Written By: Patrick S. – Personal Opinion
I remember the first time I attended Pride I was in the honeymoon phase and it was like heaven to me. For the first time in my life, I was free to be myself and without judgment. I believed that Pride would connect me to other gay men and I could finally find a group of friends, friends I so desperately wanted. Let’s be honest what young, single man wouldn’t want to attend their first Pride?
But let’s be real about Pride, after a few alcohol-induced traumas, homonormative influences, and a few too many disappointed Pride’s, you have one person who is really done with the entire experience. There was a point that I attended as many as I could, too finally not attending any at all.
Now understand this didn’t happen overnight and to be honest, I can’t identify one particular thing that broke the “camel’s back” – truth be told it was several things over time that honestly took some time to settle in. I’m not trying to separate myself from the community, and I’ve never thought of myself as being better than anyone else because I don’t think defining ourselves by typical stereotypes or societal expectations is the smart thing to do. But there is no mistaking that Pride events have become commercialized and have to some extent lost its true meaning.
Most Pride Festivals have become about the party lifestyle and thrust upon us by businesses looking to cash in on our love of community. Take New Orleans Pride, I remember a time when it was held at Washington Park (on Elysian Fields Ave.). The community could come together and enjoy great food and music, hang with friends and just relax. But now it appears that just having a Pride Parade is what we are forced to endure, or you can go to several overhyped and overpriced events that have no true meaning. Where is the sense of community? The traditions of camaraderie and fellowship?
Another example is alcohol, for example, you can’t walk a block without hearing about drink specials, and for those who don’t drink Pride can be an awful experience. Absolut is a prime example of a company that capitalizes on Pride. Like many liquor companies they want to ensure that your Pride is the best experience of your life, and according to them what better way to celebrate than getting drunk on overpriced and watered down drinks. Pride has become so obsessed with and focused on doing absolutely everything in excess. Since New Orleans Pride has changed its planning format it doesn’t even pretend to reflect on the community as a whole, nor do they address or organize event addressing current issues that affect the LGBT community.
No instead, like most Pride events around the country, everything is corporate sponsored all in an attempt to commodify the rainbow Pride flag. And why? They want to make a quick buck without ever giving back or spreading a message. Nope, it’s all just a surface level “be proud of who you are” message. For example Nike’s “BETRUE 2016” campaign.
Nike created a campaign that sold Pride merchandise without giving back to the community. They never mentioned if any of the profits were going to go back to the community, instead, it appears they just lined their pockets. Nike just used Pride to make money and to drum up business and never committed to helping advance activism, but they’re not the only ones. One of New Orleans Pride’s biggest sponsors is Walgreens, however, when I tried to inquire about what social programs they support directly in the community I was directed to their Walgreens Charitable Donations page.
So where is all this money going? If it’s going back to the community, it’s not being prominently displayed. When all is said and done corporate American has figured out a way to formulate Pride. It’s really easy for them, they just slap on a rainbow on its products, and presto you have a genuine way to show how proud you are as a company, and people will buy it. And New Orleans Pride along with other Pride organizations have done little to nothing on a national level to combat this.
In my opinion, New Orleans Pride is missing out on the opportunity to bring the LGBT community together in a way that is both meaningful and productive, a way to make life better for many in the community. Instead, Pride festivals appear to be white, fit, masculine men, but Pride organizers will swear it’s all-inclusive, embracing all shapes, colors, sizes, but do you really see that? Then why would black LGBT members of the community have to form their own pride in New Orleans?
The main reason I stopped going is that I’m physically and mentally disassociated from Pride; that is often advertised as “Gay Pride.” Which feels incredibly outdated and exclusive to me. The gay community appears to take center stage and the rest of the community are forced to follow behind, almost in the shadows and take whatever scraps they are given from those with perceived power.
Don’t get me wrong this isn’t true for every Pride, but speaking from someone from New Orleans, the gay community always takes center stage. I don’t want this to be a condemnation of all things Pride. I never claimed to be perfect, so the problem could certainly be with me. But I would love to see organizers of these events engage with all members of the community and remember all the sacrifices that others who have made before us so that we could celebrate their achievements.
As long as Pride itself remains the same, or we change our attitudes and perspective about who we are as a community it will remain the same. We will come together for one day and attempt to celebrate Pride, pretend we are one community, and we are all inclusive when in fact by the next day we will be right where we started.
The following article is the opinion of the author and does not reflect the opinion of Squirrel News, it's employee's or advertisers.
Robert Páez in an op-ed by Outsports came out.
Páez is a professional diver for Venezuela, he represented the country at both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. The 23-year old stated: “Growing up in Venezuela, I knew from a very young age that I was different, despite not knowing what exactly that meant,”
He further stated:
I was born gay. As I got older I became more aware of it, and as I grew–like with so many others–it became my great dilemma. It was a source of worry that I was interested in things like dancing and fashion, things that in my culture were for women and gays. I shied away from doing many things. I was at times ashamed to go out into society, to face who I really was.
