How Much Gay Pride is Too Much Gay Pride?

September 16, 2013
daddy dallas pride

Dallas Pride took place this past weekend and as the pics and posts roll in we'll know soon enough if community adhered to the newly enforced dress code. That dress code asked that participants in the September 15th Alan Ross Texas Free Parade cover up: "no bare asses, no breasts (even with pasties), no tight underwear on dancers, nothing too political at all". Many Dallas gay daddies were in an uproar claiming that they were trying to make the parade as heteronormative as possible given the increasing number of heterosexual attendees and corporate sponsorships. Which begs the question, with queer culture becoming more and more accepted and mainstream, will some of our more under the radar antics be phased out? Nudity (both tasteful and lewd) and the freedom to be sexually free has always been a glorious staple of our community. One that can be shocking, but one that's deeply significant in that it echoes quite loudly what these parades have always been about: that we are not going to hide and remain unseen in the shadows. We are proud of who we are.

It also brings up an interesting question about Pride itself: as we break down more barriers and gain more acceptance, will Pride even be necessary in 10 - 15 years? We're more visible than ever and as we look to tackle equality in all it's forms, we'll be able to live our lives without obstruction. Will Pride simply become an indulgent celebration that we get pinged for? Something to give our anti-gay allies something to gripe about when the legalities and freedom have all be squared away and in our favor? Progress is an amazing thing and we've been lucky enough to have a lot of it come quickly in the past decade, but it's interesting to see what's next for our community. We've been fighting for acceptance for so long, that what happens when there's nothing left to fight for? There will always be injustice and we're still along ways away from global equality, but we're getting closer. And with every step we change our community's future and our trajectory.

What will the Pride of the future look like?

Tags: Gay Pride, Dallas, The Future, Laws, Nudity
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Post written by RobHeartsDH (View Author Profile)
About this author: Rob lives in Manhattan with his black pug Riley. When he’s not thinking about daddies, he enjoys writing, eating burritos, watching copious amounts of television, and thinking about his next meal.
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Freedom doesn't mean license to do anything. That said, I don't want to promote rules for anyone else. The idea that sometime in the future that gay pride will not need to be celebrated is indeed something to be thought about.


Respect from others begins with respect of self. Straight or gay, public lewdness is a turnoff.
But as long as even one person is maligned, put down, or even looked at contemptuously, Gay Pride needs to be shouted from the rooftops.
Be out. Be proud. This is how God made you, and He doesn't make mistakes.

I so agree with you! Grew up "straight", LOL! Was around when we had to have our bars behind hidden Signs! And I fought for STONEWALL!
I'm no prude But find is a bit immature for us to want Marriage only to make it a legal tool! There are so many on this site that say"I found the man of my life!" Well Something is wrong if you need sex outside or share it with your partner! You should Sow your oats when Single! This is not a straight thing But a mature HUMANE thing!
These guys are really living with a room mate.. Not the Love of their life!
I'm single and would play with all till I'm Committed!
Hell I wonder if their mother.... though she was with the love of her life, her husband was having sex with the different Repairmen, Deliverymen, Utilty men??

No dis-respect intended, but that is BULL SH*T ! Sex really doesn't have anything to do with love. Or at least it doesn't "have to have" any thing to do with love. In a truly mature society and a good relationship, sex is just another way to have fun. Nothing more and nothing less.

If your basing your relationship on just sex, Your have a very, very shallow relationship. If extra-partner sex is a reason to end a relationship, it was also very, VERY shallow. True love isn't based on sex.

Live, Laugh, love and SEW WILD OATS all your life!

i agree

I don't think it's bullshit at all. Sex may not have anything to do with Love, but I don't see anywhere where the poster said anything about that. He posited a perfectly reasonable question: "if your mother is with the 'love of her life,' would she be doing it with the repairman, utility man, etc,"? How many of us are comfortable seeing mom with 6 different guys? And then comes the question:What is one's commitment based on? Fear of being alone? Needing someone to fill the hole in your heart? (that ain't Love in the first place. Fill the hole yourself and THEN find the love of your life.)

