by Ledge Slater, DP Editor–Enlarged
Sunday, June 29th, 2014,
(BOTON ROUGE, LA) —Couples, lovers, husbands and husbands and wives and wives gazed proudly at the rainbow flags waving and the tickertape fluttering about during Baton Rouge’s gay pride parade Saturday afternoon, the last Saturday of the month. Forty-five years after the famous Stonewall riots in New York, June has come to be known also as “Gay Pride Month”, and formally declared so by President Obama in 2012.
The skies were cloudy but people’s spirits were bright as members of the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered (LGBT) community and straight supporters cheered on the participants of Baton Rouge’s eighth annual gay pride parade. Baton Rouge was among many U.S. cities hosting Gay Pride celebrations this last Saturday of June, 2014. Nor were they alone in the thousands of other cities across the nation that hosted them throughout June, ranging from just weekend celebrations to week-long celebrations.
But unnoticed or ignored by Baton Rouge’s gay pride participants and spectators, the rest of America that is not gay (96%) was also celebrating the end days of June, which is also coming to be known to non-LGBT members as “Go Tell Somebody Who Gives a Shit Month!”
First coined as “Okay, We Get It Already Month” by a group of progressive heterosexual men and women in Denver who were perfectly accepting of LGBT people, but became increasingly annoyed by the seemingly endless celebrations and self-obsessed behavior of a community that more and more —if not decisively most— of the nation is accepting as equals, without animosity. And surprisingly even some gay Americans are also coming to refer to June as “Go Tell Somebody Who Gives a Shit (about your sexual preference) Month”.
“At first we were very happy to see society’s attitudes changing so our gay friends didn’t feel afraid or ashamed to express their sexuality,” said Marie Sanchez, a founding member of the nationally growing “Go Tell Somebody Who Gives a Shit Month” movement in Denver. “But over time, once it became apparent (in Denver and other U.S. cities) that gays and lesbians could live their lives in the open and not face the amount of harassment they did years ago, all the parades and the endless weekend parties and rainbow flags, and drinking and public slobbering and everything, well, began to get on our nerves. …I’m sorry if that makes me a ‘hater’, but I’m just saying that eventually there’s a ‘tipping point’, you know; a point when we were like, ‘Okay, I’m cool with who you are, so let’s move on without all the fanfare’, you know?”
Sanchez added that she and her fellow straight friends initially began their campaign to have June named “Okay, We Get It Already Month” in 2005 as a “respectful hint” to their gay friends to not have to feel the need to prance around through the streets, many times hardly dressed, and try to draw everyone else into their world of “former relief at being tolerated, then expressing pride, then devolving into plain group narcissism,” according to Sanchez.
“But the name ‘Okay, We Get It Already Month’ wasn’t doing the trick,” Sanchez said, “so we decided to be a little more direct in 2010 by renaming June for gays, especially the activists, ‘Go Tell Somebody Who Gives a Shit Month!’ …But that’s not working either! They just keep going on and on, fawning over themselves. What other group does that, and to the degree and way (gays) do? A lot of our gay friends don’t talk to us anymore. But some of them still are (friends) and agree with us! So we must be on to something.”
Gay Baton Rouge residents Leon Baldwin, 49, and his partner, John DuBois, watched from a couple stools inside Huey’s Bar Saturday as their city’s pride parade passed by outside on its way to Louisiana’s Capitol. The two men said they were once proud participants in Gay Pride Month and all its LGBT–themed festivities. But beginning around eight years ago according to Baldwin, “It just began getting ‘a little old’. Really, how many cross-dressers, trannies, near naked men in leather, rainbow flags, giant inflatable penises, 300-pound women with Auschwitz-style haircuts and fourteen floats with Village People impersonators on them does it take to remind us ‘Okay, we’re gay. So?’ …We knew that already. I don’t feel pride or shame for being gay —I’m just me, Leon Baldwin, a person. I don’t care. So can we just move on with our lives as just people?”
“Not to mention those (expletive) whistles they’re constantly blaring,” said Baldwin’s partner, John, 43. “Those damn ‘New Years Eve’ horns they’re blaring constantly! We live only a few blocks away and can’t sleep because of the noise (the gay pride participants) make with them all night! We’re just trying to have a drink here and watch the World Cup, and I can’t hear shit because of those damn ‘pride honker things’!”
“You know, I used to be bashed when I was a kid because I’m gay, and it hurt and it did make me feel ashamed, you know?” DuBois continued. “But now I’m ashamed to be gay all over again, but not because of anti-gay bigots, but because of this damn-near orgy parade outside that’s supposed to represent ‘me’.”
Added DuBois, “I hate saying this, but maybe it is time we all start calling June national ‘Go Tell Somebody Who Gives a Shit Month!’”
