It’s June! That means it’s time, once again, for the world’s most powerful corporations, governments, think tanks, and NGOs to express their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. As you can imagine, this isn’t my favorite thing. I’m reasonably certain most of the equality movements of the past century are used by, if not invented by, intelligence agencies to create global instability and further the ends of the American war machine. I know the megacorps are used for that purpose. So I don’t appreciate or accept their alliance. Besides that, though, I just don’t like safe pandering.
I appreciated the handful of booths at my first Pride festival in 2001. Valspar has been my go-to paint company ever since then for that very reason, in fact. I appreciated my employer extending health benefits to same-sex domestic partners years before the state recognized their arrangements.
We’re not in that world anymore. For the most part, there’s no real danger in coming out as gay or lesbian. Trans and nonbinary gender identities are on their way, too. (Sidebar: If trans activists would stop being so damned authoritarian it’d be a lot easier for the culture to accept them. Part of being a rebellious minority group is being rebellious. When you become the authority, your opponents are the rebels, and rebels are almost always the sympathetic character in the narrative.)
This pandering ritual kind of grosses me out, to be honest. I’m a pretty milquetoast dude. You can’t “tell I’m gay” when you meet me. I’m exactly the kind of sanitized-for-human-consumption person these companies hope you breeders think of when you see their rainbow logos and the multi-ethnic, same-sex-parented families on their YouTube ads.
That’s not what Pride month is about. We have Pride month because of the gays these organizations want to pretend don’t exist. Pride is a celebration of stereotypes, promiscuity, sweat and leather, drag queens (and not the ones you pretend to be comfortable around at Sunday brunch, Donna), riots, and I-don’t-give-a-shit-about-your-political-party anarchy.
It’s the kind of thing I freely admit I really don’t get into, but I’m glad someone did.
For great stories about all sorts of historical gutter-cases like the gays of yore, check out Thad Russell’s masterpiece, A Renegade History of the United States. And if you’re really into Renegades, come hang out with me, Thad, and a whole host of rebels and miscreants in Austin this October.
By the way, USA Today posted a pretty helpful LGBTQ glossary if you’re wondering what some of the jargon means.