Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Gay Pride Fest in Newark
This is an extremely long post, almost 7,000 words with 44 illustrations, that many nongay people may not be particularly interested in, and some gay people of conventional mind may be astonished, even angered, by. Further caution: this post is intended only for adults and mature teens. I thought of creating two versions of this post, one for this blog, the other (longer and more political) for my gay and political blogs, but decided to let everyone see the same post. People who are not interested in the narrative can simply look at the pictures. There is some minor repetition of points I have made elsewhere in my Newark blog, in part for people who have not seen my Newark blog before, and in part for the information of people who read my gay and political blogs but who hadn't seen these points before.
This and the next graffic were provided as publicity by the Newark Pride Committee. I don't imagine they'd object to my giving them more publicity, given that their website and email address appear in both illustrations, but if they do, they need merely ask me to remove one or both of these graffics and I will of course do so.
I mentioned on Sunday, July 21st, that I attended the Newark [Gay] Pride Festival that day in Washington Park, but took too many pictures to be able to do a blogpost immediately thereafter. I then reviewed all my pictures and considered what I wanted to say about the event, much of which people who are not gay might find uncomfortable. So I decided to put those points into my gay blog only, and focus here mainly on the fotos. The simplest way to organize the fotos for this blog would have been simply to show them in the order in which I took them, but after much effort, I did (or thought I did) make some logical connection between the narrative for my gay blog and particular fotos, so I'm going to stick with that order.
I had other topics that were easier for me to address, so tended to them first, but have finally completed this post. I regard the long-delayed appearance of this post as "better late than never". That delay in fact proved salutary, in that, since I first drafted it, a judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled on October 18th that the State of New Jersey must start granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Gov. Humungo that same day announced, astonishingly, that he would appeal that decision to the NJ Supreme Court! And he remained ahead in the polls for the November 5th election in a state that favors gay marriage by 2/3 of the electorate, so bad a choice did the political system make in selecting the electoral nothing, Barbara Buono, to oppose Christie. The System no longer works, at all. The Fat Beast of Drumthwacket later relented, when it became obvious (a) that the public would react with great hostility to his continuing to beat that dead horse and (b) that the State Supreme Court was almost certain to affirm the decision of the lower-court judge. And in fact, the first gay marriages took place three days later, on October 21st.
In any case, people in the Newark, NJ area who see this discussion well before next year's Newark Pride Festival and like what they see, can make mental note to attend next year. That includes straight people, who are rarely or never made to feel unwelcome at Gay Pride events. In the words of an old Dean Martin / Jim Reeves / Elvis Presley song, "Welcome to my world. Won't you come on in?"
As you can see from the biograffical squib about me at the upper right of this blog's template, I am the (NJ-born-and-raised) man who, as a sophomore at City College of the City University of New York in 1970, offered the term "Gay Pride" as it is now used. (I moved to NYC from Middletown Township (in Monmouth County) in June 1965 between high school and college, and did not return to NJ until June 2000, this time to Newark.) This is my one claim to significant fame, tho some people have been extremely, disgustingly grudging in giving me credit for this contribution to planet Earth, almost all of which has now heard my phrase, "Gay Pride", and reacted to it.
Wide view of vendors' and information tables at this year's Newark Pride Festival.
I have said that the term "Gay Pride" wasn't a big deal at the time, just a label by which to unify the coordinated events of the New York City host organizations that were intended to draw in people from outside NYC to the first annual march commemorating the Stonewall Riots. The original thought, from "the other Craig", Craig Rodwell, was that we would call the unified hospitality event "Gay Power Weekend" — tho it could as easily have been called "Stonewall Celebration Weekend", "Gay Rebellion Weekend", or any number of other things. (Actually, in 1970, I was, and then just-barely, "the other Craig". The much better known Craig was Craig Rodwell, proprietor of the Oscar Wilde Bookstore in Greenwich Village. He was a friend, whom I met thru actions for the Mattachine Society, a gay organization for which Craig Rodwell also volunteered. Alas, he died relatively young. I don't remember from what cause, but it was before the AIDS "epidemic" (which was never an epidemic at all, because AIDS is not transmissible, something that everyone needs to know but which has been obscured by malicious lies by antigay people in power and stupid credulity on the part of people who trusted the militantly antihomosexual U.S. Government to tell them the truth about this "gay plague" — a term which is yet another example of the lies we have been subjected to for decades.)
