June 21, 2012
Six Shades of Pride
Pride is a rite of passage for every LBGT person. More than 50% of LGBT people will go to a pride event this summer. Through my gay years I have been to several gay pride events. I try to make it to at least one a year whether it is my local pride or someplace close by. I always feel it's important to show my support to the gay community. So what exactly is a gay pride? Pride is a positive stance against discrimination and violence towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. We use the pride event to promote equality rights, increase our visibility as a group (that's why there's parades usually), build community, and to celebrate sexual diversity. The reason many pride events are held during the month of June (LGBT Pride Month declared by President Obama) is because it's to commemorate the Stonewall riots which occurred at the end of June in 1969. We use the month of June to recognize the impact the gay community has had on the world. Some pride events are held throughout the year. Different countries, states, and cities may celebrate pride during a different month but usually it's around the time where there was a turning point for that areas LGBT history.
So what does Pride mean to the homos? Well it's any excuse to practically be naked running around the streets wearing a flashy tutu, some leather harasses, covered in body paint and glitter! Yeah, we keep it classy. But it essentially is our day. Our day to be loud, proud and rowdy! There's strength in numbers and during a pride event you'll see just that. Any type of homosexual person and the people that support us come out of the woodwork. It can be rather moving especially when gay couples aren't afraid for once to hold hands and kiss in public. Showing simple public displays of affection that the straight community takes for granted. As Kevin would say, "They are so happy looking it makes me sick wahhh!" It's a day of unity and a day of positive energy. The LBGT community has come a long way. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but the progress we have made over the years is a sure sign that one day everything will be different.
But before the dancing fairies (literally) and the "I enjoy a vagina" t-shirt wearing lesbians there was Kevin and I on our way to Philly. We left early Saturday afternoon. Jelissa was excited and told us we should come earlier than we had planned. Extra hours in the city are always appreciated. Kevin and I arrived in the city before 2 o'clock looking impeccably fresh. Well I did, he had a little tank top on while his armpit hair protruded out in all directions. I wanted to take an electronic trimmer and shave it down. At least he was freshly showered and smelled nice. By now we had the walk to Jelissa's apartment down pat and as we approached her door we heard club music blasting. At first we thought it was coming from her neighbor Blake's apartment but as Jelissa opened her door the sound came blaring out. Her apartment was like Studio 69. Jelissa and her boyfriend Bob had been cleaning the place for us. As I walked in I could hear the shower running in the bathroom. Bob was showering with the bathroom door open. You don't shower with the door open when you have two excited dirty mos in the house! I yelled in "Hey boo, let's see the twig and berries." Kevin peeked in as well and said, "Washing that boy taint for us, huh? Gotta keep it clean." "Let's reenact a prison movie! Bob drop the soap!" I screamed in. Sadly he shut the door while he toweled off. I wonder why?
After freshening up a little Kevin said, "I can't wait to spooge on someone this weekend." "What's spooge?" Jelissa asked very seriously. Kevin made a few classy hand gestures and some sounds to indicate. Jelissa laughed and said, "Oh my god! I love that word. It's fun! Bob do you know what spooge is?" Bob looked at her and said, "Jelis every guy knows what spooge is!" For the next two days Jelissa used the word "spooge" as much as she could and 95% of the time she used it the wrong way like; "let's spooge on out of here." She also asked random people if they knew what it was and said it randomly very loud like she was suffering from Tourettes. If we had a t-shirt that said "I love spooge" I'm pretty sure she would have wanted to wear it. I have never met a girl so excited about jizz before, but she is related to Kevin so that must explain it. Having discussed this with other girls I have come (pun intended) to the conclusion that spooge is indeed a guy's word! Let's spooge on shall we?
Our discussion of spooge left us hungry. We headed over to Frankford Hall; they had a block party going on outside with a DJ, some vendors and beer lots of beer. As we approached Frankford Hall's entrance the two large bouncers caught my eyes. I would have enjoyed watching them in gay porn or tag teaming me. Frankford Hall kind of looks like a normal sports bar when you first walk, but then you notice the huge courtyard outback where you can sit, eat and drink, play ping pong, air hockey and other random games. It looked like a college kids dream come true. Kevin looked around and said, "I'm in heaven! Look at all these yummy straight guys! AND BEER!" This was definitely his type of place. We had two gay fun filled days planned why not butch it up a little bit. On one side of the courtyard they had a bar where you get your beer and wine (they don't sell mixers or hard liquor) and on the other side they had a window where you order your food. Their menu was small but consisted of modern German flair mostly different kinds of Bratwursts (are we sure this place is straight?) and amazing sauerkraut that I couldn't get enough of! (Thank god Jelissa had Gas X) The atmosphere was very laid back and it was very crowded. Despite all the people though it had a "chill vibe." Everyone was either stuffing their faces with Bratwurst or knocking back some beer. The staff was very nice, the food was really good and I even enjoyed the beer and we all know I'm not a beer drinker. I would definitely go back there again!