The column's about the future of Pride. I remember Pride parades in SF from 1977 to 2001. In the beginning, they WERE about pride. As time went on, they turned into (sex)-cess (somewhere around the 90s, about the same time that the original (and older) generation died out from AIDS).
I am not living on the West Coast now, but how "equality-based" has it become? How 'equality-based' is the entire gay movement? It certainly wasn't the first 15 years, and given that it started at Stonewall bar, which was nearly ALL minorities, the developments of a gay activist community seem surprisingly low on minority as leaders for the Gay Movement. Minorities were nearly always absent in gay events, so what does that say about the gay community?Lets take a little trip down memory lane.
I was an activist, trying to get the Castro bars integrated (hiring Black barbacks and bartenders in the 70s. Harvey Milk seemed unconscious of the work that needed to be done on that particular issue, by the way). That in itself was a shameful reminder of how bigoted the gay crowd was, until Danny Lord of the Badlands (whom my lover hired in1983, after I pushed him to speak to Ron Holmes, the original Badlands owner - who also liked men of my color - just not as bartenders in his Castro bar!) became the first Black bartender in a major gay bar in the Castro - but not until 1990. A little late, wouldn't you say, given the great "melting-pot" democracy of Gay Mecca?
So, gay Pride depends on whose "pride" you mean and how inclusive it is, and how necessary it is - and it is - for the good of those NOT LIVING in a gay-safe area of the country. (You honestly think it's easy to be gay in Mississippi. It's every bit as dangerous as my being a Black man there up until the 90s. Yes, THE 1990s!!!)
So, Pride is necessary as a way of showing that Gay Life deserves Dignity, Respect and Honor, which was was it was ONCE about. I don't remember any other movement that deemed it necessary to sexualize their rights, but then, maybe i'm missing something. If so, please feel free to explain it to me.

I lived in SF and experienced a lot of the discrimination you mentioned. Men of color ware also at times asked for additional pieces of ID. There was an organization founded in SF called BWMT (Black and White Men Together). One arm of the organization was called the access committee. Their purpose was to to go to bars and other gay establishments in teams either as black couples, white couples or mixed race couples to determine the levels of discrimination experienced by minorities. There were a couple of members of the organization that were lawyers. What they did was send threatening letters to establishments that discriminated to get them to cease and desist. I find it amusing at times that gay rights piggy back on the equal rights movement of black people when convenient, yet even in the gay community minorities were considered 2nd class citizens. I was even told twice when I lived up there that blacks were sometimes ok to play with but not good enough to have a serious relationship with. This is yet another reason that this think pride is important, in the gay community and out. Gay people because we are a people who have also been marginalized should be the shining example of inclusion. Pride also needs to be a vehicle that brings diverse groups/races in the community together.

So "as long as one person makes fun" it's ok to keep on acting sophomoric, engaging in behavior that would be quickly condemned if straight men's events revolved around them?

To hell with what others think. I think we need to re-examine Gay Pride for ourselves and what it means to us.

In the past Gay Pride was all about visibility and celebrating our sexuality in a way that was open and affirmative. That was something that was very much needed.

But I think we've moved that beyond that stage. Now it is an event that is oftentimes sterile, awfully boring and also racist/sexist/ageist and ethnocentric.

I stopped going. We need something to replace it.

I was on the board of directors of LA Pride for 16 years. During that time I watch pride evolve. I also had to deal with the upset of people who were not happy that it was becoming more commercial. Personally one of the revolutions that I observed and encouraged what that it moved somewhat away from being a circuit party for white males to being more inclusive to women and people of color, gay families and seniors. Pride in needs to be about everyone! Now having said that. I was not opposed to pride becoming more commercial when the corporations and companies allow to participate are vetted and can show that in addition to contributing money to gay cause and not to 'Hate' causes, these corps/companies have equal opportunity statements in their employee manuals, that they don't discriminate and work to make sure their work places are safe places for gay employees. If any issues arise that they are handled quickly with sensitivity. If a company is willing to do this, then they deserve to be a part of pride.

We need more people like you. I'm from Fort Lauderdale and Gay Pride here is a tired joke.

