Gay Pride week

The San Francisco Examiner online has a big section on Gay Pride Week.  It reminded me of why I’ve always found gay self-identification strikingly different from all other major group identifications.

There is no doubt that people tend to try to find like people, and this is true whether they group themselves by religion, ethnicity, profession, education, skin color, dog-ownership, sports fanaticism, neighborhoods, political ideology, etc.  I know that as a Jew, even a non-religious one raised outside of the Jewish community, I still have had, throughout my life, enough Jewish identity to play Jewish geography when I meet someone new who happens to be Jewish.  Opening gambit:  “Where are you from?”  Wait for answer.   Then, the question:  “So, do you know….?”

I also play lawyer geography, which revolves around “Where did you go to law school” and “Where do/did you practice law.”  It’s amazing how often one finds a nexus.  I can also play the game based on having grown up in San Francisco, especially since I went to a high school that drew students from all over the City.

What’s interesting about gay identification is that it’s the only major group that self-identifies by sexual behavior.  I know that there are arcane subgroups, people who are into S&M or some such stuff, who also seek out people of common sexual behaviors, but they’re neither a political nor a social movement.

As you know, while I’m very cautious about making swift and ill-thought out changes to our social and political systems based upon homosexuality and its attendant self-identifiers (transgender, bisexuality, etc), I’m quite libertarian about what people do in the privacy of their own homes.  I really don’t care with whom you sleep, as long as its consensual and you keep the details to yourself.  I don’t expect you, if you’re gay, to keep that fact to yourself.  After all, the mere fact that I have a husband is a public announcement that I am heterosexual, isn’t it?  Nevertheless, beyond the identity of your partner, which you are allowed to share with me, there is nothing more I want to know about your sex life.

What I’ve noticed over the years, though, is that, because the only thing that distinguishes gays from others is their sex life, politicized gays have become very opening about place their sex lives front and center.  I can see why they do it.  If they don’t, they’re just you and me, only with different bed mates.

Why does this behavior matter?  Because of the way in which Gay Pride celebrations, played out on the streets of San Francisco, tend to be overtly sexual.

Years ago, before I had children, I went to see the Gay Pride Parade, which marches proudly down Market Street, San Francisco’s main street.  It starts with Dykes on Bikes, which is somewhat amusing, if you don’t mind that 50% of them are naked women on a public street.  Then the floats come.  I have no problem with the proud police officers, and fire fighters, and lawyers, and hospital workers, and parents and friends, etc.  Even then, though, I was prudish enough to have a big problem with the proud (and naked) genital wrappers (if you don’t know, you don’t want to), or the proud (and naked) partner whippers, or the proud (and naked) whatever else should be confined to the bedroom kind of people.  (Although not as out there as the Folsom Street Fair, Zombie’s gallery of photos from that show, many of which are quite x-rated, gives you a good idea of what marches down SF’s streets on your average Gay Pride parade.)  All I could think of as I watched these people flaunt their bedroom behavior as a way of cementing their identity was “This is tourist season.  What if a family unwittingly comes across this parade?”

As for me, I think I would be very much more sympathetic to the Gay rights and Gay pride movement if it would observe a “less is more” philosophy.  When one adds to the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a prude the fact that I’m now a mother, I see in myself less and less sense of fellowship with a group that’s gone from being downtrodden to being a group that flaunts its often extreme sexuality in the very streets on which my little ones walk.  A gay lawyer is someone with whom I can identify.  A gay genital binder who uses a social/political parade to demonstrate his sexual preferences just offends me.

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Comments

  1. says

    This has driven me nuts for quite some time. At events like this, which brings a huge spotlight to this group, you would think that it would be organized as a calling card for gay rights (which it is), and thus have the right face but on it (which it doesn’t). If you’re trying to win over the public, acting in the most vile, sexually overt of ways, symbolizing all that is wrong with our culture, is probably NOT the way to go about it. But what do I know.

    The BEHAVIOR that you point out, BW, is exactly my problem. I’ve been places where some of the more flamboyantly gay are being loud and obnoxious, now forcibly involving those around them in their antics. One would be whistling and cat-calling others, and finally it was put to a halt. I don’t treat women like that, and I have no intention of letting it go on in a harassing manner around me, no matter what special minority group you’re in. Amen, BW….its the BEHAVIOR!

  2. Ymarsakar says

    If they were truly downtrodden, Book, society would never tolerate such public acts without responding with terrorism, lawfare prosecution, and various other things you’ve seen people wage on Bush and the US military.

