear as too many of us return to our closets after the last Sunday in June.  But Pride should be a year-round event, not one that is limited to a certain period of time.  I admit that it is natural and essential to rest after an overly-active week or month of celebration; in order to recharge our batteries, relax and enjoy ourselves.  But GLBT and questioning kids continue to take their own lives; gay and bisexual men (and others) continue to test HIV positive; queers everywhere continue to suffer from hate crimes and antigay violence; and folks like the Rev. Fred Phelps continue to make life hard for us.

Therefore, it is important that we keep the spirit of Pride alive long after Pride is over.  Let Pride be not an end but a beginning.  For some of us, the annual Pride events are our only contact with the rest of our community, our Family of Pride.  But do not wait until next year for your next contact.  Let the goals of Pride Month be your goals for life:

1.  TAKE PRIDE IN YOURSELF.  Internalized homophobia is still a part of our lives.  "Ex-gay" groups prey on those of us who still accept what straight society taught us.  Do not let yourselves fall into that trap.  Nor should you let confusion and self-hatred lead you into addictive behaviors, unsafe sex, loneliness or suicide.  There are many individuals and groups that can help.

2.  COME OUT.  If all the lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people who "come out" for Pride Month remain out, society would surely have to notice.  Studies show that “straights” who know GLBT people tend to be less homophobic than those who don't.  Though announcing our sexual orientation might not be right for all of us -- I wouldn't recommend it to U.S. military personnel, Roman Catholic priests or Scientologist actors -- being honest with our loved ones seldom hurts and usually improves our relationships.  And if the person in question turns you off because you are LesBiGay or Trans, more often than not that person is not worth relating to at all.

3.  HELP A FRIEND IN NEED.  As the Jewish sage Hillel observed, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  If I am for myself alone, what am I?  If not now, when?"  Closely linked to taking Pride in ourselves is taking pride in our sisters and brothers. If you know someone who’s in a life-threatening situation -- whether it be AIDS, cancer, substance abuse, threatened suicide, domestic violence, homelessness or hopelessness -- give them a helping hand, always remembering that they, too, have their Pride.  If you don't know anyone who needs help (though I find it hard to believe that you don’t), volunteer to help at your local AIDS organization, battered women's home, homeless shelter or community center.  There is enough Pride to go around.

4.  BE A PART OF YOUR "FAMILY OF PRIDE".  It is impossible to take part in Pride events without encountering a variety of community organizations.  They serve a variety of purposes, not the least of which is the reassurance that we are not alone.  There are literally thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and AIDS-service organizations in the United States and Canada, all of which translate into thousands of reasons that we can proud.  Surely there are, among all those groups, at least one that you can call your own.  By joining such a group, you will get involved in activities that you enjoy, meet like-minded people and help make our world a better place to live in.

5.  BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION.  I don't have to remind you that we live in a tough world.  Things are not easy for us, and things might get worse if we don't watch out.  As the saying goes, if we are not part of the solution we are part of the problem.  Let us make Pride work for us, by fighting for our lives and for our rights.  There is a variety of activist groups that can use your political energies, from those that work within the system to more aggressive, "in your face" entities.  If you feel you don't have time for active involvement, then vote, write, phone or e-mail your elected officials and make a financial contribution to your local LGBT or gay-friendly organization.

All of this should keep the adrenalin flowing and the Pride growing throughout the coming year.  Let lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride be more than just a slogan.  In the words of the openly gay folk singer Charlie Murphy, we must "love life enough to struggle."  Working together, we can make a difference.

Jesse Monteagudo is a freelance writer and gay activist who lives in South Florida.  Reach him at jessemonteagudo@aol.com.

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Please do tell - HOW do the folks at Westboro Baptist Church make life hard for you? We have no power - we only have the Word of God! You deny Christ and say that we are crazy, so how do we make life hard for you?

Okay - I'm kidding - I know how - I know and more importantly, YOU KNOW that the Word of God is true and you carry in yourselves a sentence of death and hell. You pretend that WE make life hard for you because out of the kindness of our hearts, we tell you the ONLY words that are life and health for you - it is the vary marrow for your bones. But you are in such a blind state of rebellion against your God that you call that activity that is the ONLY kindness one human can show another hate! YIKES!

Meanwhile, you act like you are confused about why your fellow rebels kill themselves - you should stop that lying! You know they are NOT gay, but miserable and sad and sick and filthy and there are not enough words in the English language to fix what God has cursed!