Most straights, I suspect, who go to the Pride parades are there to watch a carnival or freak show. The irresponsible ones bring their children along. Many homosexuals avoid those parades like the plague. I have long wondered what exactly are the paraders showing pride in. Their sexual practices are what differentiate them from the other 97%; otherwise, we are assured that gays are just like everyone else. If that is so, what other group(s) organizes parades to tout its sexuality in public? It is time to retire these displays of narcissism.

Narcissism is exactly right. I once attended a gay businessman's event in downtown San Francisco. This is about 10 to 15 years ago. Supposedly accomplished men to gather and network at a San Francisco Financial District venue.

And there we had buff boys in speedos, wearing cowboy boots, circulating through the crowd, serving drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Picture a similar scene if the men were straight and these booted servers were nearly topless women with big boobs. There'd be outrage! Objectification!

There is no difference. Pride presents the worst stereotypes - hypersexed semi-masculine hedonists with not a care in the world but dangling it in public, maybe some "partying," and obnoxiously jarring the mainstream. This is not "pride." It is called "adolescence."

How about promoting gay television stations instead of this one day event; but then Texas is a rogue state that needs a turn around. I'm not into Puritan ethics, but into constructive change as the networks slowly introduced gay characters that helped move social issues into the equal marriage laws and more tolerance.

I find the infighting of content in a Pride Parade the most desturbing. The straight acting guys who were always offended by the fems and drag queens. The leather crowd who scares those who want to promote family values......and the list goes on. Look at the flag, the different colours are there for a reason. We have come a long way, but not nearly far enough as kids are still being bullied in school for being different, people are still being murdered because they don't fit in to the norm. Its the difference that has always been the focus of Pride, but keeps being hyjacked from the events through out the world. We need to be counted, everyone of us, every school teacher, toll collector, lawyer, doctor, and indian chief. If something offends you, look the other way, turn the channel, maybe one day you will find a new perspective to handle your feelings, but the notion that we need sensorship is the route of what has kept us down. We have won battles, many of them and we have shown the world how to work things out. But complacency of the true values of Pride should never be accepted or encouraged. Stand up and be counted, hold your brothers and sisters hands high, leather, feathers, or naked. This is about much more than our immediate comfort levels, this is about Liberty to be who and what we are.

We have become so mainstream and full of More prejudices than Straight people! At least they go beyond their parameters and might date a Shorter, older Chubby, Skinny, POZ person!
And gays are so prejudiced against POZ men! But they will have sex based on a guys word??
What if someone was tested turned POZ after the test?? Do guys get tested for the old standard STD..Syphilis, Gonorhea, ..or HEP -C, Herpes, HPV??

Pride is still a vital ritual in areas such as the one in which I live (central Massachusetts), where much of the community remains closeted, tacitly wearing the mantle of shame. Worcester (MA) Pride was two weekends ago, and as always the turnout of marchers and spectators (although the highest ever) was remarkably low relative to the region's GLBT population. Which says to me: it's still important here to march together in the light of day and say to the area's straight AND gay residents: "we're here, your neighbors and coworkers and techies and yard guys and pastors (and hairdressers and organists and florists), and we're fine just as we are, and we're really not all that scary". I also would contend that Pride remains an important rite of passage for queers of all ages who are just coming to terms with their sexuality. The mega-Prides such as Boston's may be a bit shopworn and hackneyed, but in the backwaters of this country Pride still carries a a lot of meaning. And these lesser Prides may have something to teach Boston and others: although Worcester's celebration is relatively small, it is in some ways more representative of the full spectrum of the gay community than Boston's.

I lived in Dallas for 18 years, ending in 2005. During that time, the people I knew always treated Pride as a great excuse to be close to naked and very drunk on the streets in the middle of the afternoon. I find it an interesting thing that we showing our pride in ways that would embarrass the hell out of us on any other day of the year, indulging in behavior and dress we wouldn't want most of our parents or grandparents to see.

For myself, I would like to see Pride go away immediately. We have determined that a person is gay at birth. Therefore, we needn't take pride in being gay any more than we take pride in being left-handed, or tall, or naturally blonde. I have never been ashamed of being gay, but for me, the opposite is comfort. I am totally comfortable with being gay and I don't really care who knows it, but I don't feel a need to strip to a jockstrap, paint my face, get drunk and rowdy on the street in mid-afternoon just to show that I'm not ashamed of it.