I didn't like the idea of headlining the weekend "Gay Power", and knew that on most of planet Earth, gay people had NO power and no prospect of GAINING power anytime soon, so if we wanted this to be not just a New York City or U.S. event, we should adopt a term more like universal, that gay people everywhere on Earth who heard of our activities might identify with. There was also an in-your-face quality to "Gay Power Weekend" that I didn't like. I wanted not confrontation, which would be outward-directed and negative, but self-confidence and self-esteem, inward-directed and positive; personally celebratory, not politically militant.
Most of the food vendors during the Festival were on Washington Street, outside the park. Here is "Big Rod's Mobile Café", an interesting name, esp. for this event.
What we could have, however, and which would make a huge difference in our lives, was pride in being who and what we are. Power might arise from such pride, but even if it didn't, gay pride could make an enormous, positive difference, both as to how we regarded ourselves and as to how we treated each other.
The one food vendor within the park that I noticed was Hell's Kitchen Lounge, which is not associated in the general public's mind with gay issues. Indeed, Hell's Kitchen hosts Brick City Burlesque. a heterosexual show. It's good to see some straight businesses, from HKL to the food vendors alongside the Newark Pride Festival, being willing to seek out gay customers, and not be concerned that they might be "tainted" by association with gay or lesbian customers.
My alternate suggestion of "Gay Pride Weekend" was immediately seconded (by Jerry Hoose of the Gay Liberation Front) and then, without so much as one word of discussion, approved by the organizing committee for that first demonstration, the Christopher Street Liberation Day (Umbrella) Committee. "Gay Pride Weekend" it was.
I think we named the weekend in Craig Rodwell's Bleecker Street apartment in Greenwich Village. From there, the phrase "Gay Pride", with all its power, went out across the world, affecting not just gay men's own attitudes but also (almost as important) the larger society's attitudes. If gay people were proud of themselves, that is, respected themselves, maybe they deserved respect from others.
Here we are, 43 years later, and much has changed, in large part, I suggest, because the phrase "Gay Pride" affected people's thinking. I am pleased to be the man who put that phrase forward, so it could reach the general public and affect general perceptions. The power that the phrase "Gay Pride" has had is not my doing but only my understanding when I suggested it, of what it might in time come to mean.
These posters speak to other events at Hell's Kitchen Lounge than Brick City Burlesque. I lived for 25 years (on 46th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues), in the Manhattan neighborhood that "Hell's Kitchen" is more commonly associated with than a Newark restaurant. I liked it well enuf, except for things like [heterosexual-]prostitute activity nite and day. I might still live there had gentrification not forced me out. Thank you, gentrification. Living in my own house in beautiful, splendiferously green Vailsburg (far-western Newark) is so much better than living in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, that I have to be glad I was forced to move, even tho getting here entailed substantial injustice and expense to me. Worthwhile change may entail some pain. Letting go of past injustice might be better than dragging that injustice into the present and even years into the future, in protracted litigation. At least that's the choice I made, when I simply put everything behind me, to move unencumbered into my new home in a new city.
The one other Gay Pride event I have attended in Newark was in June 2010. On that occasion, I took fotos of the march that preceded the Washington Park fair, as well as the festivities in the park. I didn't get up in time this year to capture the march ("parade") before the things I show today. My 30 years of evening- and graveyard-shift work linger on in keeping me up late and preventing me, generally, from getting up and out of the house early. Maybe next year I can rouse myself in time, and march along with other participants, as I did in 2010.
