Written by Sophie Saint Thomas
The symbol of gay pride isn’t the rainbow simply because LGBT kids watched too much Care Bears as a child (although the artistic value of that show should not be overlooked). Rather, the spectrum of the rainbow is meant to celebrate the diversity within the gay community, as sexuality, itself, is a spectrum. Rather than the Kinsey Scale, I’ve joked that we could use the following method to measure sexuality:
Double Rainbow: Elton John, Rosie O'Donnell
Full Rainbow: Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres
Partial Rainbow: David Bowie, Lady Gaga
No Rainbow: Jay-Z, Taylor Swift
Regardless of how big of a rainbow stretches across your sky, Pride Week is about celebrating yourself, your sexuality, and most of all, love. Sure, like any group of humans we’ve got a couple of jackasses (I’m looking at you, Perez Hilton), but overall the LGBT community is extremely accepting of individuals all across the spectrum. After decades of fighting for our right to be who we are, it would be rather hypocritical to judge others, especially during Pride Week. As of June 2013, 12 states have legalized gay marriage, yet despite forward motion, hate crimes persist, such as the recent shooting and resulting death of Mark Carson in New York City’s Greenwich Village, the mecca of the gay rights movement and the famous Stonewall riots. In both memory of Mark Carson and in celebration of our country’s steps towards a better America, Pride Week 2013 is an exceptionally important celebration year. To those still homophobic and fighting against gay rights – you are those who protested women’s suffrage, you are those who fought against the civil rights movement. You are the past, and you will be written in history books as fools.
If you’re straight as a board or gayer than a unicorn on rollerblades, this is how you celebrate pride week: show up. New Yorkers, for a full schedule of the week’s events, visit http://www.nycpride.org/. The most well known and joyous event of the week is the parade. Regardless of whether you're involved in an organization and riding on one of the merry kaleidoscopic floats, show up. See some naked bodies (trust me, they’ll be plenty of whatever your preference). Catch some free condoms flung into the air, and more importantly, use them. Despite spectacular medical advances that have turned HIV from the death sentence it once was to a quite manageable disease, allowing those positive to be capable of having a rather normal sex life, the advances in treatment should not have a backwards effect and cause us to become casual of the danger. To all those in heterosexual relationships, remember: Babies are expensive and noisy as hell. Forget your sex life after one of those fuckers pops out of your coochie.
As a bisexual (partial rainbow!) female I’ll be there dressed as a purple fairy, wearing a rainbow wig, and rainbow nail polish. My heterosexual male partner will be there likely dressed in a t-shirt and jeans, like the lovely yet horribly dressed straight man he is. That’s what pride week is all about – expressing yourself, finding confidence in your personal sexuality and identity.
If you’re taken, dance with your partner in a bar in Greenwich Village where people once rioted for the most important right of all: love. If you’re single, kiss a stranger under a rainfall of glitter. Get laid. Pride Week is actually a fabulous place to meet a lover, thanks to the feverous celebration of sex. Whatever your preferred label: Gay, straight, bisexual, pansexual, queer, polyamorous, etc., there will be those of the same flavor out celebrating.
I’ve had sexual fantasies about women as well as men since I was a young girl, although I didn’t come out until after college when I moved to New York. I could blame that on the small fraternity-fueled Southern college I went to, but really, it was out of fear of judgment. Once I moved to New York, I finally grew a pair and came out and dated women – the first girl I slept with made me come faster and harder than any man. If you are closeted, questioning your sexuality, or simply interested in experimenting or learning more about the queer side of life, participating in Pride Week is the perfect opportunity to do so. The joy of the celebrations is infectious, and witnessing the bravery of those who have embraced their sexuality may be just the ticket you need to finally explore and accept your own.
People often joke to “live every week like it’s Shark Week.” Sharks fucking rule, but I say rather: Live every week like it’s Pride Week. Wave your rainbow freak flag high; we have one life to live and to spend your precious existence in your beautiful human vessel made for fucking would be a tragic waste.