    People who have studied history and taken off their blinders, can never ever truly delude themselves as to what oppression really is. Other ignorant peeps, however, can and will and have.

    People who have never been to the fair often ask: Where were the police? If men are engaging in public sex and nudity, why is no one arrested for this behavior? Do the police not even know about it? Well, the picture you see here pretty much answers that question. The police are on hand. They keep an eye on the proceedings. They know what’s going on. But they rarely if ever do anything more than “observe.” I can only suppose that the officers must have some kind of directive to not arrest or cite people during the Folsom Street Fair for acts that would otherwise be illegal. Sort of like a modern-day Saturnalia in which the normal rules of society are suspended for a brief period.

    When the military can publicly execute the editors and reporters who committed treason, and the police are just standing there overseeing things, then we will know that assassination of journalists is societally accepted.

  3. says

    Hello Bookworm,

    I agree, Bookworm. I’d rather not see this kind of spectacle being paraded up and down Main Street any more than I would like to see run of the mill straight folks groping each other on a parade float. I live and work in and around a beach community and people walking around essentially in their underwear disconcerts me. Perhaps I’m just from Texas, but I find naked folks ordering a lattes next to me at Starbucks a bit unsettling.

    But of course, these folks in San Francisco are doing this exhibitionist activity on parade floats, on motorbikes, clad in leather and chains, etc. I can think of no other subset of humanity that hate themselves more than the gays do. Over the years I’ve heard of their self-destructive behaviors down in brothels, and I’ve also been witness to an overt attempt at suicide.

    I view these kinds of exhibitions as gays baiting the tiger, if you will. In typical defiant fashion— since society says they shouldn’t exist on multiple levels and should it be found that they exist in material and genetic fact, they should keep their mouths shut about it— they come out and flaunt it all over the place and rub people’s noses in it.

    This is not how you garner friends and allies. This is baiting the tiger; this is how society might decide to erase the gay issue entirely by outlawing it once again.

    We are seeing a “law and order” wave coming into society; a society that is less tolerant, more orderly, collective based rather than individual based, more harsh in its judgments. The extremities of the Baby Boomers would come to an end and the “traditionalists” and the “law and order” wave will assert itself on the national level.

    When this wave comes into full fruition in about four to ten years and if these kinds of offensive behaviors continue, homosexuals may wake to find themselves outlawed and even jailed, which has been the way of things in the United States not so long ago.

  4. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    I think you have arrived at the tip of the “tyranny of the minorities” iceberg.

    Once society accepts the “victimized” status of sub-groups, it, to a large degree, loses its social control over that group’s behavior. To condemn any behavior, no matter how outrageous, becomes a continuation of the prior oppression.

    There are clear evidences of increasing behavioral excesses in the sub-cultures of all designated “victim” groups. The homosexuals may effect your “wisdom of repugnance” more than others but if you think about what you’re not seeing of other sub-groups (the rest of the iceberg), you may realize the depth of the problem.

    B.F. Skinner, the noted psychologist, wrote that “rewarded behavior tends to be repeated.” He left out the “in spades.” I believe that these increasingly deviant sub-group behaviors are an addictive form of retribution against the larger society. As many of us know, one of the signs of addiction is habituation which lessens the desired effect and results in the need for larger and larger dosages.

    By foregoing its societal authority to sanction or correct these behaviors, the larger culture loses its moral underpinnings and allows the minorities behavioral autonomy (think, “it’s a black thing). Each group gets its unimpeachable slice of the cultural salami until there is little left to provide sustenance.

  5. says

    Hello Bookworm,

    Perhaps it would be ill advised to judge the homosexual community based on these gay pride parades. Besides, judging by that criteria would be like judging Women’s Rights by the exploits of Gloria Steinem and the other unshaven militant feminists.

    I don’t think anyone would argue against a woman’s right to vote, nor a woman getting paid the same wages for the same work as men do. Should all these rights be rolled back because many women have become ball crushing goddesses? Of course not.

    This is simply the price of freedom. Freedom allows for the potential of great achievements and great abuses. This is true for all minority groups, including gays, and not just women.

    So the question, I believe is, how much freedom should be curtained to anyone one group in order for the collective to reach a livable equilibrium?

    I don’t have the answers to that, and I’ll be surprised if anyone does because this is the conversation America’s been having since its inception. As far as I know, it hasn’t been resolved yet, but it sure does make for great debates and discussions. :)

  6. says

    You’re right, Thomas, that the Gay Pride parade is made up of those most anxious to put themselves in the public eye. Also, my view is skewed by living in San Francisco. In the 70s, 80s and 90s, I knew, quite well, more gay people than the average — and they were all politicized and anxious to put themselves in the public eye. The older generation of gays — whom I knew too — were not like that. They lived their lives out of the limelight and simply valued living in a time when they were accepted to denigrated. The young gays — my generation and younger — were intentionally politicized, every last one of them. They bought into the concept that coming out of the closet automatically meant coming into your face, whether aggressively, or with a sort of sweet, drag queen loopiness.