People younger than about 65 would not see anything interesting in this foto. But for those of us who date back to the time when police were The Enemy that entrapped men in gay places; raided bars and sent customers into the street if they did not arrest them; and even, from time to time, beat individual gay men to death in incidents of police brutality, this picture of police assigned to protect gay people is little short of astonishing. Mind you, the Essex County Sheriff's Department still, last I knew, entrapped gay men in, among other places, the South Mountain Reservation. And one gay man was MURDERED by an Essex County cop in Branch Brook Park on July 16, 2010. I don't know if charges were ever 'laid' against the offender unworthy of the name "police officer". These events are now extremely rare in American society. When I was in my 20s (December 1964-December 1974), they were extremely common.
On June 9th of this year, there had been a Gay Pride event in Maplewood (not far from me, but I refused to go) that Mayor Booker and other prominent people attended. I was outraged, thinking that the suburbs had stolen this celebration from Newark — an event that plainly belonged in a city, not suburb. I was thus very pleasantly surprised to find, weeks later, that Newark retained its own event in July. Alas, few (white) people from the suburbs attended the inner-city Pride Festival in Washington Park, or the parade beforehand, perhaps because some white people, even in near-in suburbs, still believe the nonsense that black Newarkers are anti-white and this city is dangerous, even Downtown. No on both counts, as should be obvious from the fact that I, an elderly white guy who cannot run, due to knee problems that three surgeries could not correct, wander without hassle throughout Newark. I cannot count on people's picking up on that subtlety, but need to state forthritely that white people are welcome at every general-audience event in Newark. Nobody hassles you. Everybody is fine with your being there. And if you talk to someone, s/he will reply at least courteously and, ordinarily, warmly.
We need to END the suburban Gay Pride event and bring everyone together in Newark, the inner, essential, and magnificent central city of this region. (White readers, please note the white people in the fotos below. None of them was killed, none attacked. They all had a great time and lived to tell about it.)
I parked on James Street almost five blocks west of Washington Park, just short of MLK Boulevard, the nearest legal parking spot I could find — five blocks away, even on a Sunday — and then walked east. The foto above shows my initial view of the park from the west side of Washington Street at James Street. Note the food trucks parked along the park's western edge in this second foto, which shows one such food truck in the stretch just north of the stage, and the third foto, which shows the stretch south toward Washington Place.
There was a mobile stage (leftmost in the middle foto above) set up in the peculiar barren area of the park, where there is no grass, just gravel and reddish dirt. A d.j. was playing music, entirely too loud at times, to a crowd of perhaps 200 people at any given time who were visiting the 17 or so literature tables and vendors within the park, arrayed along the paths bordering this "Empty Quarter". (If you don't understand that geograffic reference, look it up! Aye, there's the 'rub'.)
Some of the vendors were selling clothing and jewelry, mostly (and curiously) women's. I've seen more men's jewelry on offer at the flea markets in Collingswood and Englishtown in Monmouth County. I've got my own, masculine "bling", mostly silver and copper, without a single gem. It's not that I have anything against precious or semiprecious stones. I just can't afford them, so don't even think about them. I bought several copper bracelets at Collingswood, and one heavy, chain, "ID"-style silver bracelet and several wonderful silver rings at a jewelry table that stood for years within Newark Penn Station just outside the entrance to McDonald's.
Other tables were dedicated to spreading the word about the good deeds of various organizations.
The first table I approached, which was also the first in from Washington Street, was for the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce. (I guess I should not assume that everybody knows what that initialism means but make absolutely plain what "LGBT" means: "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered". At least the last two terms refer to fictitious creatures of fevered imaginations, not real people.)
As I approached, the woman behind the table within the pavilion (tent) called out a cheery hello. I asked her where the Chamber was headquartered, and was pleased when she said Newark. Yay! There was literature on the table for people to take away, but I didn't want to load myself down with stuff until I had walked throughout the Festival grounds and taken pictures without being fettered by things I had to carry. (You didn't really expect to see "fettered", did you? We ordinarily hear only "unfettered", as we ordinarily hear only "unraveled". At least here, "fettered" and "unfettered" are opposites. "Ravel" and "unravel" mean the same thing — absurd but true.)
