Dallas Pride and the “Dangers” Thereof – gay men in speedos:
Originally seen on TALKHILLCREST | SeanSala.com
I was born in Oklahoma, in a little town called Edmond near Oklahoma City and Moore. My family eventually moved around the country here and there, including a stint in Colorado. Being the staunch Evangelical family we were, we attended Pastor Ted Haggard’s “New Life” Church. I still remember being a little guy looking up at the ceiling with flags hanging from all over the world as the Evangelical pastors prayed fervently that other nations would convert to Evangelicalism.
We eventually settled in Dallas, Texas. There, I attended a private Christian school called “Carrollton Christian Academy” which is still in existence today (just in a different location).
I was taught my whole life this one view on sexuality: Marriage is the only blessed from where sex can happen, marriage is between a man and a woman – period.
Now remember, the nation was very different back then. We as a country were still under the legalistic maul of many of the early patriarchs of Evangelical leaders like Dr. James Dobson, Robert Tilton, The Bakers, and so on. So while “marriage was the only blessed form of sex” there certainly was no talk of “blow jobs,” anal sex, “nipple-rides” or anything of a campy sexual nature that addressed this thing called “foreplay.” While the Evangelical movement blessed “sex” as long as it was under their parameters, even speaking about sex in any way – including for education was deeply shunned.
So there I sat. I had no idea I was gay then and I didn’t even know what it meant to be gay. The first time I remember being called gay was when I was in the 5th grade. I was called gay by a very popular kid, so what did I do? I ruined that kids social life.
Like I said, I didn’t know what it meant to be gay, but I just knew that it was “deeply evil” and something to be “reviled.” This is what I was taught.
Today I am an open, out, proud gay man and I am also very open, accepting and educating when it comes to human sexuality. But this wasn’t always the case. I was raised to shame the pregnant girl, shun anyone who thought sex was for pleasure and that strippers or adult film stars were the most evil thing to walk the planet.
Frequently in churches, I was shown dramatic and “jaw dropping” videos of “evil gay pride parades” – images of men in leather, images of men in speedos, etc. (Oh the horror I know!).
Years later, while I was on the tail end of my military service I organized the first ever Military contingent in a Pride parade in the History of the United States. The thing that caused me to really confront this needed change was because when I went to San Diego Pride for the first time, I had never been to a Pride celebration before. I was fed images of “terror,” remember?
Well coming to this Pride celebration, I saw the men in leather, I saw the men in speedos half naked. But I also saw families, churches, policemen, fire fighters, public officials, congress members, seniors, women, blacks, whites, Asians, Christians, Jews, Unitarians, and so much more. I saw what the Rainbow flag meant: Equality for EVERYONE – a magical thing called “diversity” that I never learned in Dallas and I never learned in the military.
In the summer of 2011, there was a fire in Hillcrest. A popular and iconic bookstore in the local gay community named “Obelisk” had burned down. It had just recently seen a change of ownership as well. The store was known to be full of novelty items, sexual art, and adult films tucked away in the back. I remember when the new owner announced that upon rebuilding he was going to change a lot of things, including removing the pornography from the back of the store. Upon seeing this I posted on Facebook something to the effect of: “Glad to see Obelisk is removing porn from their bookstores. Especially since San Diego Pride is becoming more “family friendly.” I truly thought nothing of the post. Hours later, I learned that boy was I wrong.
At that same time, I had experienced a pretty big influx of social media followings, news media, and the like talking to me because of my activism with the military contingent at San Diego Pride. This led to a lot of people looking at what I was saying. I was early in this game, so I really had no idea that I was “being watched.”
There was a slew of comments, many from much older gay men, who were very angry at what I had said. Many of them called me uneducated, and a “young idiot” and so forth since I thought that porn had no place in San Diego Pride. One comment really stood out to me though:
“Porn is our heritage.”
The first thing I honestly thought was “what the hell is this guy talking about? How can an adult film be your heritage?” I thought the guy was a complete idiot. We exchanged some Facebook conversation back and forth and he told me to “read up.”
And I did.
Years later I have returned to Dallas periodically. I had reconnected with a lot of friends growing up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and I have made a lot of new ones. Every time I went to Dallas, I still had so much pain, fear and honestly I was a little terrified. I would have been reluctant to admit it then, but the years of religious abuse really did leave me scared. It does to this day. Dallas gave me some posttraumatic stress.
While I have had a big amount of support from people when I came out, there are those who won’t speak to me anymore. They don’t say why, but I know why.
Recently the Dallas gay Pride parade has come under some heavy fire about their handling of “family friendly” pride celebrations. The controversy surrounding is was rumored to be “should we ban men in speedos” and “we need to make Pride less sexual.” Something that upset MANY gays and lesbians in the Oaklawn area – yet I noticed a steady group of leadership in the area was reinforcing that Pride celebrations cannot be sexual because we “want families there” and “what about the children?” I saw some liberal activists go NUTS on Dallas Pride.
So what is the answer to all of this? It’s two-fold.
Separating sexuality from Pride events is not the full story:
Umm…. Last time I checked an LGBT Pride parade was not about celebrating your anniversary, your sales pitch, nor a baby shower, it is about celebrating being LGBT and SEXUALITY. It kind of is a comical position when people say that sexual undertones Is “trashy” for Dallas Pride.