That's my 2 cents for today.

Well here's my one dollar, you are right on the mark and you have more people out there that feel the same in OUR community!

Drinking is very common in the gay community. It has it's roots in that bars early on were one of the safer places to meet and so began a culture of a lot of partying. Alcoholism and drug addiction is high in the gay community. So much that it is also a part of our history. The need early on to escape the pain of oppression and secrecy.

Pride should never go away. Not for a minute! Don't you think that there are currently people out there who are deviously working (not that they will be successful) to undo every spec of rights and changes in the laws we have obtained over the past 30 years. Never take that for granted. Yes we have determined that there are influences in the womb that can predispose a person to being gay but do you think for a moment the religious right actually accept this explanation?? If so than why was so much money donated to uphold prop 8 in California? Go to pride, even if it discusses you because what is more powerful is simply your presence in numbers. It shows those who would oppose is that we are here and will never go away.

You're mostly right. Muziqman nailed it though. Pride, in and of itself, should never go away. However, it should not remain as an "event" which for all intents and purposes manifests itself as a public display of inappropriate behavior, all in the NAME of pride. Pride should be a daily practice, and it should be what we demand from the hetero community; inclusive, respectful (both to self and to others), honorable, tolerant, and worthy of the pride that we are hoping to display.

The handful of Pride celebrations that I've attended fell far short of making me feel proud to be a gay man. And my sentiments were echoed by the majority of those that I questioned who also attended those events. Somewhere along the way we lost sight of our goal. Politically we've been able to achieve far more than any parade of people who don't come close to representing what the gay community truly stands for could ever dream of achieving. Lose the parade and stop the charade. Live our daily lives in a prideful manner and people will take notice and will be proud to say they know us. Those that do not? Who needs them anyway?

I don't necessarily agree with you or the expectation that pride should conform to anyone's norm. What brings change is first visability. No one is or was more visible that the obvious, effeminate, transgender persons in our communities. These are people who found the courage to be true to who they really are and not try and hide behind the veil of being or acting straight. These same people are largely responsible for the rights we enjoy today because they bared the brunt of the homophobia and gay bashings until they decided that they wouldn't put up with it any more. Next you have other groups that might be considered on the fringe of our community. The leathermen who's hypermasculine way of dressing certainly brings attention and visibility. After a lot of visibility comes familiarity. People start to realize that they know or are related to someone gay. Next comes comfort. That is being comfortable knowing, or being in the presence of someone gay. What does politics have to do with anything other than coming after all of the things listed above. We as gay people don't need the acceptance of others being proud to say that they know us. Being stuck in that mindset means allowing yourself to be put in someone else's box for what they think you should be and what would be acceptable to them. We should absolutely celebrate every aspect of our community and be grateful that they chose to be different and viable. Being a person of color, I can tell you that more civil rights weren't won by blending in, being quite, or being what was acceptable. If such was the case we would still be slaves. People had to march (parade), protest, and make it known that they have had enough. Part of what made a difference for people of color was being visible on TV, in public and in the work place, also athletics/sports. Visibility made a big difference.

And in how many of the civil rights marches for persons of color were people drunk, high, and/or dressed in their underwear?

Don't forget that dressing they do for pride clearly identifies them as being gay and an active participant in the event. Not someone who might be gay and standing on the sidelines watching. In many locals if not for this distinction, you may not get a clear magnitude of the numbers of gay people present which is important for pride events. On days when a pride event occurs, gay people should do everything in their power to distinguish themselves from straight people. They should be celebrated and celebrating. Why did I state this? Black people don't need to do anything to distinguish themselves. All they have to do is show up. It is obvious that they are black. Gays on the other hand, not always so easy to identify. Also, black people already had the stigma of alcoholism and drug addition in their communities.

Gay Pride parades..."much like a theme party, it's all been done before." (I plagiarized Tony Kirshner, apologies in advance.)

