The Hipocrisy of the Glassgow Free Pride Parade

This year, there will be one less group performing in the Pride Parade Glassgow. It was, however, not by choice. Instead this group was forbidden from performing for reasons that would not hold any weight to a truly sensible person. Yes, Cross-dressers or transvestites will not be allowed to perform in this years Pride Parade. The reasoning given for this choice were:

“The decision was taken by transgender individuals who were uncomfortable with having drag performances at the event. It was felt that it would make some of those who were transgender or questioning their gender uncomfortable.

It continued: “It was felt by the group within the Trans/Non Binary Caucus that some drag performance, particularly cis drag, hinges on the social view of gender and making it into a joke, however transgender individuals do not feel as though their gender identity is a joke.
(I thought that neither did cross-dressers, but pardon my mistake).

“This can particularly difficult for those who are not out and still present as the gender they were assigned at birth. While it was discussed whether we could have trans drag acts perform, it was agreed that as it would not be appropriate to ask any prospective drag acts whether or not they identified as trans”.

But, it begs the question, is this truly what the Glassgow LGBT community is representing, they are forgetting that cross-dressers, have been avid supporters of the group since at least 1973. It is a shame to alienate this group once again, simply for behaviors that are labelled as a “joke” from a separate group (ironic isn’t it?). The sad part about all of this is that, I wish this had been the first time something like this has happened. But, no it isn’t, and we must take a quick look at history to find out why this action is one of the reasons that our past must be studied.

Stonewall+Riots,+June+28,+1969+(1)

The Gay Pride Parade, was an idea born due to the police raid of the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969 which incited the Stonewall Riots. This Inn was a safe haven for people with gender queer identities /behaviors (such as cross-dressers, transgender, male prostitutes) to find other like minded people. These violent demonstrations were actually a catalyst towards the gay liberation movement, and will go down in history as the moment when all we have achieved today in the U.S. started. Thanks to the efforts of all who participated in these riots, more establishments were opened up for homosexuals to freely exhibit they orientations without fear of the law (police raids were common due to homosexual people being listed as high threat to national security) (like being gay makes anyone automatically more or less dangerous right?).

Yep, I knew it, total threat to society as we know it (this is sarcasm)
Yep, I knew it, total threat to society as we know it (this is sarcasm). Bah, who am I kidding he’s gorgeous 😀

These riots did not happen overnight though, and it’s important that we remember that cross-dressers were actively participating during all of these events. They were present when police raided, and also while the LGBT community fought back to retake what belonged to them. The fight lasted days, and in the end the Stonewall was charred and nearly destroyed thanks to all the fighting. But, in its wake laid a fire burning brightly upon the hearts of those who had been there during those tumultuous times.

By November 2, 1969, a group of individuals was already proposing that a march should be established in honor of the events that happened. Together with multiple groups of like minded people, the arrangements were made in order to celebrate the first Pride Parade on the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.  The excitement could barely be contained, so much that the event was organized in nearly half the time they expected. Finally on June 28, 1970 just two hours after receiving the permits, the first Pride Parade took place. Why is this important? Because after two years, from these riots, most major cities in the U.S. had established a gay rights group. These groups had very little in common, but included everyone from all races, genders, identities, and yes even cross-dressers.

Drag-Queens

But, as we all know by this point, history has a funny way of repeating itself. During the 1970’s a feminist activist called Jean O’Leary  protested something she perceived as being a mockery to women in the form of cross-dressers and drag queens who were attending a Stonewall Rally. O’Leary claimed that drag queens made fun of women for entertainment value. In response to these staments two drag queens Sylvia Rivera and Lee Brewster rebutted that “You go to bars because of what drag queens did for you, and these bitches tell us to quit being ourselves!”. Not only had O’Leary offended these two, but that day both the lesbian feminist, and drag queens left that rally with a deep sadness in their hearts.  But, O’Leary did not stop there, she also excluded transgenders from gay rights because she felt they would be too hard to obtain (she later did change her mind and openly embraced both groups, but to me that was far too late). It’s a shame to see, how little the group in Glassgow has learned of their past. To turn their backs on a group of people who have always been present in their demonstrations, without any shame to show who they are and what they stand for. Now, they are rebuked by the group who they were once extremely closely associated with (now we understand sexual spectrum a bit better, and thus they can be described differently).

Drag Queens at the Portland Pride Parade 2011
Drag Queens at the Portland Pride Parade 2011

This is what led us to today, when Glassgow in the face of an era which finally permitted equal marriage rights, to all who would seek them. Is spitting in the face of drag queens everywhere by telling them that they are offensive to others. Do they mean offensive as in how O’Leary described them? Is simply being different to transgender offensive to people? You know back in the 1960’s everyone who was homosexual was offensive to everyone else. This is the kind of hypocrisy that doesn’t let our society move forward. This is almost equally as bad as those religious people who claim that their religion is real, whilst every other is false. Cross-dressers have been a tremendously important part of the LGBT community in the past. When nobody else besides yourselves were there, drag queens were with you the entirety of the way. To shun them, to turn them back for performing in a display of Pride is a violation of everything you stood for. Don’t forget, it’s not called the “Gay Pride Parade” (at least not anymore) it’s called the Free Pride Parade, and I’ll be damned to allow such an infraction to go by unscathed. Why don’t you also take their feelings into account when you make this sort of decisions instead? When will equality be the goal that we truly strive for instead?