I asked if it would be alrite for me to fotograf her. She gladly consented, and I took my usual two fotos, one with flash, one without, as she stood under the pavilion. Neither foto seemed to work well, as they appeared in the monitor of my camera upon review. She then brilliantly thought to come out from the shadow of the tent and stand in front of the table. That worked. Why didn't I think of that? I guess I wanted to show her at work, within the pavilion. Yeah, that's the ticket. I told her I'd be back later for the literature, and walked on.
The next literature table I encountered was for the BCDC (Brick City Development Corporation). (One leadoff screen of its website leads off with this fascinating statistic: "22 million square feet of available office space at less than half the average rent in Manhattan".) Unfortunately, I could not get any information from the helpful and agreeable people working that table because the music was insanely loud. (Those white people apparently had not heard the tall tale that Newark hates white people, so they worked the BCDC table without fear or incident.) I asked if they knew who the organizers of the Festival were, in order that either I or they might ask the people in charge to turn the music down so that the people at literature tables could get their message out to visitors. Alas, they did not know whom I could talk to, so the music continued to make it impossible for me and others to communicate with the people at literature tables. That is SUPREMELY STUPID! We don't need music 24 hours a day, at deafening decibel levels. The amplifier may be the single most destructive invention of modern times. It has damaged the hearing of untold millions of people, and interfered with multitudinous communications far more important than the music that the amplifier has empowered music lovers to hear easily.
The Rutgers "LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center" table drew interest. I deeply resent all these crazy initials, and the will to crush the distinct identities of these massively different groups into a wholly artificial — indeed preposterous — imitation "community" of people who ordinarily have nothing to do with each other. I am not a lesbian, tho I admit of the possibility of lesbians, and in fact have a niece who regards herself as lesbian (even tho she has three children who were NOT conceived thru artificial insemination). I am decidedly not "bisexual", and refuse the notion that "bisexuals" exist. Nor is ANYBODY "transgendered". All of that is just crazy talk by and about people who have no idea what reality is. Sexual reality, scientific reality, is rooted in biology , sex chromosomes, X or Y, not flying around in the sky or outer space. And the Q, which apparently stands for "Questioning", rather than "Queer", as some people might assume, is insulting to people who know exactly what they are — and have ALWAYS known, as any sentient being must always have known, what the heck he or she is.
The difference between gay people and "bisexual", "transgendered", and "questioning" people-manqué is COURAGE, the courage to insist on being who you are, no matter what other people may think. We do no one any favor by accepting their cowardice, nor indulging their RIDICULOUS delusions, delusions that no one can really have. It is not possible for anyone who is in the slitest connected to reality to think that he is "a woman trapped in the body of a man" (or vice versa). Religious people say to that, "God doesn't make mistakes". Simple realists say "You are what your body is, period." No one could possibly believe that s/he was born into the wrong body. So this is an example of what my friend and fellow long-time gay militant John Lauritsen has called "synthetic insanity". Why would anyone at all, anywhere on Earth, in government or mental-health facilities, pretend to believe what no sane person on Earth could possibly believe, that it is rational to think that you were born into the wrong body?
"Bisexuals" and "transgendered" people know full well they are just out-and-out, simple homosexuals or lesbians. They just don't have the courage and INTEGRITY to own up to it. I am so tired of maladjusted losers in the gay world. Tired beyond any remnant of patience.
I have been "out" since I was 20, in 1965, when it was much, much harder to be "out", in a much less accepting society. Even before that, I was sexually active even if not outspoken about it. In the 48 years since, I have had ugly run-in after run-in after run-in with disgusting, gutless losers who made hell of their own lives and the lives of everyone around them who allowed themselves to be dragged down by those losers' self-hatred.
It never made the slitest sense to me. As far as I can see, being homosexual is the best of all possible worlds. You get to BE a man and HAVE a man. What could be better? Why hasn't every single gay man always been ecstatic about being gay? I just never understood it.