    If you want an insight into the thinking that surrounded me when I grew up, check out the Armistead Maupin books, which are San Francisco gay anthems. Likewise, for a good look at both the incredible talent and the up-front hostility to mainstream America that you’ll find in the SF gay community, check out the Kinsey Sicks. I knew/know several of the men in it (school and professional connections), and I can tell you that they are fairly hostile to traditional American values (which are, for them, wrapped up in a Republican package). They’re extremely talented, amusing, loving to their friends and family, clever, and they don’t like straight America and what it stands for.

  7. says

    Howdy Bookworm,

    Like you, many of the gays I’ve known of my generation are opposed to Middle American values. But I’ve also known many gays of my generation who weren’t.

    Since gays tend to be at the bleeding edge of everything, many of them have gotten swept up in the “undermine the dominant paradigm” business. Because that has become the pervasive ethic of many of the young and the liberals, well, it shouldn’t surprise us that gays have gone there in droves since they’re outcasts to begin with.

    Many of them figure they haven’t got much to lose anyway. You and I know that this is a serious error on their part since, barring them being outlawed, they have an incredible amount of freedom here in the States.

    The problem is, though, whether gay or straight, much of the young believe in this “undermine the dominant paradigm” ethic, enough so that it actually IS the dominant paradigm in many circles.

    This is, indeed, just the tip of the iceberg. We have an entire generation of people who have been indoctrinated to believe it and we can wake up one day and find the American order overturned.

    I have no doubt that there will be a sharp reaction if this comes to pass. But as I commented above, the question would be, how much freedom are we willing to let go? Are we going to throw the baby out with the bathwater?

  8. says

    Hi, all —

    I’m the writer responsible for the list of events that spurred this Bookworm post (and your comments).

    In my blog on Examiner.com, I’ve written several times that I find the phrase “gay community” troubling. (A quote from my very first post: “A community doesn’t exist simply by defaulting to sexual identity.”) I’ve never been completely gung-ho about the extreme commercialization of Gay Pride in large cities, and many of my gay friends share my ambivalence.

    But I’ve seen the other side of it, too. I grew up in Spokane, Washington, and one of my first Pride events was the very meek and tiny Spokane Pride Parade, in which a small crowd of gay people walks a few blocks on a Sunday morning in June, followed by an event in Riverfront Park.

    Despite its small size (or perhaps because of it), the Spokane event carried a certain urgency, because it actually seemed to mean something in a community where gay people didn’t feel particularly accepted, let alone embraced. Now, after living in Seattle and San Francisco and sitting through numerous Pride celebrations that have virtually no political relevance in super-liberal communities, I’ve always yearned just a bit for the relative radicalism of Spokane’s much more modest parade.

    But that doesn’t mean I’d want to go back to Spokane. For all that I sometimes chafe against San Francisco’s self-impressed gay “community,” I wouldn’t want to return to a city where being gay was a genuine struggle at times, both in terms of acceptance from my family and in terms of feeling somewhat unsafe. (For one thing, I appreciate that complete strangers don’t spit the word “faggot” at me in San Francisco as they did on an alarmingly regular basis in Spokane.)

    That said, much of this comment thread frustrates me. I always find blanket statements about the “younger generation” really galling; I’m 31, and the gay guys I know are all over the place politically and socially. Some are Huckabee-loving Republicans who hate identity politics in all its forms; some are buttoned-down liberals who take an essentially conservative approach to their personal sexual expression; others frequent leather bars on a near-daily basis. I find all of these guys a kick in different ways, but then I’ve always preferred to surround myself with people who offer up perspectives different from my own.

    I don’t believe that any of my close friends plan to attend the Pride Parade on Sunday — most of them think (and I would tend to agree) that it’s an overinflated celebration of “community” dominated by people who thrive on drawing attention to themselves. Anyone who imagines that what’s on display during the Pride Parade is somehow broadly representative of gay men and women today is taking far too many cues from Focus on the Family.

    I suspect that many of you know gay men and women in your personal lives, and I suspect that many of you respect or even love some of them. Those people should be the basis on which you make judgments about the appropriateness of “the behavior” of homosexuality. Gay people are not monolithic; they don’t all gather together once a year and agree on how they should be represented in this silly parade. Like the rest of America, they’re a pluralistic bunch of souls who sometimes smack their foreheads when they see other gay people behaving poorly.