Saturday night brought us to the usual Philly haunts. We bar hopped from Woodys to Tavern on Camac where we ran into Knockers and his crew briefly. Knock was getting ready to leave and he gave me the rest of his Grey Goose on the rocks. (I was already so many drinks in from the beer to the pregaming at Jelissa's, plus the drinks at Woodys before.) There's a telltale sign when I start to become overly intoxicated apparently I start to make demon like noises. Kevin said it's almost as if I'm possessed. All I do is make weird noises and you can't understand me. Jelissa and Kevin waited to see if my head was going to rotate around like something out of the Exorcist. I usually don't remember when this happens. It's like the blackout is just my way of clearing out my browsing history and after some glasses of water (if caught early) I'll be fine. It's like my body reboots itself. Kevin and Jelissa forced two big glasses of water into me and took the Grey Goose away and I went back to normal. We hopped back to Woody's (Jelissa's boyfriend Bob went back to apartment.) where we ran into this guy handing out reduced admission into Voyeur nightclub. I haven't been to Voyeur in years mainly because it's way over priced ($30 admission if you're not a member) and you usually need someone who is a member to buy drinks. It's an afterhour's club usually opened to only 3am when all the other clubs close at 2am. It's not usually worth going at least for me. Our coupons were for half off and the club was going to stay open till 8am. This time it seemed worth it.
Voyeur was very dark. It was actually darker than I had remembered. They do this to hide the unattractive. When the lights go on at the end of the night it's like Night of The Living Dead. Gay men do enjoy a brain in their mouths. There was a black drag queen on the stage dancing and lip-syncing her ass off. She was actually pretty good. She looked fierce and kind of mean, but then again I'm not sure how pleasant I'd be with my balls taped to my ass. Everyone seemed either really wasted or on something. After some really bad watered down vodka and clubs Jelissa, Kevin and I danced our asses off to sober up. There was this one dance room where they were playing 90's club hits. It reminded me of when I used to watch The Grind on MTV and jack off to Eric Nies. He was very hot back then. Jelissa and I went crazy dancing, while the DJ without even saying a word grabbed Kevin and starting making out with him. Kevin pushed him back, looked at him, and then grabbed the guy's suspenders, and made out with him some more until finally Kevin pushed him off and walked away. The guy wasn't even cute and I think Kevin may have realized it and that's why he pushed him off. Better late than never. Our night at Voyeur ended when Jelissa and Kevin were dancing on stage. Kevin jumped off the 3 foot high stage but somehow lost his balance, instead of landing on his feet he landed on his bony ass. Not every fairy has wings.
I awoke in the middle of night or early morning depending how you look at it. The sun had not risen yet but the sky was a light pink. Kevin was passed out next to me all sprawled eagle like with his button down shirt wide open. He was shivering and slightly snoring. They say the reason men snore while on their backs is because their balls fall in front of their assholes and create a sort of vapor lock I believe this to be true. Most men I share a bed with snore while on their backs. As I covered Kevin with a blanket he rolled over and the snoring stopped. Vapor lock open. We all woke up around 10am slightly hungover, slightly excited for the day. I had so much concealer on to hide the dark circles that it looked like Casper sharted on my face. As Kevin got his clothes together, I noticed his underwear and said, "OMG! I brought a t-shirt that would match that exactly!" Of course I made him try it on with his undies and as you can see from the picture below it matches perfectly. It kind of looks like he is wearing a onesie! Jelissa was laughing and saying, "Geez you guys are really best friends! That wasn't even planned!"
We were running a little late and missed the start of the Pride Parade (we needed some fried potatoes and coffee in our lives) but managed to catch up with it. The parade was kind of hard to miss, between the colorful signs, people and club music blasting out on almost every float. This is where glitter and unicorns are born. We sat down on a door step and watched some of the parade. I have to say I was moved a little. Every religion was represented in the parade and they were all there to support us! I am not religious at all (can't even remember the last time I was in church) but I am spiritual. I do believe in some sort of higher power or at least something. As all the religious groups proudly marched on some singing gospel music, I felt warm inside. Well it could have been just the 97 degree sticky humid weather, but I'd like to think it was more than that.