In New Orleans, they have Southern Decadence. Some people have described it as a gay Mardi Gras. Some people describe it as New Orleans' gay pride celebration, which it is not. New Orleans holds a Pride festival which is very family oriented. Like Mardi Gras, which few people remember once had religious significance, Gay Pride in many other cities has become an excuse to costume, be drunk/high and do things that you would normally not do in public. I like that New Orleans has a separate festival for lewd-ity and nudity. People in the general community know what Decadence is about. For the most part, they steer clear of it. They know it's not a family event. I very much enjoy looking at a naked, hairy ass in a jock strap, or leather chaps, but I'd feel uncomfortable viewing that with my 6 year-old niece, or my 70 year-old mother. And that has nothing to do with shame.

Just like Texans "Remember the Alamo" and all must remember the Holocaust, December 7th, 1941 and 9-11, we gays and lesbians must remember and pay homage to the Stonewall riots of 1969.
Lest Americans in general and even the younger gays forget, that was a watershed moment in gaining our rights. Marriage Equality and the ending of DOMA and DADT would never have happened without the pioneers of Stonewall standing up to the oppressive police practices in N.Y.C. I hope Pride parades and festivals never go away and people get so jaded that they become unimportant. History has a way of refreshing people's memories and rejuvenating the excitement that should forever accompany our Pride events now and long into the future.
And otterhound's comments about the importance of "small town" Pride events bringing awareness to middle America shows the ongoing importance of communication and the awareness that these events foster across America. There are some pretty big cities that are just now celebrating only their second or third Pride events ever. Someday I would hope nearly every city will celebrate the freedom and relevance of Pride to liberate and educate their citizenry.

I absolutely agree with you. It's like blacks and gays have been removed from the history books in American culture. We must demand our rightful place in the building of this nation.

Its time for what now passes for pride to go away. Drunken naked drag queens are not representative of normal gay life. If we are to be taken seriously and equal,we must represent ourselves as such. Pride used to have meaning. Now its a freak show. How sad.

I've attended Pride events in Montreal, San Francisco and West Hollywood. I'm over them. The last time I went to Pride in WEHO I saw three guys throwing up on the sidewalk within the same block. Nothing says you're proud to be gay like public vomiting.

Unfortunately, the local news shows cover Pride (and Halloween) and it seems as if the same things make the evening news: leather guys, dykes on bikes, go go boys and drag queens. Yes, they're part of our community and I'm all for them doing what they like to do but those images on the local news do nothing to help the cause of equality. And do they really help a closeted kid develop the nerve needed to tell thier parents they're gay? It scares a great majority of people or it reinforces the stereotype that "all gays" are like that when, as several folks on here have already emphasized, WE are so much more than that.

What I would like to see marching in a Pride parade are active duty military personnel, veteran soldiers, doctors, lawyers, toll takers, bus drivers, nurses, teachers, professors, police, fire, trash truck drivers, construction workers, volunteers, designers, engineers, poliiticians and their support staff. If Pride is a political statement and if we are going to move to the next level and really show the folks who are ignorant or afraid of gays that we are their brothers, uncles, fathers, sons, etc., then we need to show them that we are so much more than the sterotypes. We need to be proud of our achievements and not just our six pack abs.

Let the festival and the parties that take place in the bars be about drinking, dancing, flirting, etc. but lets show the world what we have achieved and what we contribute on a daily basis.

Sickening, and shame, shame, shame on anybody who supports it. It's quite deluded to think our battles are almost won. As in Russia, every gain can be legislated away in a heartbeat.

The Queer movement of the 90s correctly identified gay assimilationism as one of the more toxic aspects of self-hatred we perpetuate. It's self-defeating until perfect equality exists.

For the gays who are ashamed of the "lunatic fringe" I have a news-flash: if it wasn't for all the out-there queers expressing themselves - and demanding the right to express themselves as they see fit - then we'd still be living significantly more closeted and dangerous lives. Loud activists bring about change - assimilationists and apologists bring about nothing worthwile at all.