Páez says he is no longer ashamed of who he is and his sexuality. For many years it was fear that prevented him from coming out. However he feel that he is no longer going to give in to that fear. “Accepting ourselves and respecting ourselves are big first steps. Life is too beautiful to be hidden in a closet.”
“In sharing my story, I hope to help make homosexuality as common of a word as heterosexuality,” he writes. “We have to understand that we are all equal.”
Here are a few Instagram pages and you can read the full op-ed at Outsports.
Halloween is considered one of the best holidays in New Orleans. For the LGBT Community, it’s about sharing its love of showmanship, and culture.
Halloween New Orleans for 35 years has been one of the most successful events in New Orleans. The sole mission of HNO is to raise money for Project Lazarus an organization that provides health care, support services, and housing for those living with HIV/AIDS (both men and women). HNO has raised approximately $4.5 million for Project Lazarus, 100% of all donations go directly to Project Lazarus, and is one of the few donation/volunteer events left in the United States.
HNO weekend is something to experience, after attending last year’s event at the House of Blues I was amazed at the transition. There are few events that impress me, however, I can’t stress how this one truly did. You come to realize that behind the scenes there is a lot of work put into this event. Each year they select a different theme, and according to Dustin Woehrmann, President of the HNO Board “the planning and execution of the Halloween event is planned right down to the smallest detail.” Furthermore “It’s about having fun, but also raising money for Project Lazarus, which is getting harder to do each year. We must reach a younger crowd and that can be difficult.”
But make no mistake HNO works hard to raise what money they can, last year they raised approximately $30,000 for Project Lazarus. For the board, it’s not just about raising money, but a desire to foster a supportive community here in New Orleans. HNO will also host mini-events during the year to keep the group engaged.
Most people know that I’m not a fan of large LGBT parties. It’s been my experience that most turn into another boring circuit party, with stuck up half-dressed men, loud music, overpriced drinks and me wondering what the hell I'm doing here. However, for some reason, the HNO Halloween Party was different for me, maybe because I was there to take pictures, but I was impressed with the creative costumes and the effects were impressive (did I say that already?) either way I look forward to next year’s events.
For more information visit: Halloween New Orleans
TO SEE ADDITIONAL IMAGES VISIT THE ARCHIVED PICTORIAL BLOG
Lost home videos were discovered by Geoff Story, a filmmaker from St. Louis. Telling Nancy Fowler from St. Louis Public Radio he explained that he stumbled upon them 20 years ago at an estate sale of the Buddy Walton.
Walton often referred to as St. Louis' "hairdresser to the stars", including Eleanor Roosevelt and Ethel Merman if they happened to pass through St. Louis, but was also known for having lavish pool parities at his home.
“These men are still in their 20s in the sun, swimming, like they always will,” Story says. “There’s a real sweet pain, and when you watch it, there’s a happiness but you can’t believe it’s so long ago and you can’t touch it–it’s gone.”
Finding the footage inspired the idea for a documentary, which lead Story to set out and find gay men who were alive in the 1940's and talking to them about their experiences and lives. Story's new film Gay Home Movie, which he is currently working on, give us a rare look into an invisible world when LGBT individuals were forced to love and live in the dark. His documentary has already sparked the interest of gay Hollywood exec Brain Graden. “It speaks to a wide array of people on a very deep level,” Graden tells Fowler. “What are the chances someone would go to an estate sale and pick up these canisters of old footage? It’s almost like these men are trying to talk to us from beyond the grave.”
h/t: St. Louis Public Radio
This Past Tuesday the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that all 20 member countries in Central and South America must legalize same-sex marriage (at best confer the legal rights associated with it).
The Court was established in 1979 by the Organization of American States, which are a comprised of several countries in Central and South America. It is the judicial enforcer as outlined in the American Convention on Human Rights, a document that outlines provisions for “personal liberty and social justice based on respect for the essential rights of man.”. Currently the there are 20 countries which include: Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname and Uruguay.
The court reached it decision when Costa Rica asked the court for its opinion on if property rights extended to same-sex couples. Seven Judges from the court said that member nations “must recognize and guarantee all the rights that are derived from a family bond between people of the same sex.” The ruling is legally binding to all member countries, in-affect legalizing same-sax marriage (or rights associated with it).
There was no language on how each country needed to go about legalizing marriage equality - and there doesn't appear to be a deadline for doing so - the court rebuffed evangelical and conservative political forces opposing LGBT rights in Central and South America.
The Court also ruled that Costa Rica must allow transgender people to change legally change their name and gender marker on government-issued identification documents. While this is clearly a monumental win for LGBT rights, several of the countries listed above have policies forbidding members of the LGBT community to donate blood, adopting children, joining the military or having access to housing, employment and public accommodations.
In a recent interview with Gay Star News, professional wrestler Mike Parrow talked about dealing with being gay and living in a "closet". This was his first time speaking openly about his sexuality along with the long journey on accepting himself.
Four years ago the Orlando native would let close friends and family four years ago; but admits that he tired to fight his same-sex feelings by dating women. Something he regrets as he got older it would be hard to have any type of emotional relationship with women and therefore would end it by stating "I just don't think you're pretty." Something he wishes he could take back.
