On September 25, I enjoyed a gorgeous day filled with music, rainbows, and beautiful men—beautiful gay men.
I attended North Carolina’s statewide LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) Pride parade and festival on the east campus of Duke University with my friend Coby Wooten, senior.
I’d have to say we definitely enjoyed ourselves but not for the reasons we thought we would.
Let’s be honest; I came to the march with liberal, self-righteous angst. I wanted to prove to the world that I was “straight, not narrow” and that I loved the gays.
After listening to a lesbian rock group dressed in plaid button downs and spiked dog-collars, Wooten and I found ourselves in hysterics. We couldn’t help but laugh at the spectacle of flamboyant clichés we had surrounded ourselves with.
There were adult men dressed in drag, teenage boys in fairy wings, and braless women dancing with rainbow streamers.
The Pride Parade had only trivialized a deeply misunderstood demographic.
“You can’t really be upset with the vast majority of people for wanting to lampoon gay culture,” said Wooten.
“Don’t get me wrong, being utterly frivolous can be a lot of fun, but I can’t think of a single group of people who’ve done a better job of alienating themselves from the masses they’ve strived to gain acceptance from.”
“Marsha,” a senior, “came out” her sophomore year and remembers her experience with clarity.
“Once, a girl called me a dirty f****t and asked me if my mother knew how disgusting I was,” said Marsha.
“It wasn’t even the comment that frustrated me. What frustrated me the most was that I couldn’t even blame her for having that perception.”
Marsha blames “overtly flamboyant gays” for the negative attitude to the gay community. “Nobody likes things shoved in their face,” she said.
“Greg,” senior, is of a similar opinion.
“Would you give a drag queen a baby? It seems to me as if the loudest voices get noticed, and unfortunately, the freaks of the gay community are labeling all of us,” he said.
“What bothers me the most about the flamers is that they are so wide open yet rarely do anything about the issues,” said Marsha. “While they are parading around in rainbow underwear and fairy wings, there are serious people lobbying Congress for our rights.”
Wooten believes that despite misconceptions of the gay community, there is still hope for acceptance of the gay community in the future.
“I believe so many kids our age are starting to realize that they are more than their orientation. You have to admit, it’s kind of weird to spend so much time thinking about someone else’s life.”