Rainbow Dis-Connection: A Pride-ful Look at Community

June 15, 2005 in It is what it is - opinion column | Comments (0)


I just don’t get it.
Why is it that groups of people who are marginalized by mainstream society always seem to have an insatiable desire to do the same to others?
I guess it’s about Pride.
But before I go any further, I owe you a disclaimer …

I’ve taken creative license with the chronology of this posting. Though listed as being written in June, it’s not actually until September that I wrote this. The thing is, it’s been a true challenge to compose my thoughts on this matter. It seemed fitting to date this entry for June, because my thinking started during the Pride celebration.

Pride is an interesting word. By one definition it represents a group of lions – a collective defined by a strong sense of belonging and with a clear organized hierarchy that serves to protect its members. Unless you live under a rock – or in a supremely powerful state of denial – Pride also stands for the collective celebration that takes place every June in the gay community across this country.

To the outside observer it might seem that the above mentioned definition of Pride as related to a tightly knit group would apply. To the outside observer, it might seems that during Pride all of the queer commuity unites under the rainbow flag, locking arms and reveling together.

But as with many things the view from the inside is a whole lot different.

Sure, as a whole the gay community faces some serious discrimination and challenge from the rest of the world, but it seems to me that part of the problem lies in the gaping chasms running between the members of our own group.

For the uninitiated, here’s a primer:
The general categories – Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender (LGBT) … but it doesn’t stop there. Within each of the groups there lie myriad flavors. Of course, the sterotypes generally promote one over the rest – with lesbians is the diesel-dyke, buzz cut masculine variety that most of the world identifies for the group. With gay men it’s the effeminate, limp-wristed, show-tune belting, interior designer with perfect hair.

Both are right.

Both are also wrong.

Of course stereotypes exist for a reason. Hell, I’m Jewish, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that even within my own family tree lie the caricature representations of that community. But I’m also a lesbian, and being someone who is decidedly not of the butch variety, I have found myself paying more attention to these variations to the queer theme.

Lately it seems to me that one of the biggest challenges facing gays is our own divisiveness. “A nation divided unto itself cannot stand.” So said Abe Lincoln all those years ago.

So how about a little tolerance people? How about instead of destroying ourselves, how about we foster within our own ranks the acceptance and open-mindedness that we so desperately seek from the rest of the world. Instead of these splinter groups that slash through the greater community like so many blades, how about we view ourselves as a many faceted gem, each of the angles reflecting back and reflecting outward. Maybe then we can start embracing Pride as more than a month-long excuse to party and wave the rainbow flag. Maybe then we can, become a greater collective, protecting each other and growing more powerful as a result.


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