Jane and I are back together again to discuss our thoughts on why fancying your own gender should be celebrated, and we’re here to share those thoughts with you. The month of June has just passed by, which means flamboyant parades and rainbow flags and gay picnics and queer concerts and general celebrations of alternative culture probably sprang up in spades in a city near you. And now you are left with a deafening silence of normalcy. Well don’t despair – we’re here to drum up some more gay for your enjoyment. The #2 reason why Jane thinks being gay is great doesn’t really have anything to do with gay Pride festivals, but that isn’t going to stop me from referencing them in this prologue.
I didn’t attend my first Pride until my mid-20s because I was a late bloomer in general but especially on the gay scene. I lost my Pride virginity in Atlanta where festivities are held at Piedmont Park, and although I’ve been to several others in different cities since then, I still believe Atlanta throws one of the best Pride events. It doesn’t hurt that the park is gorgeous and expansive and fun to frequent even when you’re not celebrating the LGBT community. But, Atlanta, in general, was a lot gayer than I expected it to be, nestled so closely to other deep-southern, not-so-gay-friendly places in the bible belt. Atlanta is not afraid to let its gay show, and in the summer of 2004 when I stepped onto the sprawling lawns of Piedmont Park, they let it all hang out in the best way possible.
But if I had to choose which city wins out on my favorite Pride experience, it goes to DC every time. It’s hard to compete with Dupont Circle, which is pretty much draped in rainbows on regular days let alone that weekend in June when it’s flocked by LGBT from every corner of the District. But it’s not the sheer concentration of gays or the fact that it’s our nation’s capital that ranks DC Pride at the top of my list. It’s a little bit about the feeling of freedom I felt that summer having just finished my undergrad, uprooted my little NC life, and landed in the fast-paced political bustle of DC. It’s also a little about sharing the experience with one of my best gays, who also lived in DC at the time. But mostly, the reason that weekend outranks any other Pride weekend is because of the Big Hunt.
The Big Hunt is nothing special except that it serves as a good location to drink beer in the sun on an afternoon when it’s especially acceptable to overemphasize how great it is being gay. So I’m sure the crowd on the rooftop patio that day was chattering with rich stories of lesbian shenanigans and inappropriate sexual anecdotes. But all I can remember is sitting across from my best friend, Meredith, and feeling flustered at how pretty I found her. And then telling her as much, like saying it out loud would somehow make me feel less awkward. But it didn’t make me feel less flustered or less awkward and by the time we were riding the orange line back to Ballston, I was a nervous teenager thinking about how our bare arms were almost touching as the train jolted from left to right.
Obviously, things worked out pretty well for us from there. You might think we would relish in the pride weekends, mark them on our calendars, and celebrate the anniversary of that one, fateful afternoon in Dupont. But, we don’t go to Pride, which I think probably makes us bad gays. Instead I just follow the events online, and look at pictures of other people experiencing that big, gay camaraderie because it’s far less sweaty than actually attending. Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed your weekends of shameless, homosexual expression whether in person or from afar. And maybe, like Meredith, you even got to hear what someone really thinks of you, which as Jane will outline below, is another reason being gay is just the gayest.
2. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to really, really, see what people think of you.
Jane says: If you look gay this won’t apply to you so much.
Little Lesbian says: This is my cue to stop listening because I started looking gay right around the time Santa Claus asked me if I had been a good boy that year. I think I was 7. I’M SERIOUS.
Jane says: I’m sorry but I need a photo of that immediately. The real treat is for gays that “don’t look gay.” You’ll benefit from people’s assumptions that you are heterosexual. This will then allow you to hear first-hand exactly what the breadth of people think about homosexuality.
Little Lesbian says: I feel so left out. But I imagine the thrill would be something like walking into a room to hear that you’re being discussed in a negative context. Which is something that happens a lot on television. Like the other day I was rewatching “Veronica Mars” and Veronica was all “You’re mom’s such a bitch” and her boyfriend was all “Oh hey, Mom, looks like you’re early for our lunch date.” Awkward! Oh sorry, Jane, you were saying?
Jane says: As I was saying, even if you never mention anything having to do with being gay, or others being gay, you’ll often get unsolicited opinions thrown at you from all sides. Bigotry spans education, class, race, and location, from the small towns in America to the boardroom. Whether it’s “putting lesbians in a fence till they die out” or “clarifying that the gay executive is only where he is because of a diversity quota related to sexuality” you’ll get to know human ugliness intimately. Lucky you!