The Boys Of Summer

With the summer upon us, gays everywhere begin to think of one thing… well two things: (1) Looking good in the least amount of clothing possible and (2) PRIDE! Gay pride really is a second Christmas for homos and their straight/bi-curious friends, a Christmas laden with Speedos, binge drinking, camaraderie and making out with complete strangers from out of town. For those living in the Northwest, our summers are dominated by Pride events, with Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC Prides all occurring in succession. Pride is a mini-vacation, with the majority of us taking three-day weekends (or calling in sick on Monday) and driving short distances to break from our normal lives.

What once started with a march through the city, has now become a three-day event, filled with house parties, pool parties, BBQ’s and get-togethers. All ending in a huge block party. For those that have never been to a pride, the block party is truly something interesting. Within this one city-block, the sidewalks are lined with makeshift bars, grills cooking the usual summer BBQ fare for those who dare to be seen eating at a gay event, and a stage with rainbows everywhere. Gracing the stage with their presence are numerous foul-mouthed drag queens, muscular porn stars, twinky go-go dancers and D-list entertainers, usually some one-hit-wonder from the late eighties/early nineties or an American Idol runner up. Most importantly though, the block party is filled with every ‘mo and mary in a 20 mile radius. It is a literal “who’s who” of the gay community, or a “who’s that” depending on the city. Although it may look like a harmless shirtless boy-party, the debauchery that can occur rivals that of Spring Break on Girls Gone Wild. I have seen the ads: I know straight people are no better. But I digress. The point is all of these homos gather for one purpose: to dance and drink from 11am ’till 2am.

Some have argued though that this is ALL that Pride has become. That the word pride has disappeared, and what remains is a non-stop party centered on alcohol and lecherous acts. Is this what Pride is really about? No. Pride represents a celebration of our individuality and sexuality that is still oppressed by society. This is a time we can feel as though we own the city and walk the streets without being accosted and afraid of what we might encounter. Though the more courageous or outspoken (by the way that’s a euphemism for bitchy) do this the majority of the year, during Pride even the most meek among us is not afraid to be gay. This is our one time a year to truly live life openly in a society. A society in which the consequence of this is discrimination. A fact of which we seem to be constantly reminded of in the media. For enduring this year round, I say, yes, we do deserve a day in which a whole city block is devoted to a party thrown in our name. True, some of us completely over-indulge and are guilty of extremely inappropriate behavior- however, this is NOT representative of the overall population. The majority of us are there to celebrate with our old and new friends and take part in a holiday and break from our daily lives of struggling with the decision to tell a loved one or coworker the truth about our sexuality or worrying about showing public affection to our significant other due to what hateful things we might be called.

This being said, I can see the critique: perhaps some of us have become too much about the celebration and we have lost sight in the recognition of others. For those that support us on a daily basis, the most important event of Pride weekend is the parade. The very parade that was the foundation on which Pride was built. The parade, which occurs earlier in the day, does take a backseat to some who are more eager to begin the festivities. The parade is just as much of an integral part of the weekend as anything else that occurs. This event is an opportunity for organizations, businesses and family/friends to march down the middle of the city, in order to honor us. For me, the ultimate show of support is seeing all of the PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) proudly marching with signs exclaiming how much they love their gay children/friends, proclaiming the need for equality in marriage. These individuals come together to champion for our rights and publicly show their love and admiration for their loved one’s individuality. In addition to this, it is also our opportunity to have a more public showing of our lives. This is an opportunity to confront stereotypes, break gender norms and broadcast ourselves to the rest of the community. This is an essential part of Pride. To miss this is to have an incomplete experience, and miss a major point in the experience that is Gay Pride.

Submitted by: Dan F.

Wanna write? Have an opinion?

We’re excited to present this article, written by a guest writer, as part of “Reader Submissions“. Do you have something to say? Send your article to sundays[at]homorazzi[dot]com each week by Friday to be considered!
  • Dan

    Is Pride really that big of deal to some of you?
    A second Christmas?
    Say what?

    Not all gay guys and girls are frothing at the mouths about a Pride Parade.
    I usually have to work the day of the parade, it’s really no big deal to me.
    I’m proud everyday.

  • Nic O.

    I think it’s great you feel proud every day Dan, but the parade is really an outward display made in public and celebrated by people gay OR straight. It’s one thing to feel proud inside, which I could only hope everyone does, but to just name a couple examples, for those in the suburbs with less of a gay influence, or sometimes for those parents who just learned their son or daughter is gay and want to support them in the best way they know how, it has potential to be the proudest moment of someone’s life.

  • Dan

    Hmmm…

  • my personal view is that the pride and parade thing makes gay people look like we are just about sex and nothing more….i think its not all what gayism represents. we are just normal like the rest of the population but that we are attracted to the same sex…and yea, its a sexual difference but its not neccessary to make little kids who come to the parade see grown men behave like clowns and well it really makes me feel sometimes that the parade portrays gay men as the ‘freaks on the other side of the tracks’ not the regular joe who just happens to be attracted to men. just my little take on this.

  • Adam

    I totally agree with the message of the parade and the main theme and message of this submission. I do also feel that there is a lot of gay people in the community who have disassociated what pride actually means to the community and the good time they are having. I think an effort needs to be made to bring back the meaning of what GAY PRIDE is. For a lot of the “out of towners” visiting, they are here to get wasted, go on a drug binge and hook up all weekend, and there are many locals who encourage this behavior. These locals also tend to skip out on even the most meaningful events like the parade in order to rest up for the all hours party that night, or recover from the one the night before. Perhaps the community needs a wake up call!!!!

  • Russ

    I agree the being gay isn’t all about sex, gay person. But I think our parade HAS to be different from a “normal” parade. We are the people who challenge what ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’ are in our society, and if someone decides to label the differences we celebrate a freak show, then they don’t really get it. Besides…. it’s fun!
    Why should women be sexual objects all year in the media, without one day where plenty of men are next-to-nude and oogled!

  • Greg

    When your young the parade and pride is a big deal!!! Let the guys have fun but be safe and don’t over do it !!!

  • Justin

    I really question how far we can take the “Pride challenges normalcy” argument. I’m not anti-Pride, but I have noticed an increasing corporatization as the event. I do understand that without corporate sponsorship, we wouldn’t be able to do Pride like we do now. Still, I question whether we can really call ourselves subversive and radical if we accept the values of consumerist capitalism so readily.

  • Marc

    Add me to the “not interested in a parade” category.
    I went once, years ago and didn’t find it amusing or entertaining at all. It was a part boring and embarrassing FOR ME actually.
    I can support my community in other ways and I’m usually in the Okanagan on Pride weekend anyways.
    Thanks.

  • Lee

    Overall, I agree with a lot of these points, while some will choose to celebrate being different by tossing back a few at parties here and there, others choose to just celebrate with friends and family, not only enjoying the fact that we are all different, but also society’s growing embrace for being true to ourselves; like all other things, people are going to celebrate the way they want to, as long as people are having fun and being safe, go with it, do you, and celebrate being who you are, even if crazy might describe one of your personality traits:)
    Happy Pride!

  • Josh

    “This is an opportunity to confront stereotypes” by running around naked and drunk, having random sex with people you’ve just met and generally causing an embarrassing scene? You champion “Speedos, binge drinking, and making out with complete strangers from out of town” and call that representative of the gay population at large?

    If you want to be a drunk slut feel free but stop pretending you’re shattering barriers or celebrating anything other than drunken sluttiness. If the gay population wants to be taken seriously, how about we put on a family-friendly event where people aren’t afraid to take their children.