I saw my first Gay Pride parade in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I found it revolting, insofar as it reaffirmed my long-held belief that the people most likely to get naked are the ones other people least want to see.
Other than that, I found the whole thing just kind of silly. Having grown up in San Francisco where, starting in the 1970s, gay life took to the street in the Castro, Polk, and Folsom areas, I thought the parade was gilding the lily.
Moreover, to the extent I found myself sitting by a pair of lesbians heavily accoutred in whips, chains, and strategically placed leather, and nothing else, only to hear them discuss such pressing issues as which of them was responsible for grocery shopping and doing laundry, I kept hearing a variant of Hannah Arendt’s famous “banality of evil” phrase in my head. These young women most certainly weren’t evil, but they were trying their darndest to look perverted and perverse, only to end up being banal.
I also kept thinking, “Oh, my goodness. What if a nice Midwestern family with a couple of young children came to San Francisco on vacation and found themselves suddenly staring at topless lesbians on motorcycles, or couples walking down the street, partially clothed, with one person wearing a dog collar and leash, and the other person wielding a whip. Would this make them more or less sympathetic to gay issues?”
In honor of that last thought, I present you with a good poster that Caped Crusader sent me: