Where Has All My Pride Gone?

bulldyke's picture

Obviously, I'm bored, else I wouldn't be posting all this stuff...not that there's much of it, but whatever. I wrote this essay ages ago, for a writing class I was taking. We had to write an argumentative essay (my faves!!), and me, but the bulldyke that I am :P, just had to write about something controversial.

So, in case it's not clear in the essay that you may or may not read below, essencially what I'm saying is that, while pride is awesome and great and wonderful, shouldn't we be trying to move past it and just live as normal people, who just happen to be gay/bi/however you choose to describe yourself?

Where Has All My Pride Gone?

I'm gay. I've known for as long as I can remember that I wasn't interested in guys, and as soon as I knew what the word 'lesbian' meant, I came out. It's the most natural thing in the world for me to be gay. It just…is. For a few years after I came out, I was really 'in' to gay pride. Everything I wore had to have a rainbow on it, I was president of my GSA, the whole shebang. In fact, I was described by a friend as being the "out and proud lesbian of Holmes Junior High." At the time, there was no greater compliment she could have given me. But now, I've begun to see things differently. At first, I was out and proud because I thought that was what was expected of me. Now, though, I don't want to be proud. I mean, really, what is there to be proud of? My sexuality? That should be a private, personal issue, not one that I need to go blaring out to the world. I'm gay. I'm also 17, a writer, a reader, a (very) amature guitar player and a friend. I'm not 'out and proud' about any of those things. So why should my sexuality be any different?
Because I am different. Because to the rest of the world, my sexuality is the defining factor in how they see me. The majority of the people out there will choose to see nothing about me but the fact that I'm biologically programmed to be attracted to women. For the last fifty years, gay pride has been our shield against those people. It has been a way to say "I'm not afraid of you," and it's been a way for us to be heard. I will be the first to point out that if it weren't for the pride of the gay men and women who marched and protested and fought for our rights, I wouldn't be here, writing this essay. Gay pride has been one of the most important factors in bringing our need for equality and fair treatment to the forefront of the nation's mind.
Many of the people who I look up to and respect are of a generation of lesbians for whom pride was a huge step for them. My aunts especially have shaped how I think of myself as a young gay woman. They are of a generation of confusion and fear. For them, and for so many like them, their pride was a shield. A protection, of sorts, against an unjust, scared majority, who couldn't accept difference or change. I am so proud to know these women who have worked to knock down doors for the next generation.
But the doors have been knocked down. The fight is far, far from being over, but our campaign is also far from it's infancy. I don't believe that every gay man and woman should simply give up their pride and go home, because it is important, both to individuals, and to our communities. But I do believe that pride is not a necessity for everyone who's gay. I don't want to be proud of what should be such a small factor in my life.
So let us be the next generation of homosexuals. Let those of use who aren't quite so proud be the ones who go forward, through these doors that have been opened for us, and build a new community. Let us be the new generation, who don't have to hang up rainbow flags so that our neighbors know that we're gay and not afraid. Let us go forward and live our lives like everyone else. Let us be the ones who show the world that we're really not that different from anyone else. To show, not just say, what we've been preaching for years, which is that homosexuality is not something to be afraid of, because we're just regular people who want to go on with our lives. Regular people, who have jobs, and family. Normal folk who want to go out on dates, and fall in love. Regular, free, Americans who want to live equally to their neighbors, without prejudice.
I hope that someday, gay pride is simply a story of the past. I hope that someday, we can all see that homosexuality doesn't set us so far apart from the heterosexuals. I wish that my being a lesbian wasn't something that I have to be proud of, because it's not. Pride has brought us out of the closet, but now it's time to take the next step. Now it's time for some of us to take the freedoms we've fought for, and live. To live in honor of those who've died, and in honor of those who've fought and lived. To live our lives just for the sake of living them, because we can.

I'd really, really like to know what you all think of this...agree or disagree or something in between, anything! Comments, please!

Comments

Uncertain's picture

Nice

That was a good read :)

I wrote something similar for a research assignment on the repercussions our society has on homosexuals. I agree that gay pride is important to make progress and destroy social barriers, but if overdone it can be the barrier. Like you said, the ultimate goal is one day we won't even need gay pride anymore (at least not for the same purposes). Everyone's different, and being gay should not take such a huge precedence into defining who we are.

Also, I want to make the point that when you said "At first, I was out and proud because I thought that was what was expected of me" I can't agree with the statement more. I think the irony behind trying to be proud and 'different', we've become expected to fit inside the stereotype. (Just like you can say it's racist, but Asians feel that societal pressure to do certain 'Asian things' out of their conscious choice as well - which just further enforce the stereotype).

I think it's okay to be proud of something, even if it's not really something you had to work for. However, it's just I've seen way too many gay/bi people I know try so damn hard to make a point of being gay, or act 'gay', or be a stereotype expected by other people, that they eventually lose a part of their individuality and independent thought. It's sad really.

in rainbows's picture

whoa

this essay is really good and true, ive only been out for a few months and i have to admit that im still a bit obssesed with rainbows, but as i grow older it just doesnt seem like such a big deal any more, im starting not to care a little less about who knows and who doesnt, and how i am just any one else in so many ways.

bulldyke's picture

That's pretty much what

That's pretty much what happened with me. I'm lucky (in a lot of ways)...my aunts (finally married!!!) were one of the couples here in CA who sued for gay marriage rights...and my family's totally cool with them, and with me. But the downside is that when I came out, they expected me to be really, really out and proud. So I was. Rainbows freakin everywhere...but now, I'm sort of like...okay, I like girls, but...so what? I also like a ton of other stuff, but I don't need to advertise them. Okay, now I'm just repeating myself, so ta! And thanks for your input!

Bulldyke
"Excuse me if I don't feel comfortable shoving this tampon up my penis in the mens room." Andrea Gibson, on women who mistake her for a guy in the ladies room.

will's picture

Thumbs up!

great essay! I agree with ur ideas about gay pride. ( i just found out what rainbow meant hahaa) It's true that "their pride was a shield. A protection, of sorts", it still is, the fight goes on. but gay pride always means a sense of one's own proper dignity or value and self-respect towards their own sexuality. and that, is something every one should have.

bulldyke's picture

Oh yeah, definitly! And

Oh yeah, definitly! And when that's what your pride is, it's awesome! I mean, pride is awesome no matter what, but...you get my point. :D

Bulldyke
"Excuse me if I don't feel comfortable shoving this tampon up my penis in the mens room." Andrea Gibson, on women who mistake her for a guy in the ladies room.