I may be unusually self-referential, isolated from what other people think. Part of that has to do with always knowing, since at latest middle school, that I am smarter than most people, indeed, almost everybody. That could for some people be a burden, and make them uncomfortable. Never was it a problem for me, in part because my whole family is pretty smart, as one would expect of the family around any smart child. Once I got beyond the confines of my immediate, brilliant family, I became aware that I thought about things that most people did not, and that when I was tasked to think about things that other people were also required to think about, I did it better and faster than they did. It was a game for me, not a proof of superiority. But I am not the only self-aware and self-assertive gay man from NJ at that time, the late 60s.
NJ has contributed its fair share, or more than its fair share, to the gay-rights movement. For instance, "Stephen Donaldson" (real name: Bob Martin), who founded the Student Homophile League at Columbia University in the late-1960s, was from Monmouth County. He was cute, and I suspected, on more than one occasion, that he would have been happy to play around with me. But there was something 'off' about him, so I kept my distance. He ended up dying young, due to drug use. That's another thing I have never understood about so many gay men. Why on Earth would you need drugs when nothing chemicals could do for you even begins to equal what you can get from simple, human contact with other men?
There was more than one literature table dispensing "safe sex" propaganda, as tho sex kills. No, sex does not kill. Sex, in fact, is the ONLY force that perpetuates life, and is the only way the human race and its antecedents survived for millions of years. What changed in the past 43 of those years? Sex? No. Drugs. That's all that changed: massive use of powerful drugs.
People are so naive, not to be unkind and say "stupid". They trust the U.S. Government to tell the truth about the causes of damage to the immunological system of gay men. That would be the same Government that until very recently, if not still, HATED homosexuality and wished homosexual men dead. That's like Jews or Gypsies (or, indeed, gay men) taking the word of Hitler's government about their socioeconomic problems.
The display board on the right of this pavilion for the African-American Office of Gay Concerns deals with "safe" and "unsafe" sexual practices.
The patterns of AIDS, which was early on called the "gay plague", are plainly NOT those of an infection spread by sex and blood. They never have been, and after 33 years remain completely different from the patterns of an infection. Rock Hudson's and Liberace's lovers did not get AIDS, even tho Rock Hudson and Liberace are said to have died from AIDS. Conversely, people thousands of miles apart, who never met, much less had sex with each other, and had no living intermediary between them, have come down with the same devastating destruction of their immune system. How is that possible?
Well, it's possible because AIDS is not a sexually transmitted virus but a collapse of the immune system produced not by any microbe whatsoever but by chronic, long-term use of terribly dangerous drugs. People who developed AIDS did so not because of sexual activities they participated in or shared sexual partners in, but because they used extremely toxic DRUGS, in wild and unimaginable combinations.
Here, some attendees of the Festival play with (apparently) magnetic cards bearing a brief description of various sexual practices, placing those cards under columns labeled "Little or No Risk" up to "VERY RISKY". If people are concerned about actual venereal disease ("VD") — or the needlessly revised term "sexually transmitted diseases" (STD's) — it's fine for them to think about how a microbe might be passed from person to person. But if that microbe is the ridiculously-named "Human Immunodeficiency Virus", which has nothing at all to do with human immunological collapse, they should stop wasting time and worry on that HARMLESS microbe, which is like millions of other microbes that do human beings no harm. How naive have people become, that they might now think that the human immunological system, which has fended off millions of microbes all around them for hundreds of thousands of years, has suddenly, since 1980, been defeated by ONE microbe?
Everyone knows that if a single drug can be bad for you, a combination of two different drugs — or three, four, or seven — taken without any thought as to how they could interact, might KILL you (esp. if they are taken in combination with tobacco and alcohol). But we are not to think such things in regard to AIDS. No, in AIDS, only sex kills — even tho it has been widely reported that 39,000 Americans die from drugs, including misused prescription drugs, each year.
Critical thinking is a rarity in the human race. People in general are credulous and superstitious. Both of those qualities feed the insane notion that sex kills. Things don't just happen for chemical reasons. No, they are CAUSED to happen — by a vengeful God! At least that is what Bible-thumpers were triumphal in declaring early in the AIDS "epidemic", when only "faggots" and other "degenerates" were bring struck down by God Almighty, thru deviant sex. No, sex really does not kill.
