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Another late June, another Pride Parade.
This time, it had the special, one-time-only, added attraction of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling to celebrate. Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land from approximately coast to coast.
Mayor Murray spoke at a hastily-arranged rally Friday afternoon outside the Federal Courthouse, thanking the high court’s majority for coming down on the side of respect, dignity, and legal rights for all couples and families.
Thus, the weekend’s pride parades in Seattle and elsewhere took on an extra air of triumph.
But of what?
Will gay men and lesbians settle into mainstream corporate-American culture, no longer threatening to the established order?
Certainly some of the political figures and public officials who appeared in the parade are out for mainstream acceptance, for the gay/lesbian community and for their own careers.
One specific politician, of course, will have nothing to do with assimilation or “mainstreaming.”
And many at the parade, both in the crowds and marching/dancing/biking along the route, also displayed little interest in settling down into domestic boredom (or anything like it).
No matter how many images get issued of nice, wholesome, show-tunes-loving guy/guy couples in meticulously decorated homes, homosexuality and transsexuality are still about sexuality.
And even whole aspects of “typical” hetero sexuality are topics many Americans don’t like to discuss, or to be confronted with.
“Queerness,” therefore, will always have an element of “outlaw” status to it.
Even now that it’s protected (to an extent) by the law.
imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894
Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:
Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.
Elsewhere in randomosity:
…The success of the avant-garde marks its failure. This is not news. We’ve been domesticated, no matter how fantastic and provocative we might be, into just one niche culture among many. We’re fun, and good, and even progressive, but all the rest of it is fantasy.
Yep, there was another Pride Parade in Belltown, heading toward another PrideFest in Seattle Center.
This year’s installment was even more festive than most, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against one specific federal anti-gay-marriage law; following the voter-approved start of gay marriages in this state late last year.
And, as always, the parade provided major companies with a chance to show off just how welcoming they are toward clean-cut, well-dressed, upper-middle-class people with good tastes in music and home decor.
But gay pride, and gaydom/queerdom in general, shouldn’t be about being the “ideal minority” for a segment of corporate America.
It shouldn’t be merely about recreation, food, drink, and other consumer practices.
For that matter, it shouldn’t be about sexuality as a consumer practice.
It shouldn’t be about an all-white “rainbow.”
And it shouldn’t be about imposing an oversimplified straight/gay social construct on top of an oversimplified female/male social construct.
It should be (and, at its best, it is) about universal inclusion. Of all gender-types, gender-roles, and consensual relations. (PrideFest’s ampersand logo this year expresses this with simple elegance.)
It should be about being who you individually are, without imposed identities (even “progressive” imposed identities).
And, of course, it should be about love.
washington dept. of natural resources via kxly-tv spokane