If You Want to Survive, Then You'll Celebrate Pride!

Another June. Another reason to celebrate LGBTQ Pride. Last year, I wrote: "It is that time of year again: June, when we celebrate gay pride. It is also that time of year when the gay media ask the stupid, meaningless question: Do we still need gay pride? Yes, we need it now more than ever, so stop asking." I am happy to report that I have not seen that stupid question... yet. Hopefully, this means that the gay media and LGBTQ community know and understand the importance of LGBTQ Pride as an annual celebration. Let me put it this way: If you LGBTQ folks don't celebrate Pride, then you better worry for your lives and survival. How's that for a slap of reality?

This year, I celebrate Pride with this new poem:

A Meditation on Vulnerability, Life, and Survival: A Prose Poem

"Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made." --Immanual Kant

Have you ever slept in the swamp of suicide, ever played in the pit of pain, ever danced in the dungeon of despair, and were you ever condemned to the cave of cruelty? If you said yes, then maybe you can understand. Relate? No, probably not. But at least understand. If you said no, then there is nothing that I can say that will make you comprehend and care. How do I make you understand that LGBTQ lives matter? That we matter? That we are human? That we exist? (Throughout history, before and after labels, there was always an impulse toward making fire; woman to woman, man to man, one being to another. We risked everything. --Gerard Wozek.) How do I make you understand that when you silence and ignore us, what you are really doing is hating and harming us? Deviants deviate from the status quo and there is nothing good about the status quo. How can I make you understand the power and cruelty in your indifference and apathy towards us? (I belong to a culture that includes Proust, Tchaikovsky, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Marlowe, Whitman, Melville, Williams, Auden, and Baldwin. These are not invisible men. Why don't they teach any of this in the schools? --Larry Kramer.) How can I make you understand that your heterosexism is suffocating us and stripping us of our self-worth and dignity? How can I make you understand that your heteronormativity is not normal at all? There is nothing normal about oppression, abuse, and marginalization. There is no such thing as normal. How can I make you understand that you are killing us, whether through a virus, a plague, a homicide, or a suicide? How can I make you understand that your homophobia is murder? (So, if I am dying from anything, I'm dying from homophobia. We are being allowed to die. --Vito Russo.) I would be vulnerable with you if I knew that you would not harm me. But I cannot trust you, so until then I stand guard and wait for you to attack.