Life is a Straight Parade
Why Can’t Straight People Have Straight Parades?
“Life is a straight parade”. That is how Dr. Todd Schoepflin, professor of sociology at the Niagra University, responded in his blog to the question, “Why can’t we have a straight parade?”
He writes, “Life is a straight pride parade. Walk through a mall holding the hand of someone of the opposite sex. Will that generate a dirty look? Bring home someone of the opposite sex to meet your family. Will there be disapproval? … A man like me doesn’t need to march in a straight pride parade because I can walk in any public space with my wife and not be harassed, judged, mocked, or harmed in any way because of my sexuality”.
So we ask the question, why aren’t there straight parades?
What would be the point? Why do Gay people have Gay Parades anyway?
In order to really appreciate the full depth of these questions, my friends, begs us to look at a sacred lineage.
It requires us to search the queer halls of our past.
Look back, reflect, and ask …
Why does the Queer Community have a Day of Silence?
Why do we have a National Coming Out Day?
Why do we have a Pride Month?
Why do we have Gay Parades?
We do not do these things to flaunt our queerness onto people. We do them because they are core to who we are. Queer folks are survivors of a heterocentric world.
We at one time were silent in this world.
Silence. Somber laden silence fills the halls of our past. Silence is not just a sound, but a feeling.
What does silence feel like? Grief. Loss. Fear.
Over centuries … millennia – we have been silent. We were silent as we were burned, executed, incarcerated, persecuted, murdered, bullied, beaten, harassed, fired from our job.
We wept in our silence.
We remained silent as we lived under the shadows of unfulfilled relationships. We held our silence as our love ones whispered despairingly to us from across an abyss.
Our past is riddled with silence as we have been diagnosed, were “cured”, and taught to hate ourself.
In more recent times … We have been silent, as Gays in other countries are prosecuted, criminalized, and killed.
We have marched in silence with a group of people who held a banner that exclaimed heterosexuality was the norm. We dared not utter how we really felt inside. We did not dare. We either did not listen to our feelings, or were confused, or were scared. We were perfect soldiers stepping in tune.
We learned to keep our silence in the face of probing questions. We learned how to sidestep questions, or bend the truth to keep our sexual orientation silent. We have kept silent even as we watched one person humiliate another who was identified as the “Other”. We might have even been the perpetrator. We wanted to fit in. So we held our silence.
History is filled with our silence. Listen if you like. Feel if you dare.
When we break that silence then we Come Out.
Coming out is not easy the first time nor really the next time or next. Without support and only alienation as our friend, coming out the first time is unbearable. We do not come out one time or two, but over and over. We have to come out continually over all situations, to everyone new we meet, and over a lifespan.
We come out the first time in fear. We fear loss. We fear rejection. We fear we are unlovable.
We may have come out only to realize we are alone. We may retreat to silence. We may come out only to be harassed, rejected, alienated, beaten, and sometimes killed. We come out and find ourselves embracing suicide; believing death is better than the dark passenger of loneliness.
Some of us are lucky. We come out to someone who is fully accepting and loves us with unconditional love. That is a relief.
Coming out is not a mere action, it is a transformation. Once we do it, we become something else. We transcend. We start using a language that affirms who we are and become aware of a language that disparages who we are.
We later learn we can choose when to come out and when not to come out. We weigh the costs, asking, ‘Will I lose this friend, this family member, or this job?’
Our first time we may come out timid – or we come out loud and bold. Inside though – we are all scared.
Over time we build callouses. We understand that coming out is a lifelong process and that is okay. We learn that some people will reject us and some will accept us – that is okay too. We accept this as life. We learn we have no control over people’s reactions. After all, people will believe what they like. We learn we do not need to explain our feelings, but instead, we learn to accept ourselves.
Coming out is no longer a journey, it’s just part of accepting ourselves.
With acceptance of ourself cometh Pride. We have pride of our identity and our feelings. We learn that shame and guilt was put there by a heterocentric world and we now shed that world. We are attuned to role models who use a language that affirms our feelings.
We have pride of our sexuality. We may have missed out dating in high school, or we never took that one who truly caught our eye to Senior prom. We now want to explore this new found sexuality.
And that is okay. That is, in fact, Beautiful.
Pride is self-affirming.
We are proud of our lover. We are proud of our lover’s physical beauty, and the beauty they hold throughout. We are proud of our gender. We may live in a community that makes it a struggle to be Gay, or Bi, or Lesbian, or Transgender.
We have Pride. Pride is fueled by an accepting community.
We Celebrate. We celebrate our pride and community by coming together. We celebrate our Gayness, our Bisexuality, our Lesbianess, our Gender.
Celebration is a time to remember times past, to look where we have come.
Most importantly – To look where we are going.
We Celebrate to remind us that we are not alone. We Celebrate by forming Gay Parades filled with our community. We see we are a diverse group. We come from all backgrounds, all genders, all ethnicities, all religions, all political persuasions.
We see we are community and we are truly not alone.
We come together as a community. A Queer Community.
In our Queer Community, we welcome all people to participate in our celebrations. This includes our all friends – gay and heterosexual. If you are heterosexually identified then you are welcome to join us as an Ally. We understand rejection and reject its notion.
Someday, maybe Silence will just be a sound and not a feeling. Someday the phrase, Coming Out, may be akin to a relic you find in the museum, antiquated and a time gone.
Someday, in the future, a couple of teens might stumble across that strange phrase, Coming Out, and ask, “Did Coming Out have something to do with being Gay?” They will shrug, and shake their heads in the only way that teens communicate that says, How could people be so dumb once upon a time?
For now though – we will have our Queer Parade. We will honor our silence. We will honor our coming out. Celebrate our Pride and our community. We will remember we are a diverse community.
All of us, Queer and Heterosexual, united under a cause
Does that make sense? I hope it makes…
Blog by Bryce B. Summers, Ph.D.
Bryce is the founder of Queer Sense Theory. Queer Sense is a revolutionary theory that describes how we form attitudes towards queer people. Queer Sense fosters awareness and thereby brings about acceptance. Acceptance is the archway between the queer community and the rest of the world.
Bryce is also the author of the fiction Young Adult Dark Fantasy/ Sci-Fi series AMEN TO ROT. The novel NYTE GOD is the conclusion to this series and will be released in the next month. Coming soon is FRESH MEAT. A novel about a psychopathic warden who lusts over a new arrival to his prison, the Punk, but soon discovers this fresh meat is much different than the run of mill newbies he’s head.
Be on look out for the novel ROTVILLE, a Sci-Fi Thriller complete with virtual reality. gladiator battles, mutant humans, and an enhanced super soldier who wields samurai swords with skill.
THE ZOMBIE SQUAD is done and will be released in 2015!
And hold your seats… the WOLFF OF WEHR HAMLET: THE LEGEND will be coming out over the next year.
Bryce’s fictional books each have the spirit of Queer Sense which aim to build a readership of not only queer folk, but any people who like to read fun, loving and unforgettable characters who are diverse in personality and culturally.