Apathy = Hate
Also closing out Gay Pride Month Saturday with parades and parties was Cleveland, Ohio. And it too had the increasing national non-gay yet gay-accepting message of Go Tell Someone Who Gives a Shit Month looming silently over it.
Like with thousands of other cities that held gay pride celebrations in June, 40-year-old dental assistant Sharon Wilson sat in her car for two hours as Cleveland’s LGBT community paraded through West 3rd Street to West Lakeside Avenue, clogging traffic throughout the city. With her car in park and her head dispiritingly propped up by her left hand, Wilson was asked by Cleveland’s WKYC news station what her thoughts were on Cleveland’s magnificent pride parade and parties.
“I really, really, really don’t care!” said Wilson to WKYC reporter Vijay Kumar. “I have my issues with homosexuality, but I don’t, like, hate them. The only thing that can make me hate them is being stuck in traffic like this while they march around and go gaga over themselves. Alright, so you’re gay. …Like, you cares?”
Wilson said she has a niece who is a lesbian and tried to talk to her once about it and asked her if being gay was what she really wanted. “We’re a pretty devout Catholic family, so when Brittany came out as gay we were upset,” Wilson said to WKYC. “But no one ‘hated’ Brittany for it. …When I tried to ask if what she felt was really real she said ‘yes’, and I hugged her. But that night I got an angry call from her girlfriend who cussed and told me that I was a ‘bitch-ass fascist’ or ‘fascist bigot’, or something. Why? Why all the hate…from them? I don’t hate anyone! But I swear, if I’m stuck in this traffic any longer..!”
“I’m just confused by people (gays) who can’t get over the fact that they’re now more accepted than ever. So why then be on this, this weird, self-absorbed quest to get over themselves now?” said Wilson. “It’s bizarre and creepy, and I don’t understand it; when the majority of the country now seems okay with them. …If they’re really so full of pride and comfortable with themselves why have endless parades and shut down entire cities to prove it? When someone’s really comfortable and happy with themselves why express it like this and inconvenience everyone else? It’s like they’re turning their sexuality into some kind of weird, happy-go-lucky cult.”
Added Wilson, “I, I really don’t care how they live and who they have sex with or love. So then why can’t they go off and tell somebody who gives a shit?”
But Ms. Wilson’s uneasy yet ultimately tolerant attitude towards gays (especially her niece, whom she says she still loves more than ever) is the exact type of hackneyed, odious attitude LGBT activists claim is still keeping them as second-class citizens, all while news stories, magazines, cable networks, newspapers, websites, network TV, Hollywood films, and public schools are inundated with their presence, and entire university departments dedicated to studying gays and gay history, and that hardly one day can pass without gays or lesbian being mentioned and lauded in the mainstream media.
Famed anti-bullying crusader and gay-activist Dan Savage was at Saturday’s Cleveland rally and said that apathetic attitudes such as Sharon Wilson’s are what still keeps gays and lesbians and oppressed. Said Savage to reporters, “Damn it, I’m going to keep parading and blowing this shrill-ass, insufferable New Years Eve ‘zoom’ whistle in every straight person’s face I can, in the name of gay pride, until they get so fed-up they demand I stop! Then that’ll prove there’s still so much bigotry against us to overcome!”
Savage added that until he and other leading gay activists succeed in annoying the living hell out of straight Americans who are accepting of LGBTs to the point where they can’t help but say “enough already!” his mission won’t be complete.
“‘Acceptance’ and ‘tolerance’ aren’t the issues anymore,” continued Savage as he took a huff from his bottle of amyl nitrate. “As long as there’s just one person out there that has even the slightest critical opinion about any aspect of our lifestyles then my crusade will go on. …And if (heterosexual Americans) stop having any critical opinions about us, we’ll continue to annoy the (expletive) out of them until they’re forced to have them. Then the struggle can continue! Not caring if we’re gay; being apathetic is not enough. I’m not after apathy. I’m not after simple acceptance. I’m after worship!”
Back in Baton Rouge’s Huey’s Bar on North 3rd Street, Leon Baldwin and his partner, John DuBois began closing out their tab as “their” gay pride parade finally finished passing by, allowing the couple to head back to their condo on 7th and Laurel Street.
“Man, what a day –so ‘joyous’, you know, but still so, you know…depressing,” DuBois said. “…I think a storm’s about to pass over. We better make it home before the rain starts.”
“Yep,” said Baldwin. “You want Chinese or pizza tonight?”
“I don’t care,” DuBois replied, “just as long as that storm doesn’t leave a rainbow. If I see one more rainbow today I think I’ll puke!”
“I hear ya’,” Baldwin replied. “But hey, let’s get a shot for the way home. One more…a toast.”
“Okay,” said DuBois. “Toast to what?”
Replied Baldwin, “A toast to ‘Go Tell Someone Who Gives a Shit Month!’ ”