Moving to Orlando in his late 20's he stated that it was "absolutely the worst experience in my life." Believing it would be the perfect time to explore his sexuality. He learned that gay men could be the meanest, cruelest people you've ever met and that you can be masculine-shamed in the gay community in which he added "weird, but it happens." It would drive him to contemplate suicide and even sign up for conversion therapy, in which he describes as an "absolute joke."
Coming out to his family he admits was the hardest thing he every had to do, but understanding if he was going to be true to himself and to be himself he had to. His mother a Sunday school teacher summed it up perfectly " God doesn't make mistakes."
‘I told my dad and he was like, “Yeah?” And I’m like, “Yeah?” And he was like, “Well, you’ve got to give me some credit. I am a detective. I kind of figured that out of all the girls you kept denying that you didn’t like girls, I was just waiting for you to tell me!” Mike Parrow
With regards to his wrestling career it appears that he has not run into much homophobia, and when he does he address it ‘When I personally hear those things I address it. So, I will go up to them and say, “If you have a problem, we can discuss this.” he stated.
It appears that more professional athletes come out as gay and breaking down stereotypes and barriers. It shows the progress of the LGBT community. However, even we have to admit we have a long way to go to accepting people who they are and the choices they make in their lives.
What are your thoughts?
Since 2013 at least 102 transgender people have been the victim of fatal violence in the United States alone according to a new report by The Human Rights Campaign in conjunction with the Trans People of Color Coalition.
Released last week, the report says that of the recorded findings at least 25 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2017, which makes it the deadliest year for transgender people in a decade. Fatal violence against transgender people is on the rise with highest rates toward trans women in the Black and African American communities.
The highest number of transgender deaths were reported in California and Louisiana, at 10 each, followed by Texas at 9 deaths, and Ohio at 8.
The report states that the increase in violence is: “fueled by anti-LGBTQ prejudice, racism, too-easy access to guns, and increasing political attacks on the transgender community at both the state and federal level,” with half of LGBTQ youth saying in a post-2016 election youth survey conducted by The Human Rights Campaign, that they have taken steps to hide who they are since the election.
In the past 12 months, 325 trans and gender-diverse people were reported murdered globally, according to website Transgender Europe, with a total of 2609 trans and gender-diverse people reported killed in 71 countries between January 2008 and September 2017.
We attempted to contact the NOPD liaison regarding the two unsolved murders of transgender women, we were directed to their website.
Author: Troy Murphy. November 21, 2017. DNA Magazine
Image purchased from istock.com and for commercial use only.
If you're going to mess around with the LGBT community, make sure you know what you're getting onto. Recently a New Zealand man was harassed and punched by a group of homophobic men in Sydney, Australia. The New Zealand Herald reported that Ivan Flinn, 34 from Surry Hills was punched and sustained a dislocated jaw. The attached happened after midnight on Oxford Street. Then reports state that three local drags queens came to Mr. Finn's defense, even chasing one into the middle of traffic.
So lesson learned at least for a few men in Australia. There has always been this misconception about drag queens. That for some reason they can't protect themselves; as most have learned it necessary. Drag queens in the LGBT community have always stood up for not only themselves but other in the community. Mr. Flinn said it best "Drag queens are the strongest people in the LGBTI community. They stand there and say this is who I am and I'm proud."
You can read the entire story here: Drag queens save New Zealand man in homophobic attack
you want to pick on little guys, you'll need to fight the big freak. I'm a man underneath all of this, so let's go. Ivy stated
Image is the property of Ivan Flinn and cannot be copied and/or reproduced without written permission.
This morning the LGBT and New Orleans community came together at Audubon Park to participate in Out of the Darkness Walk with Pride. This event was hosted by New Orleans Pride and their goal is to bring awareness to young adults and the community about anti-bullying and suicide prevention. Ms. Boudreaux, President of Pride stated: "this event is to promote the I'm Bigger program, to let those in the community know that if they feel threatened, need a friend, or just want to be a part of the community Pride is here to assist them". It is a fact that suicide is quickly becoming the leading cause of death of youths 14 - 24, and soon to replace cancer as the leading cause of death in the United States.
Bullying is a systemic problem within our culture. It is everyone responsibility to reach out to those in need and just be a friend. I remember junior high as being one of the most difficult times of my life. The name calling, taunting from peers was relentless, and yes there was a time I wanted to just end everything. However, I was lucky to have a family friend who helped me get through those dark three years. As I look back, I am surprised that I survived (and it is survival) and could pull myself through those years.
When we as a community come together and stand for a positive purpose it does make a difference and showing a strong front sends a message to young children and adults as well. If we allow this behavior to continue we condone the behavior and teach them that it's acceptable, lets teach them a better way!
For more information on bullying visit the I'm Bigger Louisiana page. Become involved, become aware, and become proactive.
New Orleans Pride should be commended for this innovative program, their desire to reach out to the community, and their continued commitment to the LGBT community in New Orleans.
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