Recently I got into a Facebook argument, which we all know is totally productive and include rational and well-thought out discourses (kidding). But the argument was about something I’ve previously written about. Here’s how it went:
A gay man posted a meme that depicted two pictures.
The upper photo included activists marching at Pride in the 1970s. They’re fully clothed, and holding signs that talk about equality. The quote says, “This is gay pride.” The bottom photo shows half-naked men grinding on each other. The quote says, “This is bullshit. Spot the difference.” I then posted a caddy meme to depict my irritation. An argument broke out.
I see this quite often. Now that some in the community have attained some level of equality, we somehow feel the need to censor our sexual selves, slut shame, and attempt to demonize any sort of deviant behavior in favor of a heternormative protest-style Pride event. Fuck that.
The reason individuals were fully clothed during Pride in the ’70s was because it was a fucking protest. It was a march for their lives. But don’t think for a second that individuals who participated in Pride those years ago wouldn’t be or are not anything but absolutely thrilled to see Pride in all its post-’70s sexual glory. It’s a sexual celebration containing all the most colorful and sexy people of all shapes, sizes and colors. And the freedom we feel, if only for a day, is wonderful, exciting and totally reasonable.
Tell me why you’ll sit there and watch hours of violent television programs without blinking, and then randomly feel the need to publicly display your discontent with gay PDA? You’re not offended by Civil War reenactments that literally depict people getting shot to death? You say nothing about the mass amount of violent content openly displayed on GameStop’s windows? OK. But seeing two half-naked men grinding on each other is really what grinds your gears? Give me a break.
Many times, the individuals who are against Pride being a sexually exciting and messy event claim that the Stonewall rioters would just be appalled by this. They may believe that we’ve forgotten all the hard work they put in to get this freedom. Well, that’s false.
I served during “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT). My identity, I, was illegal. If caught, I would have lost my job in the Marines and I would have lost my education benefits. When I was deployed, DADT was repealed, and I came out of the closet.
Now, newly enlisted Marines rarely face the kind of discrimination I was faced with. They can serve totally open, and some are in disbelief when I tell them how we were treated before the repeal. I see them dancing half-naked at Pride, shaking their asses on floats, and I love it. I love that they don’t feel the pain I felt. I love that they can feel so free and live totally open! So, you’ll have to excuse me, but I just don’t think gay men from the Stonewall era would be anything other than totally fucking pumped that we feel so sexually liberated.
Look, I understand that not everyone is going to enjoy this. I understand that not everyone feels totally comfortable openly displaying sexual acts. But you keyboard warriors need to chill out with your greater-than-thou anti-sexual, anti-liberated, unadulterated heteronormative crap. The only thing our predecessors might be upset about is LGBTQ people shaming other LGBTQ people for being freaks, which we all fucking are!
So, the next time you want to call out two totally innocent (albeit naughty) men grinding half-naked on each other, I better see you post three things about all the normalized violence we see in today’s media. You better be the first person on the picket line for school shootings, and you better be at Pride with an information booth. If you’re not doing any of that, sorry honey, but you might as well be signing anti-gay legislation because the judgment you cast is just as harmful. You’re giving straights permission to hate us. Get up or shut up.
Johnathan Gilmore is formerly enlisted combat Marine deployed to Afghanistan who writes about masculinity, veteran awareness and LGBT issues. Gilmore graduated from Cornell University with a degree in communications. Read more on his blog: https://jtg237.wixsite.com/johnathan.