Pride parades have been an essential part of the gay rights movement. Trust someone who had dealt first hand with seeing a small idea such as a military contingent change America – Pride parades have impact. The more liberal areas of the United States sparked Pride. Was it easy? Absolutely not. Even the MOST CONSERVATIVE Pride celebrations were considered to be a band of “pedophiles and sexual deviants.”
Think about how people simply walking down the street were considered to be “hated by God” and “child molesters.” Yet in other Pride events, the skimpy clothes and open sexuality actually did spark a conversation nationwide in the American community. When people started to say, “I like to do X,Y,Z with men” and “I like to do X,Y,Z with women.” That actually was birthed before from the sexual revolution. Which paved the way and CREATED the modern gay rights movement. There would be NO PRIDE EVENTS nor modern gay rights movement if it was not for the boldness of activists who stood up in a sexual revolution saying “I like to have sex with men (or women).” Such a phrase may seem kind of typical to us these days, but to declare that then made those activists equivalent to someone who wanted to rape a child in the eyes of many. The boldness of sexuality has lead to marriage equality. Not conservative values, but bold, open, sexuality.
People that believed in Harvey Milk were not “family friendly”:
Harvey Milk is all over the modern media now. He has gained civil rights equivalency to Martin Luther King Jr. in being awarded the posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom. During his life, though, he was considered a deviant. Even modern conservatives still today say he was a child predator (they still try to use that tired argument against us).
Yet Harvey Milk stood up and fought in one of the most liberal areas of the country at the time (still not open to the LGBT community). In the film “Milk,” viewers see images of gay men being hauled into police vans, sparking the Stonewall Movement – our gay civil rights movement. When Harvey began to stand up and demand equal justice, it was not the churches, the families and so forth who stood with him. It was the porn stars, the pot heads, the poor, LGBT teens that had been rejected, transgender men and women and drag queens who stood with him.
To sum it up, the REJECTS of society stood with Harvey for the message of the Constitution, when the majority of the country delighted in demoralizing, demonizing and instituting structural and direct violence against the LGBT community. The only people that stood with the modern day civil rights icon were those who were the FARTHEST from being “family friendly.”
We assume that people who are open and educated on sex and gender are not family friendly. Yet, they themselves play a role in their own lives in their own families. Many of us were rejected by our families. In the words of RuPaul, “LGBT people get to choose our families.” Our families are not less because they don’t have the picket fence. Our families are just as important, refugees of oppression.
What about the children though?
Every parent has a right to raise their child as they see fit. On that note, I hope parents will consider this and I mean it with the utmost respect for their role in their child’s lives.
You go to a Pride parade and you see a man in a speedo and you SHIELD your child’s eyes before the “neon green speedo gets into their soul!”
- You take a family trip to a beach full of speedos, but you only shield the child’s eyes if it’s at an LGBT Pride parade. (Ironic, isn’t it?)
- When you walk by a mentally ill homeless person you tell your child “look at that lazy bum.”
- When you hear rap music you tell your child “they are a bunch of worthless N*****s.” You see no problem with that? What kind of “Southern values” are you teaching?
- When you attend Church a message that “Jesus was a capitalist” reinforces that poor people are disgusting, evil creatures. When Jesus Himself defended the validity and significance of the poor. They are a part of our society. Period. Jesus demanded that we care for them. By the way, Jesus was neither Capitalist or Liberal. He was above all of that.
- You tell your child that the teenage girl who got pregnant in high school “is a whore.” Yet you were the father that had sex with many girls in high school and just won no pregnancy by the luck of the draw.
There are SO MANY THINGS in society that are wrong. I have met more evil Pastors using the message of Jesus to embezzle money, cheat on their wives, use Christianity to make millions off the backs of naive seniors citizens and others than I have met “evil porn stars.” Some of whom give more money to charity then some life-long Christians I know. We are so obsessed with demonizing people who are open and educated on sexuality, when instead we have children in America going to bed hungry every night.
We have much bigger priorities than to:
#1 Pretend that sexuality is evil,
#2 Act like humans don’t have sex, and
#3 Trash the liberators that lead to your gay son, daughter, cousin, Father, Mother – who now live in a world that is more open and accepting to LGBT people.
Think, did you lift a finger to make it a better world for LGBT people? The early sexual liberators laid down their lives and their names. You didn’t. Until you can sacrifice your life to stand up for expression, you really don’t have room to judge.
Finally, there is nothing wrong with being a Conservative family:
Conservative families are beautiful. I love them. I came from one. During our good years, we were really blessed people. Marriage is an amazing thing that the gay and lesbian community has fought for because we see that. We want that and we want to be recognized for our love too. Yet that does not mean that the establishment of what has been only straight society gets to demean and demand that gays act a certain way and do everything by the code to which they demand. Straight society does not get that they may be pro LGBT mostly now, but it was the rules and behavior modifications that they produced that lead to the suicides, the gender discrimination against women and so forth.
Moral of the story: There are people dying in our streets. We have a lot of work to do. The churches have a lot of work to do, rather than focus on men in neon green speedos.
Oh, and there also was that part of the Bible where Jesus said “judge not, lest ye be judged.” You’ll take so many passages literally, but when it comes to love, acceptance and understanding, you’d rather ignore that one. There also is this thing called “slut shaming” that Jesus never did. In fact, he spoke against it. (He who is without sin cast the first stone.)
Oh and by the way. It’s just a body.
Go feed the poor.