    On balance, I like the pluralism and wackiness and anything-goes mentality of gay San Francisco (yes, even of the Folsom Street Fair). I understand very well that many gay people aren’t comfortable with those aspects of gay urban life, and that many of them choose to live elsewhere, or to live quieter lives in quieter neighborhoods in this city. I respect and welcome their dissension, as I respect and welcome yours.

  9. says

    Here’s the private email I sent to metafrisco, because I very much appreciated the civility with which he approached my blog and my blog community:

    Thank you so much for the thoughtful comment you left at my blog. My blog is distinguished by a civil tone (although people aren’t shy about expressing their widely varying opinions), and your comment fit right in with the intellectual atmosphere of my site.

    As for me, I grew up in SF, and sometimes feel as if half my graduating class turned out gay. I’ve always had very dear gay friends, or at least I did in my single days. As a married with children in the suburbs, gays aren’t a part of my life at all. (That goes back to my tribalism point about like hanging with like.)

    As I think you realized, my post was not a generic slap at homosexuality (and the et ceteras of lesbians, transgender, etc.). Instead, it’s a comment on a very disturbing trend of saturnalia, that has grown steadily more, well, vulgar, since the 1970s.

    I was hoping to make the point that, perhaps, more mainstream gays, the ones who live, as I do, quiet suburban lives, might want to disassociate themselves from the bacchanal of gay pride parades. The parades and attendant public displays of sexuality may not be, as you said, broadly representative of average gay men and women today, but they are certainly the public voice of the movement, and there is no doubt that they attract tens of thousands of gays from all over the world.

    Just FYI, both because (as I said in my post) I’m a prude and a parent, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the public nudity and blatantly sexual behavior that is becoming part and parcel of urban life — especially San Francisco urban life. It took me a couple of days to get my children over the gross factor, when we went to Bay to Breakers, of seeing men waggling their chained and bound weenies at the children. We thought we’d see wacky costumes, not behaviors better left to very select bedrooms. I have the same visceral, unhappy reaction t he Pride Parade.

  10. Ymarsakar says

    I’m 31, and the gay guys I know are all over the place politically and socially.

    it is easily demonstrable that all Leftist organizations have a hierarchy in which at the top resides people like Saul Alinsky, Gore, and various other spiritual leaders that write the word of God so that the believers, meaning the regular fake liberals which comprise the majority of the Democrat party, and at the bottom resides anybody that has been caught in their (the top hieriarchy’s) arbitrary net of political identity or affiliation.

    Meaning, it is just like a union. The hierarchy demands and the union members pay, regardless of what a union member’s politics may be, the union leaders are the one that decides where the money goes and which party benefits.

    The parades and attendant public displays of sexuality may not be, as you said, broadly representative of average gay men and women today, but they are certainly the public voice of the movement, and there is no doubt that they attract tens of thousands of gays from all over the world.

    In any political or group identity hierarchy, it is the ones most active and motivated that decide the direction of the group. It is not the most numerous, as popular opinion might hold, but the most active, the most fervent, and the most zealous.

    The quiet ones staying in the background and living peaceful lives in suburbia, well nobody hears them and that’s to be expected cause they are neither active, zealous, nor fervent believers in X.

    The same is dynamic is true of the Islamic Jihad as well, in that 1-5% of the active participants decide for 95% of the rest of the population what they are going to, when they are going to do it, and who they are going to kill to do it to.

    *******

    While American society accepts gays, for the most part, it is individuals, for the most part, that choose not to accept gays. Parents or loved ones are not “society”. They are individuals, or rather your family. To that extent, the cost of diversity is that one of those various diverse views is that the gay group’s policies and future plans are going to be determined by the gay activists, not the gay members for the most part. Diversity also means diverse views which conflict with such a public relations program.

    Conflicts means more individuals might decide to reject gays or at least exclude them from some or all of their life.

  11. benning says

    BW, normal people are offended by this sort of public display/behavior. But our Society has become cowed by the MSM to remain somewhat silent about it.

    The media and the Left would demand that this be considered a part of the mainstream. It is not. It is unacceptable behavior in a public venue.

  12. suek says

    >>The media and the Left would demand that this be considered a part of the mainstream. It is not. It is unacceptable behavior in a public venue.>>

    Exactly. But if you demand that it stop, that public and indecent exposure be treated by the police as the illegal behavior it is, you’re accused of being “homophobic”. Guilty of “hate crimes”. The result is that the average person is forced to accept a constantly increasing level of affront to their sensibilities, and the average person feels _their_ rights are being trampled on.