*I want to note that I do understand that they are allowed to be in it, but not perform. However, to me that is still inexcusable*

** I also found out that they indeed reversed their decision and that is wonderful!**

http://www.thestranger.com/blogs/slog/2015/07/22/22585311/free-pride-glasgow-we-made-a-mistake-and-we-apologise

Seth Macfarlane

The sources I used for this article were:

Stonewall (1993) by Duberman Martin

What Made Stonewall Different by David Carter

A Quick Congratulations to the LGBT Community. But a wake-up call to our brothers/sisters-at-arms.

I wanted to extend a warm hug to the LGBT community because today this 26th of June 2015 marks the day when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. A historic blow against the hate and bigotry that has been spread throughout the United States has been dealt and it is glorious. I have some very dear friends who are part of this community, and honestly can’t wait to see if they will take the plunge into marriage sometime soon. Frankly I am surprised it took this long for the government to do this. It’s not like it took them hundreds of years to realize that all people deserve the same rights despite their differences (oh wait, it did). Now, if we can finally get to work on fixing every other issue in this nation perhaps we will finally get somewhere, but for now this is a big step forward.

I wanted to mention something that might not have been widespread news at this moment. It is that the military (or at least the Navy) this month has been designated as LGBT Pride Month in order to bolster camaraderie and equality. It was so fantastic to hear those news because I came in at a time when we were still following the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that was enacted during Bill Clinton’s presidency in order to allow people of different orientations to serve their country. This itself was one big step forward in the military because until that point, if you were to apply for a job; the recruiters had to ask your orientation (if you said yes to the question, you were automatically unable to serve). However, this changed when during 2010-2012 time-frame the military opted to repeal the policy in favor of one that allowed anyone to serve openly. This caused much rejoicing amongst many of my co-workers who I am proudly serving next to, this very day.

But, not all is well in paradise. You see the military has it’s own strict code of Justice called the U.C.M.J. (Uniform Code of Military Justice). In this code there is an article that strictly forbids sodomy and I’m going to share with you (seeing as a quick Google search will provide the answer):

925. ARTICLE 125. SODOMY

10. Punitive Articles

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration , however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

(b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

Someone in a much higher pay-grade than me needs to fix this soon. It’s not a much spoken about issue and I believe that a lot of members of my community (the military) need to band together in order to modify this. It’s not that the military openly observes the article (unless it involves rape, but that is a separate issue all together). But, simply because having this article exist is denigrating as a whole to a community who now openly embraces the members of the LGBT community who serve alongside them. It’s simply a stain on an otherwise standard and effective system of justice.

My other issue with this approval of the same-sex marriage is that it doesn’t change the fact that men of homosexual orientation can’t donate blood at blood-drives. In fact if you are a male who engages in sexual acts with another man it will get you banned for life in terms of donating blood. This is a seriously outdated policy that traces back to the era when the AIDS crisis was at its height. Countries around the world have been coming to change this with the passing of time, but the United States seems to be stuck in the past. I understand that prior to 1985 we did not have the technology to test for HIV before giving blood transfusions, however the times have changed and we do now. Somehow this must have escaped the eyes/ears of the people in charge of the system because nothing has been done to remedy this mistake. Technology has advanced so much that we can now test for multiple diseases in a fraction of the time that it took back in 1985. Yet, I barely ever hear anyone making a fuss about this issue. It seems that as long as people are willing to lie in those questionnaires they will willingly (and selflessly) donate blood to save lives. But, I say nay! People must rise against this indignity towards the LGBT community and take another stand. This is not the time to celebrate. It is the time to take action, and correct every discrepancy that has been enacted against a group of people. If discrimination is such a crime then explain to me how this is not such an act!

The only reason I found about this detail, was because a year ago one of my closest friends/confidant posted on his Facebook wall that he was unable to donate blood. When I heard the news my first reaction was to give him a phone call immediately and find out what had happened (I was afraid he might have gotten sick from his trip to a foreign country). It was that same year that he told me of his orientation (though I had known that detail about him since before he even realized it). In his post he specified that the group he donated blood to was no longer interested in his “gay blood” which is frankly very alarming. Ever since then I have made it a deed of mine to raise awareness of this fact. But, I need more people to spread the word, and if you’re reading this blog; please ensure that the news is heard. This needs to reach congress, it simply can’t continue to be this way if we are to reach the total equality that all people deserve.

On a final note my command celebrated LGBT month with a breakfast this morning. It was completely free though donations were welcome (of course I gave them most of the cash I had on me). I was so overjoyed to partake in this meal (free food!), but mostly because it gave me a chance to say good-bye to my shipmates. I will be doing a Permanent Change of Station soon, and I don’t have many opportunities left to socialize with them (so every bit is welcome). This day was truly a historical event, which compares only to the equal rights movements of the past. Once again I say to the LGBT community a warm and hearty congratulations.

LGBT Month on the command