Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thoughts on the whole Pride thing

So LA just had its big Pride parade and whatnot. I'm not so sure how I feel.

I really have no issue with certain parts of the parade. I mean, the various activist groups, charity groups, Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Red Cross, PFLAG, Gay Men's Chorus, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, support groups - yeah. Bring 'em on.

But there are points it starts to get silly and we start to get used.

I think I'm pretty much okay with bars having floats. I mean, they're sort of safe spaces, places that really offer the only place to go and be confident that most people are gay (the Abbey notwithstanding) and thus suitable targets.

But I was a little shocked that bathhouses have floats. I mean, come on. What does that say? Part of the gay community is a place you can go have anonymous sex? People do it, sure, but does it have to be so . . . accepted?

And then the brazen advertising gets to me. How many different alcohol companies had floats? What is that - "Ooh, look, Bud Light is supportive! They come to Pride!" Great. They ticked that box. What else do they do for us? (I have no idea about Bud Light. I just pick it as an example.) Great, Absolut - you got a float and put a bunch of half-naked probably-straight muscleboys on it. Do you give domestic partnership benefits? Do you give money to gay charities? Do you give money to fight Republicans or the FMA?

When we let that happen, we're just getting used. Those companies go, aha, this is good advertising, we know gay men and women can consume prodigiously, let's toss them a bone and look supportive, they'll buy it, and then we can say we've done our part.

I say keep them out. Let the people who really do something for us march, and let them march because it's a statement or a cause, not because some straight guy in a suit saw a marketing opportunity.


Mike B said...

The whole 'advertising at Pride' debate ebbs and flows. My first few parades in Toronto were massive rolling ads for Molson and Labatt and Air Canada, this when corporations were desperate for the supposedly loyal gay dollar, if recognition of them as valued customers was extended.

The gay dollar never really materialized, and advertising dried up. Now the Toronto parade is largely community groups, gay professional groups, various activist groups, politicians showing support, and here and there, local businesses and organizations that have always supported the community. In essence, they are out showing pride, and their extensive involvement in the world.

The other thing about Toronto's pride parade is that is has become largely a show for straight people, which is a good thing, given the message now being put forth.

Give it time, LA's Pride parade will evolve.

Anonymous said...

The whole Pride thing is becoming less of a in your face protest to accept gay/lesbian people and has become a sort of Christmas parades with poolboys in thongs instead of santa. Its so full of advertising. I am starting to think that the purpose for Pride has actually dissappeared. We are mostly accepted by society (as much as any minority group), we can marry, and have our rights protected by law. Whats there to protest anymore? Choice between a vodka cooler and Mikes hard lemonade?

Maybe its time we took our rights and integrated back into society full of pride for being full citizens finally. On the subject of bathhouses, BURN THEM DOWN!!! I find it ridiculous that they will shut down a message palor offering handjobs yet leave the houses of diseases and germ not only to exist but to achieve brand name status! Yes I am gay, but I have respect for myself and my body.