    Just as we complain that the muslim who just wants to live their life and wants nothing to do with terrorists are doing nothing to condemn terrorists, gays have an obligation to speak up and condemn the extremists of their community. Blacks have the same obligation. We _all_ need to condemn the _extremists_ that result in law being ignored by “special” groups. Favoristism is allowing _any_ group to get away with illegal behavior that on any other day in any other setting by any ordinary citizen would result in a person’s arrest and conviction.

    In fact, if someone was arrested in SF anytime, anywhere, for indecent exposure, I’d think they could have the case thrown out on the basis of prejudice and being arbitrary – that the police allowed it for some and not for others. And have the pictures to prove it.

    Anarchy is their goal.

  13. BrianE says

    In 1972 the APA removed homsexuality from the list of deviant behaviors.
    They were too quick to abandon their assessment.
    I opened the Zombie link and if we can’t agree this is deviant behavior, there is no hope for America.
    Just as Suek says, it is up to the gay community to condemn these perverted, dangerous displays of exhibitionism.
    Wherever a person stands on the issue of homosexuality, I would hope our standards as citizens rises slightly above these obscene acts.
    These are sick people.

  14. says

    Let’s leave the comparisons to jihadists out, shall we? That’s really unnecessary. I don’t appreciate being compared to someone who has a death wish both for themselves and for America.

    Pride parades began in the early ’70s to provide visibility for gay people who faced ferocious opposition from almost all of American society. Those parades were radical, outrageous, and yes, offensive even by contemporary standards of offense.

    This year’s Pride parade will be a commercialized, politically neutered, let’s-get-drunk-and-be-outrageous extension of those first Pride parades. It is no longer grassroots, but it’s not exactly mainstream, either. Like so much of gay culture, Pride celebrations keep one foot in the past (when we were radical minorities) and one foot in the present (when more and more of us are assimilating into what many of you would call mainstream culture and values).

    To read many of your comments, one would think that gay people are oppressing you on a daily basis. I don’t think I’m going to weep for you yet. When we talk about “middle American values,” let’s please remember that those values reign supreme across large swathes of America. The values on display in the San Francisco Pride parade are values that have only gained traction in a few urban areas of this country, with some obvious reverberations on college campuses and other places of youth and ferment. No one’s oppressing you. Stop playing the straight-laced victim, please.

    I particularly found this comment disturbing: “Gays have an obligation to speak up and condemn the extremists of their community. Blacks have the same obligation.” Uh, what about whites? Don’t you have an obligation to condemn white fundamentalist preachers who go a long way toward making so many gay kids angry and alienated in the first place? I see a great deal of complacency in this thread — not one of you has suggested that the mainstream values you hold so dear, however well-intentioned they may be, might sometimes cause damage and deep resentment.

  15. BrianE says

    Society functions by setting boundaries.
    None of these exhibitionists are going to listen to me.
    They will only listen when people they agree with tell them this is not acceptable.
    I find it incredible that anyone would defend these actions in public.
    This isn’t even an issue of gay-straight, it’s just what society considers decent behavior.
    If you don’t see the damage it does to the credibility of the gay community– you’ve lived in San Francisco too long.
    And by the way, the reference to jihadists was merely an example of how a small minority of a group can control the group through intimidation. Why don’t ‘mainstream’ muslims speak out against jihadists? Because they would have their heads chopped off.
    Why won’t ‘mainstream’ gays speak out against these despicable public displays?
    I’m not sure how this relates to people who believe homosexuality is sin. Is this normal behavior when homosexuals feel angry or aliented?

  16. says

    I’ll keep to my original point which is that, traditionally, societies have drawn a big bright line between public and private behavior. When that line is blurred, trouble begins. In the Islamist societies, we see that that the religious government imposes its public standards on private behavior. People have no privacy. Very dangerous and horrific. However, I think it becomes equally problematic when neither the government nor society itself draws a line between private behavior becoming public. Just as good fences make good neighbors, good privacy boundaries — with these boundaries running in both directions — make for a civilized society.

    I continue to believe that society’s common areas (streets, parks, etc.), should have a basic civility that can accommodate most people’s differences. As I said, noting the nature of your sexual partner is one thing; making me privy to your sexual practices is another.