Gays who would oppress self-expression are simply fascists of the worst kind. Your snotty exclusivity has been at the expense of your brothers for decades, and it's time it went away. Stop defining "gay" for everybody: you have no proven track record that what you define as "acceptable" leads to anything but sorrow and misery. Nothing changes for the better when gays try to keep inflicting their "No fats, fems or freaks" policy of exclusion on the entire LGBT community. It's a repugnant personal ideology, and continually weakens our political goals and coalitions. And our straight friends don't respect us for it.

We already have the fundamentalist take on "modesty" and self-expression used against women i.e. females who dress like sluts deserved to be raped. Undoubtedly then, it follows: queers who dress and act like fags deserve to be beaten and murdered. This is the way the world works, and it takes a significant amount of denial and self-loathing gutlessness to not get with a program that takes a militant stand on the issue.

Is this what we want? Limited acceptance for good gays who play the "normal" game, and ongoing hatred for bad gays and half-nude gays and trans' who don't play the game?

You got my vote!!

WHAT!? Quit speaking for me. What is this crap about "our political goals", (our) "coalitions". "our straight friends don't respect us"? You don't know crap about my political goals, coalitions or sh** about my straight friends. Sick of dudes like you thinking we are all one big Gay Borg. Get out of the fu*king gay echo chamber. You are nothing more than a gay fundamentalist with your own doctrine, clergy and traditions and anybody who disagrees with you is automatically assigned as self-hating, self-loathing and blah, blah and more blah. Who the fu** made you the Gay Pope?

Amen. Rick. People tend to think that everything will be okay if we forget the past. If we just conform to quote" Society's norms" Everything will be better. As a black man, as gay man, as Christian(this one by choice) I have learned to be open to those things that I might not do or want to do. Suffice to say I have lived more of my life in the so called "straight normal" world than in the "gay" world. I have been to parades in both. I have seen hetero couples do lewd things just as much as gays. The thing is people no matter what the sexual preference will do some crazy things. As far as Dallas(and I lived there for 8 years) Texas is NOT friendly to anyone or anything they see as different! They believe if you deny someone or deny something to someone. It will just go away. They are trying to deny discrimination rights based on sexual orientation,gender identity and veterans status. We can believe that those who appear normal are "better people", than those who live every day OUT,PROUD and unashamed of who God made them. I live in New Orleans now, and although it's not perfect. People here are less judgmental. Yes there are those who will always feel threatened by the unknown and unfamiliar. They tend to avoid living in the city. They still come for fun. But with the knowledge that it's New Orleans and if you leave your inhibitions at home your guaranteed a good time!

Some folks lose sight of the fact that things are evolving. The only true constant in the universe is change. But change often needs a catalyst. Pride is nowhere near the event/movement/purpose it was when it started and that is as is should be. But having stated that, it is my personal wish that pride never lose it's over the top flamboyancy. It is rooted in a creative culture that we are known for. I wouldn't want that to be lost or buried.

Some folks lose sight of the fact that things are evolving. The only true constant in the universe is change. But change often needs a catalyst. Pride is nowhere near the event/movement/purpose it was when it started and that is as is should be. But having stated that, it is my personal wish that pride never lose it's over the top flamboyancy. It is rooted in a creative culture that we are known for. I wouldn't want that to be lost or buried.

Rickinoz has it pinned. This is how 'society' by which I mean corporations and governments normalises minorities. Look at the blacks, from segregation barely sixty years ago to total equal acceptance of middle class, educated blacks such that Obama can become president, but the poor and the disenfranchised and the aggressive are still marginalized.

So it will be with the gays - play by the rules and you'll be first tolerated then accepted providing you're like the good gay neighbours on Wisteria Lane. But host an orgy, raise a protest, live in a threesome, or shout too loud and the shutters come down again.

Thank you Johnny!

As Queers we marched into tough neighborhoods and confronted the haters head on - be they police, politicians or Hollywood. It wasn't so that nauseating suburban gays could get married and take their painfully middle-class aspirations and their abs to the next level. It was so that ALL queers of all classes and colors would be have freedom from oppression and hatred. It hasn't happened yet.