Of course what's a gay pride parade without banana hammock wearing homos dancing with wings on and covered in body paint? This is of course is expected. I have never been to a pride event where there wasn't oiled glittered up tightly toned twinks providing eye candy. I was once one of them back in the day.
As we followed the parade and the barely dressed, I watched the reactions of normal bystanders. The Asians were confused and slightly scared like Godzilla was going to take over and destroy the city. Like a typical stereotype they all had cameras hanging around their necks. The senior citizens home had let the elderly out to watch our spectacle. They all were smiling and happy like they had gas or thoroughly enjoyed their cocktail of medications. Their walkers lined up as if they were about to start their own parade. Jelissa laughed and said, "So yeah one of the few times the seniors actually get out of the building and they have to watch a bunch of naked homos dance in the street. Those poor old people." The normal people on the street didn't seem fazed by the parade it is the city after all. Most just stopped and stared and others were pissed off because it interrupted the traffic flow. Horns beeping and a few "fuck yous" were thrown in among the gay club music.
We followed the parade for blocks, but then headed back to Jelissa's apartment to freshen up and cool down. Mental note: It is never a good idea to wear a jockstrap and white shorts in extreme heat. My ass was so moist I didn't even need any lube. A cock would have slid right in no problem. But despite feeling as if someone spooged in my ass I was more afraid that my shorts would become see-thru and have that unattractive wet look. So while we headed back to the apartment, Bobby Bunny was having his own adventure on the other side of the city. This is what happened to him in his own words:
"Kile and I followed the parade all the way from the Gayborhood down to Penn's Landing where we met up with Julie. As we were walking, we were going slightly faster than the parade floats and so we got to watch the parade backwards. As we were walking past the floats I kept looking up at them and noticed how so many of the floats consisted of scantily clad boys/men throwing glitter covered in body paint. I knew these kinds of floats would be everywhere because that's what you expect to see at Pride events and then I began looking past the boys throwing glitter and actually looking at what the floats were representing. All of the floats were for gay bars and clubs in the Philly area and I wondered what the achievements of some of these establishments were? Maybe they donate money to gay causes? I don't know…all they seem to represent is drinks and almost naked men.
Don't get me wrong I think it's unbelievably great that there is such a wonderful Gayborhood in Philly and that we have a place where we can go and feel like being gay is the majority and "the norm" even if it is only for a few blocks. I just think that we as a community might want to work on a sense of pride for something other than how well we can party, drink and put ripped studs and toned twinks up on a pedestal purely for their bodies. I feel like we have that part covered by now so now let's work on something else. Once we got to Penn's Landing, the three of us went to an adorable little bar right near the entrance to the Pride Festival and sat down for some drinks. We were taken care of by an adorable gay bartender who chatted with us for quite a while and even gave us free drinks of some mysterious concoction that tasted great (I bet all of his concoctions taste great). It was funny though because even he was asking us if we saw if the Woodys float pass by yet. Obviously he wanted to run out there also just for a glimpse of the golden painted living statues thrusting their hips and waiving to the crowd.
It was slightly better once inside Penn's Landing because at least in there they had stands for actual clubs and sports teams which I think is really great. I wish my area had some of those types of groups to be honest, I think a gay soccer team or swim team or even volley ball team could be a pretty fun and a great way to socialize with one another (soberly). Anyway, after a while we were sweating like a blonde on a stuck elevator so we decided to leave Penn's Landing and head back to center city to go to some of bars. We went back to Woody's and Tavern and had a good time at both places (nothing like a glass of wine and the AC kicked all the way up to rejuvenate the gays).
Keeping on the topic of pride, as I was sipping (well let's be honest, slurping) my wine I was thinking about the how there is something else as a community that we can most certainly be proud of. When it comes to causes like gay rights or marriage equality or even anti bullying we rally against the opposing side and fight with a passion for what we think is right. That's something what many groups or demographics of people lack. That strong conviction to achieve what should be a natural and given right just to be treated as equals to our heterosexual counter parts. I am very proud to have a community who can get things done by fighting for what is right and how we can look back and think that what we were fighting for has put us on the right side of history.