    The fact is that, over the past 30 years, the Gay Pride parades have worked very hard to bring private behaviors out into the open, and I think that’s becoming very destructive. Perhaps in the 1970s (a time I remember well, Chris, although you’re too young), there was some benefit to an in your face approach, although that’s never been my way. Now, however, that in your face approach is becoming very threatening to people who want to get along, but feel that their desire for a placid public life is getting destroyed by the radicals.

    Aside from being offensive, this kind of public behavior makes it very difficult for ordinary members of the public to think of gays as the guys and gals next door — the firefighters, lawyers, pharmacists, ditch diggers, plumbers, etc. Instead, gays are defining themselves, not as ordinary people with differing partners, but as entirely sexual beings separate from the vast majority of society, most of whom have (I bet) fairly vanilla sex lives, and children who already see and know too much.

  17. BrianE says

    Bookworm, I believe you are being to polite.

    I am outraged.

    The gay community tells us they just want to be like us– to marry and to have kids and really, they aren’t any different, except for this one tiny difference.

    If gay people don’t stand up and shout against these gross public indecencies– in my opinion they make a mockery of the institutions they want to claim for their own.

    Wait, maybe they are silent because this is normal homosexual behavior on display.

  18. suek says

    >>not one of you has suggested that the mainstream values you hold so dear, however well-intentioned they may be, might sometimes cause damage and deep resentment.>>

    So…mainstream values are bad?

    What values do you feel are good?

  19. says

    Suek — the bit that you quoted doesn’t say that mainstream values are bad. You’re willfully misreading me. It says that mainstream values “might sometimes cause damage and deep resentment.”

    Many things that most of us now find objectionable were once considered mainstream (denying women the right to vote, outlawing miscegenation, abiding by racial segregation, etc.). Growing up, I was taught by both church and parents that my homosexuality was a terrible blight upon my character and an automatic hindrance to my relationship with God — teaching that, at least until very recently, would be considered by many Americans as more or less mainstream. A number of people on this comment thread would no doubt agree with that teaching, and that is certainly their right. But for me, coming to terms with such “mainstream” teaching caused me no small amount of anguish during my early 20s, and left a deeply bitter aftertaste that keeps me hostile toward most organized religion.

    Many well-meaning folks, in an attempt to register their displeasure with homosexuality, resort to attacks that cause deep wounds for the gay people who are the subject of those attacks. Likewise, gay people (myself included) sometimes go too far in ridiculing or savaging the beliefs or practices of religious conservatives, many of whom mean us no harm.

    Anyway, my point is that “mainstream” (a word whose meaning changes depending on whoever you’re speaking to) is not automatically “good.” I hope I need not explain to you that widespread acceptance of a belief or position does not make something right. Some mainstream values are plainly positive; others have been found or will be found demonstrably damaging or negative. In short, much like amorphous and politically charged terms such as “family values” (whose family? whose values?), using the term “mainstream” as a basis for argument is unwise.

    As for your “jihadist” argument, I still say that comparing gay people to terrorists is not only rhetorically lazy but plainly offensive.

  20. suek says

    >>As for your “jihadist” argument, I still say that comparing gay people to terrorists is not only rhetorically lazy but plainly offensive.>>

    Your comprehension skills are lacking. I didn’t compare jihadists and gays. I compared the lack of reaction to the extremists by “average” of each group. Gays are members of a group. Jihadists are members of a group. The exhibitionist gays are extremists of the gay group. Jihadists are extremists of the muslim group. The average gay makes no protest about the behavior of exhibitionists, and the average muslim makes no protest about the jihadist. I’m not comparing jihadists to gays. I’m comparing lack of reaction to lack of reaction. Both groups need to be the ones to keep their extremists in check, because otherwise criticism by outsiders is considered “hate speech”, which is a social taboo these days.

    >>not one of you has suggested that the mainstream values you hold so dear, however well-intentioned they may be, might sometimes cause damage and deep resentment.>>

    >>the bit that you quoted doesn’t say that mainstream values are bad. You’re willfully misreading me.>>

    I don’t think it’s misreading someone to assume that something that may “cause damage and deep resentment” is bad. Whether that is your intent or not, I think you _are_ saying it’s bad.

    >>my point is that “mainstream” (a word whose meaning changes depending on whoever you’re speaking to) is not automatically “good.” >>
    Ok…so you _are_ saying that mainstream is sometimes bad.

    My my. Isn’t that judgemental of you.

  21. says

    Suek —

    Yes, mainstream is *sometimes* bad. That’s what I was saying from the beginning. Your original response simplified my statement to say that mainstream *is* bad. That’s different. Let me repeat: the concept of “mainstream” is sometimes good, sometimes bad. My apologies for offering something so challenging as a nuanced opinion.

