Pride (or Gay-for-a-Day)

This is a joint post with Phonaesthetica.

Hypotaxis and I recently had dinner at a Japanese place, the kind where they seat you with a table full of strangers and everything is cooked communal-style and your eyebrows get singed by the flame. (We are introverts who would never have chosen this place, but hell, we won a gift card).

Immediately, we realized we were making the straight people at the table uncomfortable. While we didn’t show our marriage certificate, or even hold hands, the mere fact of our existence made these people wish we were seated somewhere else, like, say, New Mexico. One dude flat-out refused to sit next to Hypotaxis, saying he felt “claustrophobic.”

He was definitely something-phobic.

The point is, we’re lesbians. We’re womon-loving-womon gay lady dykes, and this kind of experience, albeit rare where we live, is part and parcel of our experience. There are towns in America where Hypotaxis, looking the declarative way she does, cannot safely get out of the car at a gas station.

Which brings us to Pride. Theoretically, Pride is where we should feel safest, yes? We should be looking forward to it. Why, just today, during a Target run for paper towels and socks, we saw a whole section of Pride-dedicated merchandise – scarves, stickers, pins, shirts – and while on one hand this could be read as “Wow, we’ve come a long way, baby” – really it signifies that corporate America has gotten wise to the fact that “gay is cool.” In fact, you don’t even need to BE gay to CALL yourself gay; you just need to wear the right accoutrements, you just gotta reach down deep and find the one marginally unusual thing about your personality, throw on a $5.99 rainbow ascot and VOILA, you’re gay. Because really, if Pride was just for homos, Target would not be hocking that shit in their stores.

The truth is, lesbians and gays are a sexual minority who face real, everyday homophobia, like we did when we were just trying to eat some very tasty fried rice or fill up our car in Amarillo, Texas. Now, though, those of us who have lived long enough are experiencing homophobia – lesbophobia, mostly – from what was once our own “community.”

We have entered a point and a place in time in which lesbian-bashing, even and especially at Pride, is the new social-justice warrioring. It’s now en vogue, sanctioned, encouraged for leftists to shit on lesbians – openly, gleefully. Brilliant vlogger Magdalen Berns was attacked on the street. The San Francisco Public Library celebrated beating and assaulting women; primarily lesbians, who refuse to bend to the will of men who say they are women. If you haven’t heard the story about the lesbian assaulted in Ohio by a group of “non-binary people,” please head over to Gendertrender’s excellent post.

As we discussed the hetero-overtake of Pride (swearing that we’d never attend a Pride event again – and we won’t) we wondered at the origins of Pride becoming a strictly fomo (fake-homo) event. Yes, yes, this is “gatekeeping” – a term beloved among straight people with fetishes who get upset when dykes dare suggest that lesbianism is an actual thing and not an outfit, a whim or a cry for attention. Did the straight co-opting begin when it looked like gays might get the right to marry? Did it begin when the gay community, foolishly, decided that “gender presentation” was the same thing as homosexuality? Did it begin with the gay community’s efforts to make mainstream America see us as full human beings? Was it our fault? Did we bring this on ourselves?

Women are harassed online, lose their jobs, are SHUNNED by lefty “queers” who don’t like the fact that lesbians exist and have lived realities different from straight girls who once made out with their roommate in college, or different from men who feel best in high heels, or different from straight couples who get off on BDSM (did you know that “kink” is now inherently gay? — Trust us, it won’t be long now before Target starts selling whips and chains).

We are proud of being lesbians; we are proud of our lesbian heritage – our home is filled with art and literature made by lesbians, about lesbians, for lesbians. We are proud of what our foremothers endured so we could be a married couple, with good jobs, with friends who see us as a legitimate couple and not just “roommates.” Most gays and lesbians over thirty have a grasp on where we’ve been, as a people, and what we’ve suffered in order to live relatively socioeconomically comfortable, relatively fearless lives.

This is the reason for Pride month. And it’s a good reason. And allies, too, are good – the gay community, like all marginalized communities, needs and benefits from heterosexual allies. However, again, we’ve reached a point where lesbians are personas non gratis among “queers.” Straight folks love gay culture – our music, our haircuts, our flannel shirts – but they don’t so much love us as individuals, particularly as female individuals with opinions, perspectives and positions that maybe don’t center their interests in fashion or sexual preoccupations. Mainstream culture, eg. Target, doesn’t love women whose lives don’t center around the needs and desires of men.

They don’t love women who say “Nope.” Because queer culture is about “yes” – yes to everything and anything. Queer culture is simply an iteration of heterosexual dominance with Kool-Aid streaks in its hair, and when you, as a lesbian, say “no” to its ideology, you are shut up and shut down. Pride is now for and about everything and anything, and therefore it is about nothing at all. It is a meaningless frivolity wherein straight folks can be “gay for a day,” drink too much, and listen to dance music.

Pride is not about homosexuals and it’s definitely not about lesbians. Maybe do something else instead. Get together with other lesbians? Read a book about lesbian history? Or throw that exorbitant entry fee at a worthy cause, organization, or publication like OLOC or Lesbian Connection? Or maybe just buy a dyke some dinner? (But not at that one Japanese place.)