This appears to be a group from Liberation in Truth, a religious group on Halsey Street in Downtown Newark that recently reconceived itself, or at least part of its program, into a lesbian and gay community center.
There is no such thing as God, and no such thing as viral AIDS. But most people NEED to believe in MEANINGFUL death and destruction, with only a few exceptions. When a tornado cuts a wide swath thru an entire town in the boonies, destroying scores of houses and killing dozens of people, it just happens. Tho it might be called an "act of God", no faithful believer in the Bible really thinks that God decided to smite a blameless town in a blameless area. That is esp. the case if the obliterated town was inhabited primarily or exclusively by political Conservatives or Radical Rightwingers, in that the only people inclined to see God as monstrous and vengeful are Radical Rightwingers. But if someone is SPARED destruction that seemed, from the weather conditions and what happened to adjoining properties, certain to kill him or her, that is an act of God, an intervention by the Almighty to save the worthy. What a bunch of bull!
Closer view of the L.I.T. table.
The bulk of the human race is uncomfortable with the fact that almost everything just happens, for no "reason" (meaning, here, "purpose" or "just cause"). Things happen because the forces of Nature, or inexcusably stupid human behavior, come together at a single place and time to produce a particular result. That is all.
Hetrick-Martin Institute, an NYC-based group for youth that now has a Newark location too.
In the case of AIDS, however, it wasn't Nature at work at all, but the stupid acts of stupid people, who somehow persuaded themselves, at least when under the influence of drugs, that chemicals couldn't harm them, so they could take as many drugs, of as many kinds, in as many combinations and dosages, as they cared to, but never suffer adverse consequences. Guess again, fools. I was not exaggerating when I said, on my MrGayPride website, that "Everything Government says about AIDS is false".
One member of the Hetrick-Martin group takes a souvenir foto of the others.
Here we are, 33 years after AIDS popped up out of nowhere and scared billions of people, yet everything predicted for it has failed to occur. It has NOT affected every sexually active person, of every sexual orientation. It has NOT wiped out the human race. It has NOT killed hundreds of millions of people on every continent. Nothing, indeed, that was said to be inevitable about the "AIDS epidemic" has happened. Because AIDS is not an epidemic, meaning something that can be passed from person to person, and has been so passed to myriad infected individuals. No, AIDS is an injury that each person suffers individually, just as traffic accidents and falls, or cancer and black-lung 'disease', are suffered individually, not passed from person to person. The accidents here, however, are drug incidents. That "fast-lane" gay men were soaked in drugs should not astonish anyone. And that people soaked in drugs should become life-threateningly sick and die prematurely should also not astonish.
Gay men have for centuries been raised in a hostile environment where they were taught that they are evil and deserve death for their crimes against decency. Consequently, many gay people have leapt to accept that AIDS is the "Wrath of God" for their "loathsome" sexual practices. It is not. I and millions of other gay men spent years and years in extensive homosexual activity with many(, many) partners, but never got AIDS. Compare that with the AIDS-propagandists' assertion that "every time you have sex with anyone, you are having sex with everyone that person has had sex with, and everyone that those other people's sexual partners had sex with, on and on in an ever-widening chain of infection". Total B.S. If that were true, EVERY sexually active person on this planet would now be dead or dying from AIDS. Are they? As I look out around me, I am very sure they are not. Quite the contrary, the planet's population is now greater than ever, over 7 billion, and the areas of Africa that were asserted to be 'ravaged by AIDS' have among the world's highest rates of population increase! How could that be, unless we somehow had absolutely effective anti-HIV treatments that are so cheap and so widely dispensed that even the most remote areas of the Third World get such treatments every day, or week, or however often they are required? What idiot could possibly believe that the most backward and most remote parts of this planet are now receiving the most advanced medical treatments? How STUPID does a person have to be, to believe that AIDS hasn't wiped out the bulk of sub-Saharan Africa because the most backward and remote parts of that benited continent are receiving the most advanced medical treatments?
