The End of Pride

It’s time to stop parading and start marching, for Jack and Ennis’ sake.


I caught up with Brokeback Mountain the other day. I don’t know about you, but I usually wait quite a while to see new movies, and the more fuss and flackery there is, the longer I wait.


So far as the world at large knew, that meant San Francisco and New York and Miami, but by 1970, anybody looking for congenial company in Houston or Denver or Seattle or even Oklahoma City didn’t have to lurk in the shadows to find it. Didn’t, that is, if they were white. Pretty much everyone familiar with the Stonewall legend knows that drag queens were among those present and active in the week of demonstrations and riots; fewer recall that lesbians were there, too; but lost in most versions of the story is the fact that Stonewall’s main clientele was black, Hispanic, and Asian, and it’s documented fact that police overreaction during Sheridan Square’s five days of rage was at least as much due to racial hostility as fear and hatred of queers. Gay Pride sprouted from a mulch of equal parts class, race, and gender, but before much time had passed, it had become a movement with rainbow pretensions but wholly dominated by educated, white, middle-class folks like me, and most likely you, too, dear reader.

I’ve been feeling more and more remote from the events of Gay Pride for years, but seeing Brokeback Mountain, even if I saw it differently than most, got me thinking hard again about what it’s for, about just what it is that’s being celebrated. Pride? Proud of what? Proud of our “difference”? Proud of our struggle to overcome fear, intimidation, and opposition?

See The End of Pride by Roger Downey ~ Seattle Weekly ~ June 21, 2006

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