My last thought on the topic of pride before heading out of Philly for the day, however, was a frustrating one. Just as I said we rally together against opposing groups who don't want to treat us equally, we are the complete opposite to one another inside our community. We will tear each other in half (and not in the good way) within the confines of our own community. It's so sad to see how unequal we treat one another, if we were all cookie cutter twinks or swim suit models I don't think this would be nearly the problem it is at this present time. There is a visually based food chain within our community and you are only as good as where you fall on that chain.
I wanted to share a brief story that happened to me 2 days ago and one I found to be particularly sad. I just bought my first home and I was talking to this guy for a few weeks on and off through Grindr. So over the weekend he sends me a message commenting on how close he was to my location. So in the spur of the moment I said to him when he was done with whatever he was doing if he wanted to stop over and see my house (since we had been talking for a while) he was welcome to do so, as I was pretty much in for the night. He did take me up on my offer and when he showed up I noticed that he had a very pronounced limp while walking up to my door and his body movements were slightly not as graceful as many people. I let him in and we sat on the couch and talked for about 2 hours or so. During this conversation I actually asked him if he had hurt his leg and he took a deep breath and said that actually he has a brain disease that prevents his legs from responding as fast as a normal person's legs needs to walk correctly. Then further into the conversation he said "you know I was surprised you even let me in after seeing me." I thought he was joking or being dramatic but then I came to find out he has actually had people ask to meet him, he drove to them, and when he was walking up to the door some of the guys literally just CLOSED THE DOOR IN HIS FACE! That is horrible to me and I felt so sad the rest of the night even after he left. We need to accept each other a little bit more and show some compassion for one another. The extreme lack of that in the gay community is definitely not something I can say I am proud of.
I would like to think that maybe someday evolution will take over and help our community lose more of this vapid, superficial mindset so many of us so easily let in to our everyday lives when dealing with each other but only time will tell if that will become a reality. I'm proud of who I am, not just a gay man, but as a person. I think if we all practice having just a little more compassion, empathy and humility and look into someone and not just at them we could greatly improve our community and develop an even greater sense of pride."
Kevin and I headed to the Pride Festival to meet up with Knockers and his crew. Jelissa and Bob stayed behind to pack. That week Bob was heading to Norway and Jelissa was going along. I told them to bring me back a hot hung Viking to pillage my ass. I was only half kidding. Penn's Landing was beyond crowded. Even with the 97 degree heat and blazing sun with little shade it was packed. We walked around a bit looking for Knock, but they couldn't take the heat and set up shop at Mad River bar down the street. As we walked around searching for the exit I noticed Penn's Landing became a maze of vendors, shirtless twinks in short shorts and fanny pack wearing lesbians. The camaraderie in air was refreshing. For once there didn't seem as if there were any judgments or criticism among our own community. As Bobby mentioned we are our worst enemies at time, tearing each other down. The festival didn't feel that way. Speeches were given on stage and people cheered and clapped together. After finally finding the exit (they seriously need to clearly mark that shit!) we needed to hydrate.
Mad River Bar turned gay for us. There was a male dancer gyrating on a pole in the back corner and the place was filled with all types of gay men. Knockers was standing among his friends Bottom 1 and Vinnie. Kevin and Bottom have been chatting through texts ever since their make out encounter on our birthday weekend back in April. They flirted a little and generally seemed happy to see one another. Things changed though when Bottom greeted just about everyone coming through the door. He knew almost everyone at the bar and Kevin couldn't help but feel with a nickname like "Bottom" it was clear he had been around the block a few times (or a dozen). Which is fine, to each their own, but I could tell it wasn't sitting well with Kevin. Knockers, Vinnie, Kevin and I left after having a few drinks and headed to El Vez for dinner, Blood Orange Margaritas and fun conversation.
After dinner we headed to Woodys for more pride celebration liquid refreshments. Knockers was sending naughty pictures of himself through Grindr. Teasing all the boys in a frantic manner and as I glanced at his phone (and grabbed his crotch) and saw the cock pictures I realized two things. 1. He is a down low ho and 2. He is a shower and a grower. We can't all be angels all time. At Woodys I realized something important. This is exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted to be surrounded by friends. Although I had a good time at pride I didn't need an event to tell me how proud I was of who I am as a gay man or where the gay community is heading. I have high hopes for us and will stay as optimistic as I can that someday soon EVERYONE will be treated as equals. Even in my search for love and my romantic side and cynical always at war with one another I still believe he is out there somewhere. This Philly trip not only brought me pride, but hope for the gay community's future and hope for my very own future.
All italic font was written by Bobby Bunny.