Ah, well. Not every information table at the Newark Pride Festival was spreading dopy lies about AIDS. Some groups were concerned with gay people's political and marriage rights. Here, for instance, is a gentleman from Lambda Legal (originally, "Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund") who asked if I'd like to sign a petition to the State government urging approval of same-sex marriage. I replied that there is no point to such a petition, because Christie would pay no attention to it. He responded that Christie might be defeated in November. I seriously doubted that, however, because his opponent, the nonentity Barbara Buono (the Jewish woman with a name that leads people to think she is Catholic) seemed intent on racking up the largest majority for a Republican gubernatorial candidate in the history of this state, by selecting an entirely undistinguished, indeed largely unknown, female running mate, as to produce a wildly unbalanced ticket — in every sense of the word "unbalanced" — that turned off a majority of the Democratic electorate. I replied, to the gent at Lambda Legal, that if Christie is defeated, there is no need for a petition, because everyone else is committed to approving same-sex marriage. As things turned out, Christie beat the nothing Buono by 20 points, a Red landslide in a Blue State because of the stupidity and arrogance of an utterly unworthy and undistinguished Democratic gubernatorial slate.
Here's another absurd product of one of today's idiot graffic artists: a poster with white lettering on a white background (at the top of the poster, in case you didn't see it, which would scarcely surprise)! What was s/he thinking?
This foto shows Lambda Legal's political map of states near us that allow same-sex marriage. It shows that NJ is a thorn in the side of justice, solely because of ONE person, the monstrously fat beast, Chris Christie. How did he get to be Governor even once? And how could he possibly be re-elected in this very Blue state? Politics in the United States has become mad.
Garden State Equality made no splash whatsoever in trying to defeat Christie. Did GSE exert any effort whatsoever toward defeating that antigay bigot? If not, why not? Nearly 50 years ago, in the mid-1960s, my organization, Homosexuals Intransigent!, based at City College, endorsed NYC's Mayor Lindsay (who won, albeit with only a tiny bit of help from our little, student-based organization). Have today's gay organizations just given up on political change thru the ballot box?
The people in this next foto, Latinos D ("Divertidos, Diversos, Dinámicos, Diferentes", which equals, in English, 'Merry/Fun [by which I assume they mean "Gay"], Diverse, Dynamic, Different'), didn't trouble to reserve or pay for a table, but simply spread their banner on the grass. Good for them.
I hadn't heard of the group behind this next table, the Masakhane Center. Its handout, little more than a quarter of a standard letter-size page, explained its purposes:
The Masakhane Center is a youth-driven organization promoting happy, healthy outlooks on sex and sexuality within the Newark, NJ community. We achieve this through interactive and innovative workshops, programs, literature and outreach.
So why is their table staffed by women only? Are gay men to attend workshops with and led by women in which they are to talk about their (often repressed) sexual desires for men? If so, this is yet another example of the extreme, opaque stupidity of too much of the "lesbigay" movement, which proceeds from the astonishing assumption that gay men are just another form of lesbian or heterosexual who are perfectly happy to be sexually involved with women, physically and/or psychologically. NO. Gay men do NOT want to talk with WOMEN about their desires for MEN. Our intense and urgent need for MEN is NOT for women to hear, talk about, or snigger about. Our sexual desires are private to men. We don't want women anywhere near our psyche nor body when we are thinking about sex with men. It's like straight men having their parents next to them in a singles bar when they're trying to pick up a woman for a one-nite stand, or having their mother talking to them while they, um, "pleasure themselves" while watching video porn. How can anyone not understand that?
Well, some women are just unbelievably stupid about the absolute need and demand of gay men for sexual privacy. Some women push into things they have no right nor reason to know about gay men's lives. That is one major reason why so many gay men HATE lesbians, because entirely too many intrude into things that are none of their BUSINESS. "Good fences make good neighbors", but some women think that every fence is an offense, and whatever they want to know, they are entitled to know. NO. Mind your own business, and we'll get along fine. Push your nose into our business, and we'll push back.
