June and July: another parade, another series of rainbow flags, another polite way to tell everyone that fags and dykes and trannies are a-okay.
Another opportunity to reassure people that we’re just another ethnically diverse populace, under the auspices of the mighty pink dollar. That there is nothing wrong with us. That there is nothing really different about us.
That we want spouses, babies and houses in Maple Ridge. That the police are our friends. That we drink Molson. That we pay for our consumables via credit cards festooned with pink triangles, or savings accounts in banks with the bare minimum of involvement in gay issues.
I say fuck Pride.
We should be ashamed of ourselves. For selling out for so little and not recognizing who our enemies are, for forgetting why we used to get together in the first place.
Let Pride be against the police, against marriage, against corporate money, against assimilation-and for our own community, our own structures, our own cash and our own way of doing things.
Sure the police have liaison committees, and cops sometimes are out on the force. They may even have regular patrols up and down Davie St. That doesn’t mean anything.
When the officers become insecure having to confront their own sexual prejudices, they get (us) into a whole bunch of trouble.
This is not about the Stonewall riots, though we have to thank Johnny Law for starting that mess.
This is about two bathhouse raids in five years in Hamilton and Calgary-though for many gay folks, men shouldn’t be having sex in those filthy places anyways.
This is about Aaron Webster, who was trying to fulfil the ancient rites of our people, getting laid al fresco.
What did he get? Beaten savagely to death by a group of people. What did the Crown do? It refused to call it a hate crime.
And what about the sex workers of the Downtown Eastside-our fellow outlaws? The police department’s distinct lack of effort there meant dozens of women got buried in a pig farm near Port Coquitlam.
Do you really want to play nice with the state after Aaron Webster, after the sex workers of the Downtown Eastside, after the bathhouse raids?
If that doesn’t convince you, it might be because the ideas of sex for pleasure or sex for money have become déclassé.
We as a larger community are really fond of having the state involved in our lives. This is backwards.
In 1967, when Trudeau first moved to decriminalize sodomy, he told Canadians the government had no place in the bedrooms of the nation. What ever happened to that sentiment?
Why the desperation to sign on to marriage-refuting queers’ traditional role as sexual outlaws?
We have a responsibility to find other ways of crafting families.
The great critic Edward Wilson once said our lives work like a banyan tree, with wide roots underneath dry desert. We have found ways to include friends, aunts, uncles, mentors, lovers and ex-lovers as parts of that tree. We have built a system that is less destructive then the hetero-normative nuclear family.
Have we become tired of the good fight? Have we decided against doing new things?
Do we just want to stop getting bashed and figure the best way out is selling out?
If that is the case, we have already succeeded. Paris Hilton was the Grand Marshal of the Pride Parade in LA; Vancouver isn’t doing much better.
According to the Vancouver Pride Society’s financial statements, last year’s Pride Parade cost $27, 804 to stage.
We sold our soul for less then than $30,000.
Kids are not safe on the streets or in schools; people still lose their jobs, get fag-bashed, get evicted for having AIDS; there are rampant levels of addiction; and Little Sister’s still has a fortune to pay in legal bills.
What could that $27, 804 a year do? For starters, it could help provide housing, a safe place for kids who cannot go home. If we didn’t have such a silly and expensive celebration, we could actually look after our own.
We could even still have a parade.
It used to be a Bakhtin carnival: angry, furious, camp, decadent and perverse. Restoring the Pride Parade to its former glory would be reclaiming the streets from breeders and squares and from people who sought to do us harm.
The parade used to be our attempt to be visible, our striking against the bonds of those who oppressed us.
What happens if we go underground now? We show up someplace where we are unwelcome and do not attempt to be polite.
Let all of those people: the fat, the poor, the ugly, the femmes, the butch dykes and the drag queens take over the street.
There was an English Dame who once told her promiscuous daughter (this was in the 1890s) that she did not mind what was done in the bedroom, as long as no one went outside and frightened the horses.
Let’s go outside and frighten the horses. It’ll be fun.