Stories about Faith & Sexuality

Jul 1st, 2013

Pride and My Dull, Gay Lifestyle – Huffington Post

A year ago I told my pastor I wouldn’t march in Pride because it just wasn’t me. I really meant this: I wanted my life as a gay man to serve as a testament of normalcy; I wanted to avoid Pride as a sort of silent protest against the spectacle that (I perceived) contradicted my traditional values.

I was wrong, not just for my perception of the festivities but for designating anything as “normal.” So I’m not into leather, furries, piercings, or even thongs; I don’t fraternize exclusively with gay men; and I do visualize a future home with kids, a pug, and a husband, with all of the carpooling, coupon-cutting, Saturday-morning-pancake-baking responsibilities that life entails. I’m still not normal, because no one truly is, and moreover I wouldn’t be any more palatable to people like Mike Huckabee if I wore an apron and drove my family to church every week.

In the last year my beliefs have changed. I don’t believe progress will come through conformity. I believe when confronting evil, the best we can do sometimes is pursue authenticity to ourselves and grace toward others. I’m an introvert, I shy away from exhibitionsim, and I haven’t liked parades in decades. I expected to hate Pride, even once I stopped judging it, but in the last year I’ve grown more confident in myself, which I discovered is really what Pride entails: being free as individuals, celebrating our individuality.

Of course, it means something different to a lot of people, but for what it’s worth, here’s a piece of my experience, written for the Huffington Post—and given the worst title I’ve written in years. (It was 1am. I was trying hopelessly to be literal.)

 

Somehow, “what do you like to do?” is an acceptable question for strangers to ask each other. I’m not combative, and rarely defensive, but I only ever hear it as a challenge. Prove to me you’re interesting. I can’t. Really, I can’t. Despite years of practice, I’ve yet to describe my life once without sounding like the dullest gay guy in the world.

I go to church. I read in cafés. I watch documentaries with my boyfriend. I don’t drink, so I survive parties by coaxing conversations out of strangers about their ambitions, divorces and the novels that inspired them as teenagers. Sure, I throw a folk concert or queer dance party in there every now and then, but nine nights out of 10 you’ll find me with a novel or a friend in deep conversation.

I think “lifestyle” is a ridiculous term, but technically everything I just described is mine. Technically too, it’s my gay lifestyle, something my family discusses when they talk about the ex-gay ministry they attend every week in Texas.

Read the rest here.

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Posted By David Michael   |   1 Comment

One Response

  1. Jai says:

    David,
    In the past we have had conversations in which we agreed on many aspects of Pride. While I find solidarity in your new beliefs about Pride, my own feelings led me down a road of contemplation and discovery. I feel by reading your blog, I was forced to ask–if I agree with David’s definition of “normality” or the lack of its existence, and that conformity will not result in progress, and if Pride has no direct impact to me and my choice to hold firm on my convictions for traditional values– what is it that bothers me about the wildly flamboyant demonstrations of Pride?

    Sadly, I have to admit it is my perception at the typical males I witness at Pride representing our community. I presumed my issues lie within my view that a majority of gay share a certain feminine quality– which I observe as weak. To clarify on a few things, I do not view women as weak. To the contrary, I have an immense amount of respect for the women in my life and am blessed to know a great deal of exceptional women. Also, to be candid, I share some of the “feminine qualities” with them. I enjoy shopping, dancing, romantic comedies, ohh and that Project Runway show (so good!!).

    So, where does my dilemma with Pride stem from? Is it simply that I have hostility for being misrepresented by “girly” gay boys, who love make up and heels? Well that is part of it; I would like to equate my distaste for femininity on being ex military, my family’s opinion or gender roles in my culture. However, truthfully it lies with some of my own unresolved conflicts with my self loathing surrounding my sexual orientation and an ongoing mêlée to come to grips with it all.

    Perhaps in an attempt to validate my cruel view of Pride (or unwillingness to let it go just yet), I will also point out the irony in the idea to look unique which is held by many participants of Pride. Their feeble notion of fighting off conformity to be different has lead them to conform to each other. By trying so hard to look and be different without knowing how to do that, they have only achieved looking and acting the same as others in their subculture. That to me is where the true weakness creeps; unfortunately many gays lack the tools to define an individual identity for themselves. I have hope that as we continue to grow and the culture around us matures, so will Pride and want it means to be a gay male.
    ~J

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