Gay Pride. What image did that short phrase conjure up in your minds? Did it make you think of a long parade of well dressed citizens marching in solidarity for civil rights? If you are an average American the answer is, unfortunately, probably not. More likely you first thought of a bawdy display tramping down the street with large stylized genitalia, and folks dressed in costumes normally worn in private, which leave less to the imagination than a trip to the beach. Sadly, when it comes to pride parades and demonstrations, LGBT groups have opted not to show maturity, restraint, or an understanding of what sorts of behaviors are appropriate in public, and instead have turned these events into something that would earn participants an arrest and permanent status as a registered sex offender if it weren’t for the city permit.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. It is never appropriate to dress up as a giant penis and parade down main street. City streets are public places, and as such need to be kept child friendly. Most parents want to manage the way their children are exposed to sexual content, and groups strutting down city streets in barely enough leather to cover their unmentionables are taking this right away. Take this sort of behavior and try it on a normal day and you’ll be slapped with charges for lewd and lascivious conduct, and with good reason. There is no legitimate excuse for acting this way in a public setting. None whatsoever.

Normal folks see this sort of “pride” on display and form the logical opinion that the people participating in these events don’t have the slightest clue about appropriate behavior, and might be more than a little deranged. Given that this is (hopefully) not the message the LGBT community wants to send, it is time to put a stop to Gay Pride, or at least reform it. I have a few suggestions towards this end:

  • Lose the sexual imagery. In Gay Marriage debates the LGBT community is very vocal about how gay relationships are about love, and not lust. If so, why the need for the giant walking penises, and the troops in bondage gear? This sends the message that the LGBT lifestyle actually is just about lust. You can’t have it both ways. Furthermore you don’t see normal people behaving like this in public, we keep our private behavior in the bedroom. Even those of us who support the gay lifestyle would prefer that you keep your sex life to yourself, the rest of us don’t subject you to ours.
  • Project a positive image of homosexuals. Most of the folks I know who are gay are normal people, with normal morals, and normal lives. This is the side of gay people you want to introduce America to. Americans who oppose homosexual lifestyles largely do so because they’re afraid gay people are deranged sex offenders out to expose their children to inappropriate content. Gay Pride simply serves to reinforce this belief with solid proof.
  • Make use of abstract symbols. From the rainbow flag, to the pink triangle, to the linked gender symbols, homosexuals have a large numbers of easily identifiable symbols to rally around and project as part of their public image. Make floats that focus on these symbols (like Jewish communities focus on the Star of David and Menorah), not explicit sexual imagery and behavior. Abstract symbols are appropriate for public places, giant dildos aren’t.

In the end, I think you’ll find you win more friends with appropriate behavior and conduct than you do by being obscene and offensive.

-Angry Midwesterner

Liberal, progressive, and welcoming they may be, but apparently even Seattle has its limits.

As is usually the case, there are competing sides. The mean-spirited public authorities maintain that:

[T]heir seating staff had acted appropriately, and the couple was approached because of their behavior – which included „making out“ and „groping“ in the stands – and not their sexual orientation. „We have a strict nondiscrimination policy at the Seattle Mariners and at Safeco Field, and when we do enforce the code of conduct it is based on behavior, not on the identity of those involved,“ Mariners spokeswoman Rebecca Hale said earlier this week. In the release, the Mariners said the women were told they could continue to kiss, but that they had to „tone it down.“

„The women refused to modify their behavior, began swearing at the seating hosts and complained that they were being singled out for their sexual orientation,“ the club said.

The code of conduct – announced before each game – specifically mentions public displays of affection that are „not appropriate in a public, family setting.“ Hale said those standards are based on what a „reasonable person“ would find inappropriate.

Meanwhile the ball-crossed lovers aver:

Guerrero denied she and her date were groping each other, saying that along with eating garlic fries, they were giving each other brief kisses.

The usher, Guerrero said, told them he had received a complaint from a woman nearby who said that there were kids in the crowd of nearly 36,000 and that parents would have to explain why two women were kissing.

So who’s right? Is this just another case of jack-booted establishment thugs coming down on the Sapphic Sisterhood? Or is it another case of people showing no concern for others while whining that we all avert our eyes from their grossly inappropriate public behavior?

Or is it something else: a simple failure to communicate. Perhaps this is one of those stories where both sides are “right” in that both are telling the truth from their perspective. What seem like “innocent kisses” to the involved parties might well seem like “making out” to some watching. Which is why we should err on the side of restraint in public displays of affection—especially at “family events” like ball games.

The same may be true about the couple’s response: they saw themselves politely disagreeing with the stadium official, and he saw them as belligerent and uncooperative.

In other words, perhaps this is just another situation where officials need to be polite and sympathetic but firm, citizens need to be willing to overlook minor momentary infringements of their rights, and—most of all—both sides need to get over themselves.

As for what should be appropriate in public, let me throw this out for debate and discussion:

Public behavior should be PG, PG-13 at the worst. And if you’re around lots of young children (near an elementary school trip, etc.) I would say that G should really be the idea. Generally, however, PG. So a brief kiss or hug, or hand-holding is fine, but heavy petting is really right out…

The point is that people do have a right not to be offended needlessly in public places. That right’s not absolute, and it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to trump basic human rights, but it does trump unnecessary voluntary behavior. If you want to engage in risque behavior, go to a venue set aside for that: there are many.

(Hah, now that should start a discussion!)