SO - how about you do your duty and shut your filthy mouths and OBEY YOUR GOD! Check it out now:
Ec 12:8 ¶ Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
9 And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth.
11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 ¶ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

Your best friend,

Shirley Phelps-Roper
Thankful and happy servant of God in these very last days of all!

Mr. Shirley Phelps-Roper,

Do you use the Bible as your vessel of hate because of your first name, Shirley? Were you called a "Shirley Boy" as a child, Shirley? Perhaps, accused of being homosexual, Shirley? Did somebody send you a free sample of Kotex mistaking you for a woman, Shirley? Maybe a little closeted yourself, Shirley?


Ah, you nutty Christians. Crazy, hateful bastards the lot of you. Good luck with that, I guess.

Mr. Shirley Phelps-Roper,

Do you use the Bible as your vessel of hate because of your first name, Shirley? Were you called a "Shirley Boy" as a child, Shirley? Perhaps, accused of being homosexual, Shirley? Did somebody send you a free sample of Kotex mistaking you for a woman, Shirley? Maybe a little closeted yourself, Shirley?


Ah, you nutty Christians. Crazy, hateful bastards the lot of you. Good luck with that, I guess.

Listen mr. shirley phelps-roper, (Lower case letters intended here.)

I am sick and tired of you MONSTERS running around this fine country and running your hateful mouths about "Your god!" and how this god of yours hates this person or that country or that group or this company or that church or this group and how you love it when people die.
The key words and actions of you and your hateful CULT are HATE and DEATH! And when you get down to it, it is not even your own HATE and DEATH that you are spouting.
It is the HATE and DEATH of that MENTALLY ILL, PERVERTED and VERY DERANGED father of yours that he brainwashed you, your children and your grandchildren with!

He has the lot of you BRAINWASHED and you have allowed him to BRAINWASH your children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren! Then you go out on these hate pickets of yours and you take these children with you to use as HUMAN SHIELDS!
You put all of your kids on the front line of your hate pickets in the hopes that some angered person will come after you and go through the kids to get to you and then you can haul them into court for hurting the kids when what really needs to be done is that those innocent children NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM ALL OF YOU AND SENT TO SAFE AND LOVING HOMES WHERE THEY WILL BE SAFE FROM YOUR HATEFUL JUNK AND FROM THE HARM YOU PLACE THEM IN EVERY TIME YOU HOLD A HATEFUL PICKET AND PLACE THEM ON THE FRONT LINES!!!

This god you worship is nothing but a MURDEROUS MONSTER! If you were to REALLY READ that HISTORY BOOK of yours called “The Bible,” you would see how it is filled with hate, bigotry, prevarications, double talk, contradictions, murder, war and violence!
All the christian religion has been and ever will be is a hateful organization bent on three and only three things. The acquisition of MONEY and PROPERTY! The acquisition of POWER and THE CONTROL OVER OTHERS! And your hateful cult IS THE WORST OF THEM ALL!!!

It is because of this hateful organization of power mongers that I was teetering on the edge of walking away from religion or staying with it. Your hateful cult was the last straw that pushed me right over the edge and opened my eyes as to what the christian religion really was all about and I turned my back on all of it.
Your hateful cult showed me just what any and all of you christian fools are all about and I see NO USE IN ANY WESTERN OR EASTERN RELIGION ANYMORE!! I have outgrown all these HATEFUL GODS ALL YOU HATEFUL THINGS WORSHIP!!

Like my Grandmum used to say. “Sweetheart. IF there is a hell and I get sent there, I want to watch those hateful fools that condemned me for being who I am squirm first!”
So! Like her. I may get sent to this hell of yours, (I doubt I will because there is no such place.) but I am going to watch you hateful things squirm first as you try to talk (More like try to bully!) your way out of it!! I DO SO LOVE A GOOD SHOW!!!

Now why don’t you hateful things go and lock your hateful tails into your little compound there in Topeka and pull a “Branch Dravidian” and wait to get blown away by the PROPER AUTHORITIES!
Better yet. Since you hate this country so ruddy much, WHY DON’T YOU ALL JUST GET THE HECK OUT AND GO TO SOME COUNTRY WHERE THEY ACTUALLY LIKE YOUR KIND OF JUNK!!!

Lady Donna Marie Royce

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