Gay Pride Month Is Here. Go Be Fabulous!

It’s the month of Rainbows, Glitter and Fabulousness. Across the globe people are celebrating Gay Liberation. I think it’s wonderful, and I’m happy to have lived long enough to see America have gay marriage, and that progress is being made around the world in equality and respect for gay men and women. It wasn’t always like this, and it still isn’t in many parts of the world.

For most of American history gay life was “the love that dared not speak its name”. Gay men and women have always existed, the question of how, how openly, and with what level of hiding is what has changed the most in the past 50 years.

Historically gay life has been in the shadows. There’s a long and storied culture of subterfuge and cues that have been used for gays to find each other. That mythical “gaydar” has really been code words, fashion items and glances that were caught by those alert enough, and interested enough, to spark a conversation.

In the 50’s the code words in the entertainment industry was  ‘musical’ – “Is he musical?” was asking if he was a homosexual. This was a time when American life was still looking to be perfect and uniformity and conformity were considered great values, even as the country was fighting the scourge of the ‘red commies’ who were out to destroy us. We had the image of heterosexual male perfection in Rock Hudson, the heartthrob of Montgomery Clift, but they were in the studio closet because it would be box 0ffice poison if it was known that they were a “little light in the loafers” as we used to be called.  Then of course there was that performer that everyone knew was gay but people would only make snide jokes about – Liberace.

Times have certainly changed with Neil Patrick Harris and his husband and children making magazine covers. No one really thinks twice about having our news delivered to us by Anderson Cooper or Don Lemon. Which is brilliant and wonderful for the young kids today who still face taunting and teasing in school. Teen suicides are at an all time high, and of those, gay teens make up a sizable portion because in some parts of America it’s still not okay to be. Which is why it matters today that we still have Gay Pride.

We’re twenty years out from the murder of Matthew Shepard. That young man who was but a wisp of a boy that was strung up on a cattle fence and left to die by two homophobic (read probably self-hating gays themselves!) young men who destroyed not only the life of Matthew, but their own lives as well. Shepard was a thin, lithe man whose face still haunts me when I see his picture. He was no threat to anyone. His sexuality was seen as a threat to two men’s masculinity, their internalized homophobia lead them to do horrendous things to a gentle soul.

It still matters today. Young people are still killed by their peers hate and hate speech. Teens are thrown out of their homes because their parents can’t accept that their offspring are homosexual. Teens live on the street and become bait for human traffickers. They fall into drug addiction, prostitution and homelessness for no reason other than they love someone of the same gender.

We need to keep the voices loud and proud to help today’s youth, see tomorrow’s promise. It’s easy to think that the work is all done. That the progress is made and there’s nothing more to do. But like so many things in life, if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward, we need to stay in the game. We need to keep up the pressure on the bigots and the homophobes, whether they are on the playground, or in the White House.

History tells us that if we are not vigilant about our rights, our equality, and protecting our freedoms, they are too easily infringed upon.

So this Gay Pride Month, go have some fun, be fabulous, wear outrageous clothes, put on some glitter, dance in the street like you’re not aware of anyone else, and have some memories made.

Oh, and if you want to take a gay lawyer to lunch or dinner, I’m available.

David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.  He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra

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