A comment on "gay pride", parades, being openly gay to annoy the straight folks around and all that...
I'm a gay man and the Stonewall riots (which really were the event that catalyzed the whole "coming out" and being openly gay movement) occurred just after I graduated from high school, and I see nothing wrong with parades, or being openly, even aggressively openly gay. I lived my adolescence in terror. If anyone found out I was gay, I was sure I'd be beaten up very badly, tossed out of my family and so on. I felt absolutely alone and very much at risk.
I could not talk about my sexuality, had to lie about half of what I felt, had to lie in behavior by trying to appear straight and date even when it was not just uninteresting, but actively abhorrent.
Not at all without reason. I knew no gay people then so would have had nowhere to go for help, and the one time I tried to hint of how I was feeling to someone the response was sufficiently negative that I went to further.
But since then I've seen more, read more, heard more. I know of gay teens who have been beaten by their peers or their parents, tossed out of their families (or who've run away) - usually to end up on the streets, and the like. I know of more who lived in fear as I did - or often worse.
Today, in times that you might call enlightened, suicide in gay teens is estimated to be several times that in straight teens (I know, very hard to get accurate statistics). Gay teens are still chased from their homes or pushed to run away by intolerance in family, school and (especially) church - and, far too often still, end up selling themselves on the streets.
And while it was bad back then and has improved much, it has not improved as much as you might want to believe. Not long ago I ran into a situation where a father told his son that either the son would be straight, or that he'd be dead. Or there was the man who said that he say nothing at all wrong with gay people committing suicide because they were gay. (Imagine how his son, who I happen to know is gay, feels about his father.)
Is it any wonder that when people escape from this that they respond with what some might consider overdoing it?
It used to be "Its OK if you're gay, just why do you have to flaunt it so? "Flaunting it" was often saying, "Sorry, but I'm going with my partner to ..." to someone who had just spent a half hour or so talking about husband and family.
(There are other factors as well, but lacking a book's worth of typing energy, I'll just leave you to imagine them. )
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