Points By Drew Pritt


HAPPY PRIDE 2008!!!!
June 29, 2008, 1:45 am
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As I sat and had coffee with my friend Thompson this week as is our custom, I bemoaned the lack of knowledge, or understanding the GLBT Community about what PRIDE means, what PRIDE Week means, and why we do it. Thompson, who is heterosexual, asked me questions and it occurred to me that I have this venue to impart wisdom to those who wish to read and understand.

The first gay pride parade in 1969, known as the March on Stonewall, started as a protest against discrimination and violence against gays in New York City. Prior to that, most bars were owned by the mob, and to admit one was Gay or Lesbian meant a sure ticket to go have shock therapy or to be prosecuted in the court system. After the police raided the Stonewall Bar in New York City, the weekend Judy Garland died, and a young man was killed, the “Drag Queens” lead a riot, civil disobiedience, to demand equality, protection, and most of all a society free of Gestapo-like raids.

In 1973, the American Association of Psychiatric Medicine removed homosexuality and lesbianism from a list of recognized mental perversions. Homosexuality also was decriminalized. In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (after two previous bids in 1973 and 1975.) Then Milk was assasinated along with San Francisco Mayor George Moscone (D) in 1978. The same year, the gay pride flag was designed by Gilbert Baker and debuted at the 1978 San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. Also, Did you know that each color on the gay pride flag has a different meaning? Each color on the gay pride flag (also known as the rainbow flag) has a different meaning. 

Red = Life
Orange = Healing
Yellow = Sun
Green = Nature
Blue = Harmony
Violet = Faith

In addition, for us in the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) Community, the Rainbow Flag reminds us that ours is a diverse community – composed of people with a variety of individual tastes of which we should all be proud.

The pink triangle, now a gay pride and gay rights symbol, was originally used to denote homosexual men as a Nazi concentration camp badge.

Some people ask me about the Pink Triangle. This was one of the Nazi concentration camp badges, used by the Nazis to identify male prisoners in concentration camps who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Prior to WWII, pink was historically a male colour as an offshoot of red, and pink was chosen not because it meant the wearer was feminine, but because they liked other men. Every prisoner had to wear a triangle on his or her jacket, the color of which was to categorize him or her according “to his kind.” Between 1933 to 1944 most estimates are that 50,000 and 63,000 men were sent to their deaths for being gay.

 

What is a Drag Queen?

Okay, if one likes to wear women’s clothing and are male, they are a transvestite. If they believe they are the opposite gender trapped in a different gender’s body, you are a transexual.

Drag Queens….or more appropriately, the artform of Female Illusion, is an artform that goes back to Sir William Shakespere’s Globe Theater when women were not allowed on the stage. Norman Jones, who is known on stage as Norma Kristie was crowned the first Miss Gay America in 1972. Norma helped to promote the pageant until 1975 when he purchased the rights to the contest from the original owner. Incorporating in business as Norma Kristie, Inc, Norman Jones proudly promoted the Official Miss Gay America Pageant and its network of preliminary pageants across the nation. Norman Jones (Norma Kristie) has firmly established the pageant’s reputation as the most prestigious contest in the world for competitive female impersonation. In February 2005, the Miss Gay America pageantry system was purchased by Larry Tyger and Terry Eason of L & T Entertainment.

There are many systems of competition but the four main ones are the Miss Gay America, Miss Gay US of A, FFI (For Female Impersonators), and the Miss Drag All-Star System.

But the “Queens” are famous because they were the leaders of the Stonewall riots. Many drag queens prefer to be referred to as “she” while in drag and desire to stay completely in character. Some performers may be offended if they are referred to as “he” or by their legal name while in character. Drag performer RuPaul is one of the few exceptions to this rule, as he seems to be completely ambivalent to which pronoun is used to refer to him. In his words, “You can call me he. You can call me she. You can call me Regis and Kathie Lee; I don’t care.” But there have been many who have seen this community, unique as it is, and the best example is La Cage Aux Folles, aka The Birdcage, popularized by Nathan Lane & Robin Williams.

In closing, PRIDE is about being who you are and who God created you to be. If you believe in God, as I do, you believe him to be infallible and therefore doesn’t make mistakes. I was not sexually molested as a child. I am not a person who is an outcast. I have a loving mother & father, grandfather, aunt, and a brother with a wife and two girls who love their Uncle Drew. I am in college, work, pay my taxes, and just live a full life. My life before I came out, when I lived a lie, was horrible. I drank, was contentious, and just overall not happy. Once I came out, there came balance and peace to my life. Its hard for me to hear those who are not gay try to tell me what I feel, what I think, and what I know not to be true. Until we have a society who sees people by their names, their character, and their talents, not some label forced upon them like the Nazis did the pink triangles, and yellow Star of Davids, we will have PRIDE Celebrations worldwide.

So to my family and my readers, stay safe, be who God made you to be, and never let anyone take away your dignity! Happy Pride 2008!!!

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