The Only Gay Pride Parade In The Village.
It was three years ago when me and his nibs finally made the plunge. We’d talked about it, planned it, yearned for it and viewed property hither and thither. Then the day finally came when the financial ducks were all lined up in a pretty little row, ready to be shot at. So, we actually left the big shitty forever, and moved to the country. Hoorah! Yes, indeed. And guess what? The response to us by the locals and our neighbours has been friendly, positive and mostly enlightened. We are just, ‘the guys’, rather than ‘the gays’. Oh, and it turns out that we’re not the only gays in the village either… bless
Our overwhelmingly positive experience of ‘the locals’ stands in stark contrast to the stereotypical attitudes found amongst the metropolitan ghetto bubble inhabitants we left behind (literally and metaphorically), who tend to characterise country people as bigots, which is a classic case of pots calling kettles black, as we say in Britain. I mention all this as a precursor to asking a question pertinent to the current state of Gay politics. What is the point anymore of Gay Pride? Or, to put it another way, what is the point of having annual ‘parades’ in city centres, which amount to little more than a corporate-controlled pink pound jamboree, which presents to the public the worst aspects of flouncy, glitter-knickered mincing Mary idiocy, and faux-butch leather queen fetish campery… a veritable orgy of cultural narcissism and immature self-regard. Err… is it in Gay men’s interests to continue to present this kind of image to the world? I suggest not. (It’s certainly not the image me and his nibs present.) Oh, and what about the way in which over the years ‘Pride’ has gone from being about kiss-my-arse liberation from state sanction and challenging the political establishment, to a thoroughly neutered entity which craves state sanction, approval and protection of our ‘lifestyle’. What are we, children who need molly-coddling and fragile self-esteem bolstering validation at every turn? The word ‘patronising’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. And what about the conformist strings attached to this? When the Police (and every other instrument of institutionalised state control) wave rainbow flags, and paint police cars in rainbow colours, you know that we are no longer seen as a threat to the established order. Pat gay people on the head and get them to spend their money and do as they’re told. Oh, and whatever you do, treat us as if we are all the same. Pride is now Capitalism, but it’s not the capitalism of individual freedom, and making our own choices about how we live and define our lives, it’s not the capitalism of standing on your own two feet and keeping the state at arms length and on your own terms, oh no Siree, it’s the capitalism of dependency, homogenisation, sameness, the capitalism of bien pensant, correct thinking robots. Hand in hand with this poison chalice goes the stranglehold that an increasingly intolerant Liberal/Left PC lobby agenda has on proceedings, even to the point where Jews and UKIP supporters, for instance, are being banned from Pride for having the ‘wrong’ opinions. So much for, err, ‘diversity’. (It’s apposite to note that so far none of these terribly brave and daring Pride events have been routed through hostile territory, like Luton, or Tower Hamlets, or Malmo, or Moelenbeek, or the Banlieues… but I digress…)
So… let’s talk about role models. Oh there’s been a lot of chatter about how gay men need to model transgressive modes, and embrace being the perverts, outcasts, and innovators, and at the cutting edge of new cultures, and new media etc, but that has become just as much of a stereotype as assuming that we’re all really good at interior decor, dahling, or that we’re all super-intelligent and artistic, when some of us are just dull, ordinary, and a bit boring. (Yes, Milo Yiannopoulos and Camille Paglia, I’m looking at you.) So what about those of us who aren’t at the cutting edge of media anything and don’t want to be? What about those of us who are outdoorsy, dress up in Helly Hansen base layers, Ron Hill trackies and Scarpa boots, and like nothing more than hiking up a mountain, staying in log cabins or going down a pot-hole in the depths of winter? Where do we fit into this, hmm? Where do gay scientists get a look in, for instance? A Martian reading the Gay media would assume that they didn’t exist. Gay activists bang on about the need for ‘visibility’, historically a major underpinning of the argument for the need for things like Gay Pride, but there are whole swathes of gay men who continue to be invisible from gay discourse because we don’t fit into the narrow confines of what is supposed to constitute gay culture. Where is the ordinary gay bloke? Where is the appreciation of gay men who build things, who make a living using their hands? The engineers, the brick-layers, the plumbers, the car mechanics, and the carpenters, or those who make a living driving trucks and trains and forwarding freight..? Straight-acting, I hear you say? No. It’s no act. It’s gay real, and it’s not being represented, and there are reasons for that. It doesn’t fit the victimhood narrative and the lumping together of gay men with dykes, Transsexuals, bisexuals and gender dysphorics of various kinds… how many acronyms and pronouns is it now? In short, it doesn’t suit the establishment.
Which brings me back to two ordinary blokes moving to the country and providing an opportunity for our country neighbours to experience and get to know a gay couple first hand who don’t fit the stereotypes. We’re the ones doing the heavy lifting of gay acceptance, not the ghetto queens, not the media dahlings, not the LGBTQIAZYX EFFIN Z politicos, not Stonewall, not the intolerant, vindictive, name-calling appartchiks of Gay Marriage and Gay wedding cakes or the establishment troughers of Gay ‘Pride’. No, it’s us, Gay Civil Partners living ordinary lives in the country. We became Civil Partners because of how we feel about each other, to make that commitment of fidelity (a word that tends to cause a sharp intake of hypocritical breath in gay marriage circles…) because we take our love seriously, we take ourselves seriously, for real, and how refreshing is that? Oh, and we don’t do it by presenting ourselves as victims of an ‘oppressive patriarchy’, or by making assumptions about country people being ‘bigots’, or banging on about homophobia as if western societies aren’t a damn sight less homophobic than they used to be, and all that Gender is an oppressive social construct ideo-illogcal blah effin blah bullshit, (excuse me while I chunder.) On the contrary, we present ourselves as what we are… dudes. With dude sensibilities and interests. Gay Pride is increasingly anachronistic and counter-productive to us, an unnecessary hangover to a bygone age, when gay people were discriminated against for being and needed to assert ‘pride’ in what we are (for ourselves as much as anything.) We won that war. So why carry on behaving like we still need the battle? You don’t effectively challenge homophobic attitudes by (dis)arming yourself with a load of cliched PC jargon, you do it by being real, by modelling a (self)-respectful approach, and by living a life that is worthy of respect.
Gay men need to spread our wings, move out, integrate properly with the wider society and get out of narrow, self-limiting comfort zones. We don’t need gay ghettos any more, (if we ever did), and we don’t need to be things that we’re told to be, and believe in things that we’re told to believe in. Gay men need to think more for ourselves, become more authentic and mature. To grow up, stop being middle-aged boyz, and become men. The whole idea of Gay Pride parades holds us back, and the only people it serves are those with a financial and political interest in keeping us in our place. We don’t need it. Let’s move on.