Monday, June 21, 2010

To Pride Week With Love

I have always been enamoured by gay culture and its essential family structure. The extravagance of drag queens and ballrooms; the duck walks, suicide dips, "sashay chante" - I have an infatuation with it all! I add "Paris is Burning," "Stonewall Uprising," "To Wongfoo: Thanks for Everything Julie Newmar," and "Priscilla: Queen of the Dessert," to my Net-Flix list. This is clearly no one night love affair.

Growing up in a very open family, my mother never shied me away from her bevy of gay friends: men who were loud, abrasive yet charming, funny, witty, and everything "normal" men weren't - I loved them. After the death of my father, I yearned for a male in my life;  and in some weird way they were exactly what I needed. They exuded femininity more than any woman I knew but you KNEW they were men - they were strong without signs of forced or excessive masculinity. They walked the fine line at times, with some women heartbroken after realizing that their love would ultimately be un-requited. They ultimately settled with being their "hags" instead - a fair consolation prize for any homosexual loving woman. From those early experiences, I realized that gay men  - make me laugh effortlessly, check me when necessary and were my support system without question.

Lesbians for me represented the evolution of the modern day woman. "She" never looked the same: masculine, feminine - an enigma. Lesbians break the barriers of "women-oriented" roles and set a tone for what some men wish they could be. I watched female friends struggle with the barrage of "penis-envy" insults and drawn out conversations of being told to get married and have kids. A lot of lesbians DO want marriage and kids - penis not included.

In my early 20's, my entire existence was centered around my gay friends. Those were best damn days of my life. Christopher Street, Stonewall, Chi Chi's, The Warehouse, Escuelitas - I was a frequent in the gay club scene. DJ's knew me by name, the go go boys blew me kisses, and the Queens chatted me up between sets. The same with lesbian centered events. Upon meeting my first transgender friend, I instantly sympathized with the idea of feeling trapped in the wrong body. Imagine living your life in a body you feel doesn't belong to you.

These people's struggles were BEYOND any dramatic episode I ever endured.  And despite any short-comings - they manage to live as happily as they possibly can. It's absolutely admirable. Their courage intimidates hate-mongers, giving them reason to fight against them so ignorantly. With the recent surge in the mainstream media of celebs publicly outing themselves, organizing and participating in California's Proposition 8 protests and participating in the "No H8" campaign, it is slowly becoming "acceptable" to openly live an "alternative lifestyle."

Shows like "The L Word," "Queer As Folk," and "Noah's Ark," shattered the stereotypical images of homosexual living and we rejoiced in the imagery of finally being recognized as human. To see the "real" of same sex relationships and the struggle with acceptance, it gives light to the stereotype of "choosing" to be gay. These shows breathed life into the gay movement as we held viewing parties, and mourned when these shows were taken off the air, settling for whatever "gay character added to Rom com" show the networks were kind enough to give us.  Thank God for new shows like "The Real L Word," and channels like LOGO, a channel that some might call solace.

With an entire week to celebrate, we will spend this week discussing gay culture and its influence in the Big Apple. From the history of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to the 2010 NYC Pride Parade taking place on Sunday, June 27th, She's So New York celebrates LGBT pride with our friends and family and will continue to fight for the day when same sex loving people can love as freely and as openly as possible.

For more information about Gay Pride 2010, Click here


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