Another June, another momentous Supreme Court decision, another giant pink triangle on Twin Peaks — it’s Pride, baby. The Gayest City in the Galaxy loves to celebrate even when the temperature might not exceed 58 degrees, and it’s going to be a time.
In that vein, if I may take a moment to speak on behalf of the entire LGBT community — always a risky proposition — thank you, straight allies. We couldn’t have come nearly this far without you. With that said, Pride is always going to be a day for nonstraight people to flaunt what they’ve got. So here are some ways of being the best heterosexual Pride celebrant you can possibly be.
1. Don’t do anything awful.
This one sounds as obvious as the sixth commandment’s prohibition against murdering people. But last year, some jerkfaces assaulted several Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at Pink Saturday and ruined everything. Please, don’t get shooty, stabby or punchy. If you must get violent, bring a lifesize cardboard Ann Coulter cutout and invite people to kick her around. You’ll make friends.
2. Don’t lose every last shred of inhibition.
Pride is a big, fun party, and it could probably benefit from being even more like Mardi Gras. But don’t get so drunk that you’re throwing up behind Bill Graham. In the shadow of oppression and HIV/AIDS, there is and always will be a solemn, mournful aspect to Pride, so keep that in mind.
3. If you run into someone you didn’t know was gay/trans/occasional gender performer, don’t pretend you didn’t see them.
Even in 2015 San Francisco, not everybody’s out. And even if they’re open, they might just be expressing themselves in ways they wouldn’t think of when you knew them from your last office job. Still, it takes two to make it awkward, so always err on the side of saying hi to Bob from Accounting when he’s got boobs now. You will only validate his courage.
4. Don’t indiscriminately tweet “Free Street Party!!!”
Pink Saturday was arguably loved to death, and feelings are still raw. Be judicious about mass texts and social media if it feels like a party is swelling out of control and slipping away from the community that started it.
5. Go to Frameline.
Even if you’ve been best friends with a lesbian since kindergarten, there’s still plenty to learn. (Most LGBT people have plenty to learn about LGBT culture, in fact.) The Frameline Film Festival is the greatest entry point for gaining greater wisdom about the enormous diversity of LGBT people worldwide, and it’s always fun.
6. Don’t presume all gay men just love to be touched, Instagrammed and screamed at.
Just because someone got up before dawn to look like an exotic species of bird doesn’t mean they’re communal property. Drag queens love attention, and two people smooching might be making a political statement, but it never hurts to ask to take their picture. And honey, you’re going to get polyps on your vocal cords if you shout “Woo!” for five straight hours.
7. Brush up on some terminology.
It’s OK to come call someone “queer” or a “dyke” in a positive context, or if that’s what they call themselves. But it’s less OK to throw the word “tranny” around. (Many gay men need this lesson reinforced too.) Got pronoun confusion? Just ask — and remember, it’s “transgender,” not “transgendered.”
8. Have a great time!
The boundary between spectator and participant
is a porous one, so throw yourself in. Wear bright colors. Smile at ugly naked people. Graciously accept fliers for parties you’d never, ever go to. Hug and be hugged. LGBT rights are human rights, and not just in the hollowliberalpiety way. They’ve been good for everybody. Ever noticed that straight men can express affection more now that they don’t have to worry so much about people calling them “homos”? Or that nongender-specific bathrooms are proliferating? We did these things together, and now it’s time to party. Happy Pride, everybody!
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