This past week was Gay Pride Week in Washington, DC (where I’m living for the summer). Pride was everywhere-the parade last Saturday, the rainbows decorating the outdoor seating area of local restaurants, billboards advocating for gay rights, and even a gay dog show yesterday.
I am a huge supported of equal rights for LGBT people. There is absolutely no good reason why two men or two women should be denied the right to get married, to adopt children, to file joint tax-returns, and get all the same benefits as married couples do.
HOWEVER. I can not understand why gay pride has come to be synonymous with free sex. Why is it OK to walk around shirtless, pantsless, or in the case of one guy, wearing nothing but a string with a coconut around his waist?
Let me stress, it is not the openness of GAY sex that bothers me, it is the openness of SEX. If a naked man and a naked woman were to have sex in the middle of the fountain in the park near my home, that would bother me. If twenty such couples were to participate in what can only be described as an orgy in said fountain, that would infuriate me. Now, that same scenario, different only because the couples are homosexual, has come to be taken as an expected and exciting part of gay pride week.
Another double standard: At the parade last week, I was standing next to a some-what rambunctious, probably intoxicated, overtly gay man. He was cheering wildly as the floats passed by, and whenever there was a marcher close enough, he would give them a little slap or pinch on the butt. I was a little put-off by this, but didn’t dwell on it. I did, however, begin to dwell when he pinched ME on the butt. This is sexual harassment. Yes, I was at a gay pride parade. I was there to show my support for gay rights. I was NOT there to get pinched in the butt.
In New York City, there are signs all over the subway that inform the public that a crowded subway is not an excuse for unwanted touching, and they should report any unwanted touching to the appropriate authorities. Unfortunately, no such signs appear at the Gay Pride Parade, and people seem to be wholly unaware that touching strangers in a sexual manner is completely inappropriate.
The area of DC that I live in is a nice, quiet residential neighborhood with a lot of families and children. The neighborhood also has a large gay population, and many of my neighbors are gay couples raising children. One of my favorite sights is when I see two men walking down the street, holding hands and pushing a baby in a stroller (There are lesbian parents on my block as well, but it’s harder to identify them if you don’t already know them, because it’s much more socially acceptable and commonplace for two straight women to get together while walking their babies than it is for straight men to do the same. Should I assume that the men walking with the child are gay? Probably not. However, they more likely than not are a gay couple, so I make assumptions.).
I must say that two parts of the parade were especially enjoyable for me. The first unit was a group of gay parents and their children, the next was a group of parents of gay people. It was incredibly heartwarming to see these people show so much love and support for their families.
Next time, I plan on skipping the naked people portion of the parade, and only going for the family portion at the end.