The Kids are Alright
This Pride Month, with a mash-up of joyous rainbow events and discouraging anti-gay controversy, I absorb the news with a yo-yo of emotions.
Rainbow flags and celebrations are everywhere. But what about the rainbow cross walks defaced in several cities? The blowback from various city pride proclamations?
Florida’s Gov. DeSantis removed all LGBTQ references from the Pulse Nightclub anniversary proclamation. It’s like nobody died and they’re commemorating the loss of a concrete building. Oh dear, they lost how many windows and toilets? Thoughts and prayers for the toilets.
And then, our emperor with ill-fitting white tie and tails ordered US embassies overseas NOT to fly the rainbow flag for Pride month. How cruel and insulting is that? Many embassy staffs stuck their collective necks out, defied orders, risked their diplomatic careers, and flew the flag anyway. Bravo for them! Shame on our faithless leader.
There was a Catholic Bishop who urged his flock not to attend any pride parades, and worse, a minister who called, from the pulpit, for the death of homosexuals. Yes, his superiors silenced him, but they let him retire with full respect. Yuck.
Then, omigod, a trio of straight guys applied to the City of Boston for a permit for a so-called Straight Pride March. Did they even need a permit? Isn’t every day straight pride day? And imagine a pride parade without glitter, Gloria Gaynor, and feathers. Coors and khaki pants are not that interesting. Who’s the grand marshal, Judge Kavanaugh?
Twitter exploded. “The Heteros are Upseteros!,” “A straight parade can be seen daily in the checkout line at Cosco,” and “Mandatory socks and sandals!”
So what’s the meaning of all this? Some folks feel these bigoted activities and high profile Nazi-like (or in some cases, actual Nazi) actions are a sign our community is going backwards on the journey toward equality.
I disagree and hope I’m right.
I suspect it’s all a sign that we’re winning. Our hard-won marriage equality and widening mainstream acceptance has really pissed off the continuously shrinking cesspool of anti-gay haters.
With every rainbow flag they see, all the rainbow bunting on government or corporate property, every TV ad with same-sex couples, every Stonewall documentary on CNN, every Pride celebration, they’re panicking and peeing themselves in fear. They’re showing off their prejudice, trying to act powerful, but they’re cowering in their camouflage t-shirts. They’re the real sissies.
It strengthened my position when I read about the 100 people, two from each state, honored by the Advocate Magazine as their 2019 Champions of Pride.
Steve Newman, president of Delaware Pride, was a Champion, and, full disclosure here, I was the second Delawarean tapped. While I’m overwhelmed by the honor, I also noted I’m the oldest person on the list. As Mother Burnside bellows in the musical Mame, “Pass me my shawl and cane, I feel the winds of change!”
And positive change is coming. Learning about the accomplishments and agendas of all these young champions, from all over the country, gives me such hope. Even the new terminology they use to identify themselves is exciting. There are plenty of gays, lesbians, and queers noted, but also these self-identified champions: lumberjack lesbian, demi-sexual, non-binary queer, gender fluid, trans-masculine-queer-identified, bi-sexual-disabled two spirit, non-binary androgynous, and more.
If this stodgy old editor can violate the rules of grammar 101 and use the plural word “they” to describe a singular person, we all can.
And from what I hear, the plural and singular “theys” are all working like crazy to advance LGBTQ+ (that “+” would be all those new names!) equality. And they are also pooling their talents with their straight political allies to form effective campaigns for victories in the 2020 elections.
Two days after this edition of Letters hits the streets and screens, this plain old vanilla lesbian will take the bus from Rehoboth to Greenwich Village for the Pride parade celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall riots. I cannot wait.
And later in the week, I intend to celebrate Independence Day with pride in my country that I may have lacked since November 2016. I’ll celebrate knowing that like-minded patriots are already kicking ass, getting folks registered to vote, stirring up enthusiasm, and working to wrest control of our country from the self-interested haters and dangerous demagogues.
When those fireworks go off July 3 (or 4) let’s launch a busy 15 months of political patriotism to save our nation. I’m all in. Me, Thee, and They. ▼
Fay Jacobs is an author of five published memoirs. Her newest is Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked. As a humorist, she’s touring with her show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay.