By Jody Valley
Readers: in the June 21 edition of BTL, a reader wrote in about her irritation regarding how some folks dressed and acted at gay pride activities. Here are some responses that I received:
R: I am responding in anger to the person who wrote about the gay pride parade in Ferndale. This person is just like everyone else in the world who wants to control who I am and what I do. I am sick of people being appalled with “gay behavior” and wanting us to go behind closed doors so they don’t have to look at us. I was at the parade and didn’t see anything that was abnormal. I saw lots of people having fun and being who they are. There were some drag queens and such but really it was just all in fun. It is only once a year that we get to come out and be on the streets and be seen. If she doesn’t like who we are or doesn’t want her daughter to see us, then she should keep them home. I think we should always be able to be who we are and express it in public. Freedom! That is what this country is supposedly all about.
Just Want to be ME
R: I agree with the person that wrote about the Ferndale Gay Pride parade. I didn’t attend that one but I was at the Lansing parade. For the most part the attendees were well behaved, but I was embarrassed about what I saw some of the men wearing (or not wearing). When people come to watch, they don’t see the “normal” looking people, they see the ones in little or nothing with the four inch heals and their butts hanging out of their outfit. I wasn’t with anyone, but I am sure that I would never bring my straight friends, parents or children to the Pride March.
Diverting My Eyes
R: The person complaining about the Gay Pride Parade should get a life. I didn’t see anything that bad and I was there all day. If people don’t like what is going on, they should stay home and not try to ruin it for the rest of us.
Got A Life
R: Responding to the person who was embarrassed about the Gay Pride march: I agree
that there shouldn’t be lewd behavior, clothing, or language at the Parade. This is a public event after all. There is plenty of time for that after the parade, at parties, and dances and such. I just wish people would realize how their behavior in public hurts us all in the long run. On TV and in the newspaper, they usually show the most outrageous person at the event. This is all the people at home see. Then they think this is who we are as a group.
No Pride at Pride
R: The Gay Pride parade is the same everywhere you go, so if a person doesn’t want her children exposed to these behaviors she should keep them home. I have young children and would never bring them to this event because I know what may happen and how people are dressed. Later when they are older and we can talk about things I will take them with me. In the mean time, I find other places to take my children to be around gay folks. I am not saying what goes on is right or wrong, just that, for those of us with children, we need to decide what we want them to experience and then choose appropriate places. This is our duty as parents.
Keeping My Kids At Home
R: In response to the letter writer about gay people’s behavior at gay pride events, I would like to throw my two cents in. I’ve been working hard for many years trying to obtain equal rights for the LGBT community. It saddens me when I go to Pride and I see people acting out sexually or inappropriately – believe me, I’m pretty liberal about these things and I have a wide range for appropriate. But, when I see things that are best left in the bedroom or bars, I get upset because it reflects negatively on our community. And the newspapers print pictures of those situations, not the lesbian moms or gay dads who are walking in the parades with their kids and dogs.
A Political Activist
Have a problem? Send your letters to: “Dear Jody,” C/O Between The Lines, 20793 Farmington Road, Suite 25, Farmington, MI 48336. Or, e-mail: [email protected] Jody Valley spent 12 years as a clinical social worker. She worked with the LGBT community both as a counselor and a workshop leader in the areas of coming out, self-esteem and relationship issues. The “Dear Jody” column appears weekly.