    As for the gay-jihad analogy: you’re not “just making a comparison.” You know how inflammatory it is to invoke radical Islam. Don’t be obtuse.

  22. BrianE says

    Metafrisco says:

    On balance, I like the pluralism and wackiness and anything-goes mentality of gay San Francisco (yes, even of the Folsom Street Fair). I understand very well that many gay people aren’t comfortable with those aspects of gay urban life, and that many of them choose to live elsewhere, or to live quieter lives in quieter neighborhoods in this city. I respect and welcome their dissension, as I respect and welcome yours.

    I’m curious, is their any behavior that you would think is not appropriate in public?
    Is it appropriate one day a year, or can someone just whip out their penis and offer it to passerbys 365 days a year?

    Wow, how wacky and pluralistic of you.

    And, what the heck do mainstream values have to do with these utterly disgusting public displays.

    I’ll repeat, this isn’t a gay-straight issue. This is just a common courtesy issue, where people don’t fondle their genitals in public– or maybe we’ve moved past that in this brave new world.

    Isn’t there a standard somewhere that should be upheld? Oh, sorry, wrong– no standards here.

  23. BrianE says

    Metafrisco said:

    On balance, I like the pluralism and wackiness and anything-goes mentality of gay San Francisco (yes, even of the Folsom Street Fair). I understand very well that many gay people aren’t comfortable with those aspects of gay urban life, and that many of them choose to live elsewhere, or to live quieter lives in quieter neighborhoods in this city. I respect and welcome their dissension, as I respect and welcome yours.

    What? This is wackiness? It looks to me like a lot of degrading sex performed in public. And I agree with Zombie, I’m not sure it’s even sex.

    Let me repeat, this is not a gay-straight issue. Decency demands that one not fondle his or her genitals in public.

    Are there any standards left to uphold? Apparently not.

  24. Ymarsakar says

    Don’t you have an obligation to condemn white fundamentalist preachers who go a long way toward making so many gay kids angry and alienated in the first place?

    I was led to believe gay people only cared about the beliefs of their immediate family, rather more than they cared about some unnamed pastor in the great beyond.

    Unless, of course, one’s political views are inconsistent with one’s personal views. In that gays think that if you can get these preachers to stop talking about gays in that fashion, that family and friends will suddenly change their minds. Not really sure preachers have that much power in today’s America, although I suppose it depends on geography and locale.

    If I wanted my religion unsullied by white fundamentalist preachers, I would speak out against them. Since I’m neither Christian nor Muslim nor Jewish, that’d be rather hard to do. But in general cases, yes religious members do have an obligation to condemn anti-social behavior amongst their members or lose their status in society and be ostracized as being holders of extremist views.


    Let’s leave the comparisons to jihadists out, shall we? That’s really unnecessary.

    All minorities share certain fundamental common values and behaviors. It’s nothing to be ashamed of to say that one’s minority acts the same way as another minority, that just happens to be insane and self-destructive. It is, perhaps, unfortunate and undesired, but all minorities share a fundamental commonality in that they have an inferior and superior value of themselves. They feel inferior because they are not the mainstream, for whatever reason, yet they also feel superior because they are few and select. You mix them together and what you get is Black Pride and the emphasis on the Hood and Ebonics and Afrikan culture being superior to American culture and what not. Essentially the minority copes with a hostile universe by delving deep into what made them different and a minority in the first place and exaggerating the effect.

    What you have to know, and you cannot refuse to look away simply because the truth would be unpleasant to your eyes, is that if you focus on your differences to a very extreme extent, what you are going to get is self-destruction. And if you don’t like the looks of the Palestinians, then don’t act like them. Don’t put into power leaders like Arafat that perpetuate the gay condition of social ostracization just so they can get political power and benefits over the rest of you, simply because Arafat was their “own” and Jews were not. It is a mixed metaphor but it is shorter than outlining the exact analogy.

    Those parades were radical, outrageous, and yes, offensive even by contemporary standards of offense.

    Anything in the 60s and 70s were going to be counter-culture. Gay pride was nothing new in that vein.

    To read many of your comments, one would think that gay people are oppressing you on a daily basis.

    It is always true that minorities may be oppressed by the majority but that also the majority may be oppressed by the minority, depending on who wields the political lawfare powers of a nation or society.

    No one’s oppressing you. Stop playing the straight-laced victim, please.

    Who’s oppressing you then? Small rural towns? What’s they got to do with gay actions in a city like San Fran? Is that what small rural towns should expect as the price of accepting gays socially or what not?

    See, the self-destructive impulses at work?

    might sometimes cause damage and deep resentment.

