All that being said, when was the last time you attended (not you, specifically, Justin - the proverbial YOU) the NY Gay Pride Parade? I took last year off after feeling so disenfranchised and unrepresented the year before. Simply put - the Parade is evolved into a (not-very-successful) political platform and a place for minorities within our culture to celebrate diversity. The A-gays I know either: a.) flee to Fire Island or wherever and avoid it entirely; b.) host/attend rooftop cocktail parties where they can survey the masses - and buzz in the desired; c.) stand in crowds surrounded by smelly "allies" and gawkers and people selling over-priced bottled water. Last year, I opted for a; the year before, it was a combination of b and c.
Guess which year was the most pleasurable?
I guess what the Parade represents is the assimilation process at its most awkward: in order for us to achieve equality, I feel that the head honchos of the rights groups are trying to send the message that "WE" are just like everybody else. We have the same dreams, the same problems, the same challenges, the same values. And anyone within the community who doesn't fit that increasingly narrowing mold gets swept under the Jonathan Adler rug - until Pride Weekend, when they are trotted back out in order to show our diversity (and to grace a NY Times front page) before heading back into the shadows.
One of my favorite past times is to watch fellows cruise each other in the locker room of my gym - and these boys are bankers, executives, lawyers, professionals. They slide back into their John Varvatos dockers and sling their Marc Jacobs pouches over their shoulders and resume their privileged NYC existence (one that, I'm sure, they have worked extremely hard for); but in the locker room, we're all just a naked bunch of guys turned on by the sight of each other. I wish they would remember that sensation when they step off the ferry into the safety of Fire Island.
Admittedly, I don't feel connected to any of these worlds in a significant way. I'm a cultural tourist that collects experiences and people and their stories. I see how divided we are as a community. I see how gay men and lesbians do not mix and mingle in this town. I see how our trans community continues to struggle for acceptance by the brothers and sisters who should be the first in line to embrace them. I see how the alternative lifestyles that should be celebrated within our community are being tucked over onto 10th Avenue. I see it all happening, slowly but surely, awaiting that inevitable rationale:
"Well, the end justifies the means."