The only live music I saw was a three-person, heterosexually-constituted group of one man and two women. Why would that be in a GAY festival? The lyrics sung by that group were, if I heard right, heterosexually obscene. Why would such a song be performed in a gay festival? Oh, I know: because the bulk of "lesbigay" or "LGBTQ" people in such situations are out of their minds.
It has always, alas, been the case that the lesbi/gay movement is dominated by maladjusted losers who were raised to be straight, but became unhappy about that, so joined an organization dedicated to winning the right NOT to be heterosexual. Alas, they were so horribly maladjusted, even as they became active in such organizations, that they intruded bizarre, antihomosexual attitudes into the activities and stances of those very organizations. As they grew better adjusted, some of those men tried to make the organizations grow, as to be well-adjusted too, but newer members always outnumbered the oldtimers, and the newer members were always maladjusted, for having only recently escaped from pressures to be, or at least pretend to be, straight. So the organizations always continued to advocate grotesquely unliberated and antihomosexual stances.
Well-adjusted men LEFT those organizations rather than fite a hopeless battle against the majority's self-loathing, and the organizations became a cancer, spouting insane rhetoric and promoting insane policies that reinforced self-hatred and gender confusion, rather than helping people to renounce self-hatred and affirm their actual sexual identity, proudly. Tragic but true.
Now that society has softened its stance against homosexuality, will lesbigay organizations separate into gay organizations and lesbian organizations, renouncing the heterosexual form (men-and-women-together-now!) that they took out of confusion as to what homosexuality is and requires, or to win approval from straight society thru falsification of their actual purposes, to present themselves as a heterosexual group? Will they stand against gender confusion and orientational confusion, to help "transgendered" people adjust to their biological reality, and help "bisexuals" to give up their craven and contemptible insistence on pretending to be "partly straight", as tho that somehow makes up for being "partly queer"?
It took American gay people almost 60 years from the founding of the modern gay movement in California in 1950, to unite for gay marriage. There were always a few outliers (like me in 1979, at age 24) who advocated permanence in gay relationships reinforced by the incentives bestowed and disincentives inflicted by government in legal marriage, but the Movement overall was nothing like united in demanding governmentally sanctioned gay marriage until very recently.
How long will it take gay organizations to reorganize as single-sex — literally homo[same]sexual — organizations? We shall see. Well, at least those of us who live long enuf will see. Happily, I have lived to see the triumph of gay marriage in parts of this country and in several other countries. When I first publicly advocated gay marriage, in a flyer handed out at a march on Washington in October 1979, many American gay organizations did not sign on, but pretended that 'sexual freedom' was a higher virtue than sexual fidelity and long-term commitment. I don't see much of that argumentation anymore. So maybe there's hope that sanity, and self-awareness of one's actual emotional needs, will replace lingering, self-devaluing attitudes. We can only hope. That "we" includes straight society, in that society at large is stronger when more people are well-adjusted and in stable relationships that create financially stronger households in which people take care of each other at private expense rather than force taxpayers to provide institutional care at much higher expense.
On my way out of the Newark Pride Festival, I did stop by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce table to pick up their literature, and ask a few more questions. The woman I had spoken with before gave me her card: Kimberlee S. Williams, of Femworks. I knew that name, and had met a different principal of that entity, the artistic fotografer Tamara Fleming. I started to explain why I was asking questions (for the information of visitors to this blog), when Kimberlee interrupted to say she knew who I am, and was familiar with this fotoblog. It's always good to meet people who have seen this blog (well, at least those who have not been ticked-off by what I say here). I teased her a bit about not at first letting on that she knew who I was, but I accepted that a neutral stand is to be expected of someone who represents an organization. She gave me both her personal and Chamber bizcards, and I intend to tell her of this post once it's online.
I am very pleased that NewarkGayPride.org persisted in creating a Newark Pride Festival even after Maplewood stole much of their thunder. Newark is where Gay Pride events in Essex County belong, and all other municipalities nearby should give 'pride' of place to Newark, and work to bring together rich and poor gay people — white, black, Hispanic, Asian, and other — in a single, all-inclusive event in Downtown Newark. Please keep that in mind for next year.