One would expect the more-privileged gays (who've incidentally most benefited of recent) would at least have enough class to not moralize and snivel down their noses at the rest of the community. You can rightly partially blame these people for the fact that it's been such a long and slow struggle. I can't think of any minority group with so many individuals who think it's perfectly OK to get up and state "Oh I'm not like THEM!" about their own kind.

to those who may be wondering "why the hell is Dallas just now having its Gay Pride parade?"

Texas sodomy laws were first overturned in August of 1982 in Baker v. Wade (yes, the same Wade as in Roe v. Wade). Unfortunately, the freedom didn't last. The Baker decision was overturned on appeal (which is in itself a tortured story) in August of 1985, and the following year the Bowers v. Hardwick decision effectively rendered any further appeals moot.

Since the plaintiff in the Baker v. Wade case was Don Baker, a Dallas resident and local gay rights activist, Dallas eventually started holding its Gay Pride in August/September (the fact that it's hellishly hot in Dallas at the end of June had some influence on the decision as well, no doubt. Also, some wags say that the Dallas Tavern Guide, which foots the bill for most of the community events, wanted to hold Gay Pride in September because it was an otherwise slow month. True? Maybe).

As to the blog question...

I personally have never been obsessive about Gay Pride, even though as a long time member of gay bands in various cities, I have happily spent many hours marching in them. Some (Kansas City) were low key, others (San Francisco) were decidedly not.

Is there too much skin? Too many drag queens? Too much leather? Too much drinking? I don't really know. I do know that people who are determined to view us negatively will view us negatively no matter what we do, so it's a waste of energy worrying about them.

As to whether Gay Pride is still needed, I think the answer is yes. In the post-Will and Grace era when the country is (relatively) calmly debating gay marriage, do we really need to be in the streets screaming that we're here and queer and people need to get used to it? Probably not. But that doesn't mean that Gay Pride celebrations should go away. They are a part of our heritage and history. They may be wild and crazy and a little bit out of control, but people, gay and straight both, like that every now and again. (At St. Patrick's Day parades people paint their bodies and get puking drunk on green beer (yuck!) and nobody proposes banning them.)

Do we need to be proud that we were born gay? No. But we do need to be proud of how far we have come and the people who helped us along the way. There was a time when self-identifying as gay could end your career (if not your life). There were times when screaming in the streets was necessary. Thankfully, for most of us, those times are gone. And that is something to be proud of.

There many reasons for Pride, and when my patients come in and need to talk about that, the first questions I ask are 1. What do they want it to mean for them? 2. To consider that Pride is about expressing to a heterosexual world, that your physical, mental, emotional and possibly spiritual needs are primarily met by people of our same gender? 3. That Pride is a way to exert the unique contributions that Gay people have contributed in overt and covert ways! As to the explicit sexuality.. well, I think that is a matter of maturity. I could care less how people want to express that. We have a 'solstice parade' here in Seattle, where Straight people (about 20,000) go completely naked through the streets... who cares?
As for sex in the community... again, a matter of maturity and self knowledge, and as any psychologist with an ounce of merit will tell you, Sexuality in a relationship, one that is actually built on intimacy vs. role, is absolutely necessary. If your relationship is based on role or something else, then let it be open, do what you want, but don't call it an intimate relationship! Intimacy requires that each participant face their fears with a trusting partner, and sexuality in an intimate relationship requires that primate mechanism to foster that intimacy and ability to be vulnerable. Sexuality in an intimate relationship lubricates the rough spots via both mental and physical means... let's not forget at the base of it, we are primates. We need touch and safety when we move toward intimate areas of expression.

rickinoz and johnnyfox raise some very good points and they are right about the men and women who were the first to speak out for their right to be gay and for which we are now all benefitting. I never intended to offer a definition of "normal" or proposed limiting self expression, I merely would like to see more balance at these events so that the full spectrum of our community is represented. One-sidedness in either direction won't work.

And if people -- straight and gay -- could at least develop enough maturity to throw-up in a trash can instead of the middle of the sidewalk that would benefit all of us.

