The Pride of the Nation

It is not every day you see headlines like this one:

YouTube bans ‘Gay Pride’ video because it ‘sexualizes minors’.

That it certainly did, though it is worth pointing out that the video is very much available elsewhere on YouTube at the time of this writing. The problem seems to have been not that the video “sexualized” a minor, but that it was uploaded as part of a critical article by LifeSiteNews. So YouTube will take down your video of a man jiggling his testicles at a little girl…but only if you’re a conservative outlet posting about how depraved it is. Otherwise it’s cool. Got it.

There is something rather disquieting about gay pride parades, teeming as they are with frenetically hypersexualized imagery: a large chunk of pride events seem to turn mostly on half-dressed men displaying their genitals through thin swimwear. There is a classic Onion article that addresses this very phenomenon, though frankly it is difficult to imagine the Onion these days mocking a gay pride event, or anything that might offend one of the multitudinous identity groups that now dot the social landscape. The boundaries of comedic discourse tend to shrivel wherever progressive interests expand.

Pride parades are odd events, chiefly because it is unclear just what the participants have to feel “proud” about: being gay? It is strange to attach “pride” to a state of being, inasmuch as gay people argue they never had a choice in the matter and were “born [that] way.” If this is true, then pride would see to be a misplaced emotion in this case: one feels proud over things one has done, not something that one intractably is. 

Perhaps it’s just a linguistic quibble, an instance of metonymic convenience: New York Pride, after all, claims that the parade is “a celebration of our lives and our community.” That’s great—but then what do those “lives” and that “community” look like? For a lot of parade attendees, it looks like oversexualized and sluttish behavior, a kind of carnal exhibitionism on steroids.: it’s a bit like Mardi Gras, really, except apparently it’s a year-round and embedded part of the “community.”

Make of that what you will, though it remains the case that the gay rights movement of the past forty years or so has largely turned on the question of sex; we are apt to make ourselves Selma envious on the topic of gay rights, but of course what it comes down to is that gay activists have been fighting to convince society to tolerate and even celebrate not gay people in general but homosexual sexual activity in particular. This is something that’s often glossed over, of course, in favor of more anodyne and less awkward platitudes. If you don’t see anything wrong with the toleration of gay sexual mores, either on a personal or a societal level, then I suppose that’s fine with you. But the conservative approach to the question has at least some merit, and there have been times when gay activists themselves have acknowledged it:

Anti-equality right-wingers have long insisted that allowing gays to marry will destroy the sanctity of “traditional marriage,” and, of course, the logical, liberal party-line response has long been “No, it won’t.” But what if—for once—the sanctimonious crazies are right? Could the gay male tradition of open relationships actually alter marriage as we know it? And would that be such a bad thing?

It surely would be a bad thing, and moreover it is quite likely to come to pass: the novel progressive innovations to the institution of marriage over the last half-century or so have all proven disastrous for marriage as a whole, and Obergefell is likely to be no exception. It’s doubtful, of course, that we’ll eventually see “straight pride parades” featuring the kind of debauched insanity we see at the gay ones. But that was never the point; the pride parades aren’t about getting people to do more parades, it’s about getting people comfortable with, as the Onion put it, “17 tanned and oiled boys cavorting in jock straps to a throbbing techno beat on a float shaped like an enormous phallus.” All of which is to say that pride parades are at least partly intended to communicate not so much pride as a specific and deliberate worldview and set of values, ones that are intended to spill over into the mainstream culture—and very likely already have, almost certainly to deleterious effect.

Comments are closed.