In cities everywhere June, various events will take place to bolster gay pride. Some pride parades and festivals in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York are huge events to which hundreds of thousands of gay suburbanites flock.
The concept of gay pride events to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village, the start of the modern day gay and lesbian rights movement, is valid. As usual, people will argue if the parades do more harm than good. Conservative gays will either stay home out of disgust or go out and talk to as many cameramen that they see to make sure both sides are told. "We're not all like them."
But I'm not here to argue for or against any elements of gay pride. Anything publicly legal that makes anyone feel better about themselves, even if it is only temporary, is a good thing. For many people, gay pride parades connects them to "the cause," and charges up their batteries for another year of fighting for us all.
For queer and questioning youth, most parades aren't very inclusive. There might be a youth contingent here or there, but it's similar to the card table I remember from Thanksgiving where the kids had to sit, because there wasn't room at the main dinner table with all the visiting adults.
Personally, I like the concept of the pride events more than the reality. I like the music, the atmosphere and the mood. But, I've fortunately gotten to a place in my life where I don't need the event as a catalyst for anything. I don't look forward to pride events or long for them.
I think people need to find out how to get the feeling they associate with a pride event and learn how to have it on a regular basis. Many queer youth aren't able to go to the event to even experience the special spectacle.
So, in June, I want Oasis to serve as a guide, but since our readers are everywhere and have different schedules, I want you to experience your own personal pride event. To do this, we need to give people a guide to things which make us feel proud as gay and lesbians. In June, Oasis will have a special section called "Portable Pride."
The idea is for readers to contribute reviews of different things that make them feel good about being gay. They should be things most youth can find around them already, or with little difficulty, such as videos, albums or books.
The reviews should explain what about the item you picked makes you feel good about being gay. You can also write about more than one thing. So, whether your pride comes from watching "Torch Song Trilogy" or listening to a Pansy Division or Bronski Beat album, or reading a Walt Whitman poem, share that with Oasis' nearly 15,000 readers.
E-mail any submissions to OasisMag@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Then, in June, our readers can plan their own private pride parties, even if they're the only ones in the room when the parties happen. And they can open up the rented video and the poetry book from the library, and feel slightly less alone, better about themselves and part of something larger.
In general Oasis news, Midol, our queercore columnist has decided that s/he no longer has the time to write a regular column. So, s/he will be missed, especially until we can find someone else to fill that void in an underreported market.
This issue also marks Oasis's six month anniversary. Six issues to date, each with a gay or lesbian cover story (something no national publication can seem to do). Each month, I have a period of a few days where I wonder why I continue to put out this publication. But your letters of support, and the fact that no one else is doing it keep me going.
I do want to thank our faithful readers, many of whom e-mail me monthly to let me know what they think. We're approaching 15,000 readers a month, and that's not hits, but actual readers over a month-long period. If you come back to the site 25 times over a month, our software only counts you as visiting once. So, Oasis is working, and it is living up to its name.
But, each month, it's still a mystery what sections will be overflowing, and which will be barely breathing. So, please, take time to share part of your life with our readers, whether it be a coming out story, poetry, opinion column, fiction or news item of general interest.
Oasis still lacks many voices, be they female, bisexual, queers of color, HIV-positive, etc. The more we offer, the more people we can reach.