Everyone at some point in their 'coming out' process goes through a stage where, not quite secure that they'll be liked and accepted, become what I call "Brittle-And-In-Your-Face-I'm-Freaky-Love-Me" gay. For some people, that stage lasts about 5 seconds, for others, 2-months and for the most obnoxious in our community, some never grow out of that stage. And there are a lot of them. It's just immaturity of the male species and I've got news for you, the gay community doesn't corner the market for it. Just go to NASCAR races or football games or observe the behavior of men in groups, watching broadcasts of such event. So, in-your-face gay will always be with us. It just is what it is. No worries.

Luckily we in San Francisco live in a City where we can ride on a float in a speedo showing off our muscles and junk. Everyone comes to see it and we give them what they want. It's called freedom of expression. Unlike the Pride parades 30 years ago, nobody is pulling their winkies out or copulating to the beat of Donna Summer on a flatbed float. Don't be puritanic and stick up your noses at this hedonism. Imagine being in Russia where you have to go back into the closet or get arrrested, no less marching down the street in a jock strap. Prohibition was casued by allowing the prigs of society to legislate morality. I look forward to the Folsom Street Fair where I can walk around in a black mesh jock strap thrilling the boys with my Johnson and my red pubic hair. Thank God.

i disagree w/one thing................the political thing.........if we gays want to express our political opinions why not..thats how we got as far as we have these days.........

I went to Pride in Iceland, and you could learn all you need to know from a look at the program cover. Two Lesbians and two male toddlers. One looked in vain for an adult male or for even a bare chest. Totally G-rated and Disney-fied. At least it was politically correct (good Lesbians) and two Bradley Manning contingents and a flags of shame for countries like Russia that harm gays.

A G-rated, Disney agenda is *not* why gay men of my generation fought for sexual freedom, only to be penned by marriage, military, and maternity as "our" agenda. We don't need to be overpopulating the planet and producing more kids to be used as cannon fodder by the capitalists. 3/4 of the same sex marriages in Mass are L-L and 2/3 of those in King County WA are so.
What about trans? What about kids kicked out by Roman Catholic and Mormon "families."

People who aren't interested in the right-wing social agenda are, once more, shoved under the bus by the assimilationists.

wish meet mr.right
for seriously ltr

4+ years ago, I divorced from a marriage of 27 years, quit the Mormon church, and finally came out a balanced man. That spring was my first Pride parade. As successive floats and groups came by, frequently I was overwhelmed with tears that I was finally out and part of so much beauty and diversity.
Come forward to 2013. General announcement that the parade and festival is going to be family friendly. There was barely any bare chests, very little showmanship. I am thinking if I want family friendly I would do the July 4th parade which I don't. I enjoyed Pride because of what it was, a group united in showing diversity, acceptance, and freedom. Take that away, there is little difference from any other group.
Just as the Irish still have St. Patrick's Day parades for their unity and celebration, I hope us gays continue doing the same for the same reasons. However, if we dilute the celebration to be less than we are, there is little point anymore.
Phoenix Pride was so homogenized this year I am questioning, as are many others, about returning next year.

Wow! The amazing responses keep coming!

It's certainly time for gay men to take back Gay Pride events. To show up at organizing committee meetings and loudly do whatever needs to be done to keep the bastards honest. And to remind our political allies that they're just that: we're an GLBT community - not GLBT individuals. And above all else, to put a value on the crowds of us who aren't there for the benefit of parasites - be they gay businesses or otherwise.

Any large group of carnival-type revelers is a very attractive proposition to exploiters of all kinds: be they mafia bar owners, corrupt city officials, or corporations. For vested interests it simply makes business sense then that non-offense is most likely to generate maximum crowds plus goodwill which equals profits.

Given the fact that the "lewdness" complaints are invariably directed at gay men, isn't it time then that gay men manned up and told our allies who aren't gay men to simply STFU and stop setting a public behavior agenda for us? We haven't come too far if we accept a "family friendly" demand slapped on us - whether it's by lesbians with children or corporations or city hall.

I would like to point out a couple of forgotten or neglected points. First Stonewall was not the first time gays stood up publicly. Research Compton Cafeteria riots. Also, as much as many in gay life put down drag queens, they were in the vanguard of gay rights. All gays should remember and pay due respect to our past and the heroes.
That shows true gay pride.
We didn't get to this stage suddenly and it took those before us to give us what we have today or will have in the future.