April 14th, 2006

Me Sensitive

I Respectfully Disagree

There's a video being floated around my friends list that says, in a nutshell, "All you weird fags prancing around the pride parades are making all us NORMAL gay people look bad!"

I am not surprised to hear this drek; it's been around for a long time.

I am surprised at so many people I know and otherwise generally respect standing up and applauding.

So here's a newsflash:

  1. Most people are not gay; therefore by definition being gay is not "normal," it is an unusual characteristic in a person. Personally, I don't think being "normal" is all that and a bag of chips anyway. (Having red hair is not "normal" but some of us do it happily.)

  2. People who hate gays hate "normal" gays just as much as they hate flaming queens.

  3. Since so many of the people passing this around are in the furry community, let me ask you this: How would you feel if you heard somebody say "All you weird fursuiters are making all us NORMAL furries look bad!"?

  4. If you want tolerance, you've got to tolerate others yourself. This is the fundamental betrayal of this "you weirdos are making me look bad" attitude. By denouncing the flaming queers, you have become the same as those people denouncing you. Do you really want to be part of that? In my opinion, disdain (or outright hatred in some cases) looks a lot worse than wearing over-the-top bondage gear or dressing in drag.

I don't want to call out specific people on this, because I've seen it in a lot of places and would probably miss somebody. But frankly, I'm disappointed.

-The Gneech
Mad Red


"So I'm guessing you must be Greg," said the small-but-sturdy woman at the door. "At least I hope you are."

"Er, yes," said Greg, smiling somewhat awkwardly. "I'm guessing you must be Brigid's mother. Won't you come in?"

"I was wondering how long I was going to have to stand out here in the hallway," the woman replied, and picked up several paper grocery bags from around her feet. "I brought Brigid some food, where's the kitchen?"

"It's just to the left there," said Greg, wondering why he bothered since she was already making a beeline for it.

"This place is awfully small," the woman said. "I guess it's hard to get a decent-sized place any more. You can't live on anything less than a CEO's salary, it seems like."

"Well, yes, it is a bit on the small side," Greg agreed, "but it's handy to the store and such."

"Huh!" said the woman.

Greg scratched his ear absentmindedly; he couldn't tell what had annoyed her so much. "Um," he said, trying to keep conversation alive. "I'm terribly sorry, but Brigid just mentioned to me barely an hour ago that you were coming, and I didn't think to ask her your name. What should I call you?"

"She didn't even tell you my name?" said the woman, opening up the refrigerator and putting what appeared to be a large carton of tangerines into it. "Well, that's typical I suppose. People just don't think of these things. My husband was like that, he could tell you everything you wanted to know about F. Scott Fitzgerald's influence on the modern art movement, but he couldn't remember his own name without being prompted."

Greg grinned at that. "Sounds like somebody I know."

"I'm Isadora, nice to meet you," said Brigid's mother. "Where is Brigid, anyway?"

"She gets off from work at five, so she should be here any moment now, she's a bit late."

"Well, I'm not surprised, traffic's getting worse every day."

"Mmm," said Greg.

"So are you coming with us tonight, or what?"

"Um, I don't know, actually. Where are you going?"

"To dinner of course," Isadora said. "I'm taking Brigid out for her birthday."

"It's her birthday!" said Greg. "Is it really?"

"You didn't know?"

"Well, no, actually. She's never mentioned that, either."

"You don't know her birthday?" Isadora said. "Well if that isn't the saddest thing I've ever heard. What kind of boyfriend are you?"

"Boyfriend?" said Greg, blinking. "I'm not her boyfriend."

"What do you mean, you're not her boyfriend? The two of you live together, don't you?"

"Well, only in the most grammatical sense," said Greg. "We're roomies, yes ... cohabitating, no."

Isadora looked Greg up and down with a critical, penetrating eye. "You're not, eh? Huh." She resumed her refrigerator-stocking, now putting what appeared to be a largish ham wrapped in aluminum foil on top of the carton of tangerines. "When she told me she lived with some guy named Greg, I assumed you were shacked up."

"We get that a lot," said Greg.

"I suppose she's not pretty enough for you, huh?"

Greg blinked several times. "I can't think of any response to that comment, that won't get me into big, big trouble."

Isadora laughed. "That does it, you're coming to dinner with us."

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-The Gneech
Kero shouting

Some Clarification Here...

Regarding the "pride vs. progress" video, some salient points...

Anybody who knows me can probably guess that I'm not exactly a fan of overtly sexual behavior in public. I'm not advocating that outrageous displays are a good idea in pride parades or anywhere else; they're not my cup of tea by a long shot. However, despite the video's histrionics on this point, if you turn the picture off and listen to what the guy says, that's not what he's upset about.

He comes right out and says that the "outrageous" elements in pride parades directly cause homophobia and gay bashing. In other words, in his opinion, the outrageous sexual behavior of "Party A" is directly responsible for the intolerant and violent behavior of "Party B."

At the risk of an instance of Godwin's Law, this is like saying, "If certain Jews hadn't been (whatever it was that Jews were supposed to have done), the Nazis wouldn't have been able to persecute them," thus shifting the blame conveniently off of the Nazis (who have the socially-dominant position) to the persecuted Jews (who do not).

The video ranter also claims that he and other "normal" gays have made "all the progress in gay rights" and that the outrageous people in pride parades are undermining all that good work. Frankly, I think this is bunk. The "out there" element, from Oscar Wilde to the Stonewall riots to the raging queens on TV like Mr. Humphries, has largely been what finally made gay rights a "non-taboo" subject -- there's a reason Wilde referred to homosexuality as "the love that dare not speak its name." Both ends of the spectrum are necessary and will continue to be so.

Finally, this guy can point at the extreme fringe and shriek, "WE'RE NOT WITH THEM!!!" all he wants, but it's not going to do him any good. The thing he's so upset about, the association in the public mind of "normal" him with the "out-there" others, is unavoidable. To most straight people, gays --all gays-- will always be fundamentally alien, in the same way that most men and women often each other as fundamentally alien. From that mindset, the normal gay and the out-there gay, no matter how different they may be, on a basic level are more like each other than either one is like the straight.

This is a fundamental psychological phenomenon, and he's going to have to come to terms with it. Despite what the ranter thinks, that doesn't make the "out-there" people responsible for his own feelings of isolation.

I agree that dancing around with dildos in public doesn't do the gay community any favors -- but like it or not, Mr. Ranter, you're stuck in the gay ghetto with them and always will be and are going to have to learn to love 'em. If you want them to stop behaving in ways that make you cringe, you're going to have to win them over to your own set of tastes and values, and you're never going to do that by bashing them over their metaphorical heads.

-The Gneech