    I had to learn English as a second language. Did I find it rather hard to take the damage and deep resentment due to the fact that it made me almost uncommunicable in terms of certain popular euphemisms such as “what’s up”? You ever wonder what this might sound like to someone just learning English and didn’t want to embarass himself with a response that was “the ceiling”? Yeah, but you either accept the majority’s standard and raise yourself up to them, or you bring the mainstream standards down to a level more to your liking. There is no other choice. I chose to exceed the maximum ceiling rather than try to bring others to my level.

    Adults realize that there’s mainstream opinion and there’s nothing much you can do about it in terms of expecting everyone to act like you want them to, but there is something you can do for yourself, for your own personal standards of conduct.

    Wait, maybe they are silent because this is normal homosexual behavior on display.

    men are naturally interested in sex and think about it a lot. If you get two men together that’s interested in sex and they have to setup their own personal boundaries for having sex with each other, then that’s always almost going to be more sexualized than for women, who lack certain hormones to remind them of sex every time they see certain visual images.

    Society tries hard to control sexual energy and taboos because primarily that’s what powers relationships and the new generation. But when you can have sex and not have any children or what not, you are almost naturally going to exclude yourself from prior restraints. This exclusion inclusion business seems to make gays bitter in some fashion. On the one hand, they feel they are special or select or elite, on the other hand, they just want the approval of the mainstream. But the mainstream’s approval was never ended to harness sexual energy that was nothing but entertainment. It’s like getting people to accept Bondage and sexual masochism. You could do it, in some fashion, but what’s the point. It wouldn’t do anything for greater society, it wouldn’t help raise children better, and it won’t increase tax revenues.

    Many things that most of us now find objectionable were once considered mainstream (denying women the right to vote, outlawing miscegenation, abiding by racial segregation, etc.).

    Women and blacks acquired more privileges and rights because they exceeded society’s maximal expectation of those two group’s behaviors in WWI, the Civil War, and WWII. What have gays done for their country to merit the same treatment? Do gays highlight gay military heroes and try to shame the majority with such articles? Or do they find pride in something more prosaic.

    Growing up, I was taught by both church and parents that my homosexuality was a terrible blight upon my character and an automatic hindrance to my relationship with God

    This is a free country. If you don’t like how you were raised or your religion, go somewhere else once you’re an adult.

    Nobody chooses how they were raised or what they were taught or what people might expect of them as they grow up, but they can change their own individual actions.

    But for me, coming to terms with such “mainstream” teaching caused me no small amount of anguish during my early 20s, and left a deeply bitter aftertaste that keeps me hostile toward most organized religion.

    yeah well, when blacks returned from WWII and found that while Jerry and the Krauts as POWs could sit in cafes with their white prison keepers, that cafe had a sign that mentioned “No Blacks or Dogs Allowed”.

    You want to talk about being deeply bitter? Get a sense of history, why dontcha, and also see how blacks acted towards the mainstream. They still fought for a nation that didn’t desegregate the military until after WWII, all because they had personal standards and wouldn’t let the whites and the mainstream hold them down.

    Gays can’t say the same for their society or group, however.

    Anyway, my point is that “mainstream” (a word whose meaning changes depending on whoever you’re speaking to) is not automatically “good.”

    Nobody said the minority opinion was automatically “good”, either, but unless you like a lot of diversity and not much toleration, you’re going to have to convince the mainstream to accept the minority, and not because the mainstream is required to by law. The law comes second to acceptance or recognition.

  25. suek says

    >>The values on display in the San Francisco Pride parade are values that have only gained traction in a few urban areas of this country, with some obvious reverberations on college campuses and other places of youth and ferment. >>

    What values?

    >>No one’s oppressing you. >>

    Agreed. But this behavior is certainly offensive.

    In addition, the refusal by the police to arrest gays for what is clearly a violation of the law is offensive to anyone who else who is arrested for indecent exposure or behavior. Choosing to arrest some citizens for a given behavior while choosing not to arrest others is corrupt.

  26. Ymarsakar says

    You know how inflammatory it is to invoke radical Islam. Don’t be obtuse.

    That’s a fake liberal myth, that radical Islam has inflamed its critics or that its critics use Islam to inflame sentiments. It’s actually Islam that does that and we would be a poor counter to radical Islam if we adopted their exact playbook. Americans are known for their originality and ingenuity, we should not copy other inferior ideologies and cultures.

    Radical Islam is the purest of all demonstrators of folly and ill wisdom. If you cannot accept such a thing, it says more about you than about the passion of Islam either way.

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