The Tempest Online™

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I’m Still Proudly Gay…In A Way

Posted by Daniel on June 4, 2007

So Saturday our friends Scott & Tom invite us to go with them to the Saturday concert of Kansas City Gay Pride, right?

Hold on…the whatzitz at the where for who and when?

This was pretty much our reaction. We’ve become so suburban that we didn’t even know that it was Pride weekend here in Kansas City. Either that, or the Pride festivals here have just become so lame and the shows oh-so-boring that one tends to forget rather easily the last time you were bored to tears at a Pride Festival. Much less that a whole year has passed and it’s once again time to attend yet another swish-fest.

I think it’s more the latter, because we’ve been planning our trip to Dallas for their Gay Pride weekend (September 14 through 16) for a couple of months now.

This year, KC Pride had their festival at the Liberty Memorial, which more resembled the muddy millings of Woodstock, in my humble opinion. Over the weekend the biggest headliner on stage was none other than Chaka Khan…who, I’m sorry to say, sounded pretty lousy. We were there for only two hours before we decided it was time to hit the bars. After all, the drinks at Pride tend to be watered down, awful and way overpriced. In fact, the only memorable thing I took with me from that festival was an expensive pair of sandals ruined when I stepped in 8-inch deep mud on the way OUT. Then, adding insult to sandal injury, I was charged five dollars for a bottled water that was used to wash my feet and ruined sandals.

We didn’t get there in time for the parade, which is just as well, actually, considering it is rarely more than what I refer to as “Ten Dykes On A Flatbed”.

No offense to the lesbians here in KC, but honestly, my idea of gay pride isn’t seeing signs that read “Pussy Power”. I’m sure, however, that that part of the parade made it onto the local news…because every year the news shows only that or the leather men wearing assless-chaps in a parody of Clint Eastwoods’ “Two Mules For Fister Sara”. And trust me, that ain’t pretty either.

Conversely, Pride in Dallas is a gay-normous affair, indeed. I know this because prior to moving to KC in 1996, I spent the previous 20-ish years in Dallas…both as a bar owner and bartender.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to rip on Kansas City or it’s gay community…though there is room for much improvement. It’s just that – and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before – this city has no cohesive gay community to really speak of. Bars open and go out of business right and left constantly. Gay businesses as a whole are hard to find, as they are scattered around the city as though they were seeds blown from a dandelion. So forgive me for looking forward to standing, once again, in what is called “The Crossroads” in Dallas.

The corners of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, a/k/a “The Crossroads”, is at the heart of the area in Dallas that is called Oak Lawn. And it’s mostly all gay. All the gay-owned stores, bars and homes (for the most part) are in Oak Lawn. They even have their annual Pride Parade right down Cedar Springs.

Unlike here in KC, where the city can just keep moving the parade and festival to any area that hasn’t refused to allow it.

So forgive me for looking forward to attending Gay Pride in a town outside of the one where I live. It’s just that in my mind, it doesn’t really matter where I show my pride, so long as I’m showing my pride somewhere. And excuse me for wanting to celebrate my pride in a place that isn’t muddy, wet, cold, mosquito-infested and wreaks of Jean Na’te.

Call me pissy or prissy or pretentious. I don’t care. But I’m sick of the same shit every year:

Friends: “Did you see Ru Paul last night?”
Me: “No…what show was she on?”
Friends: “No, silly, she was on stage at Gay Pride.”
Me: “Oh, I didn’t go this year (again).
Friends: “AGAIN?!?! What’s wrong with you?? We had a blast!! You missed another horrid parade and Ru Paul sucked!!”
Me: “You just answered your own question.”

Fell of the dykes’ flatbed.

Now, I’ve been accused – repeatedly – of being snobbish towards Gay Pride here, and I can’t say that they are too far off base. I am, however, not the only one here who is a fair-weather Pride-celebrating Gay. I happen to be out and proud daily. But there were so many times Saturday night that I heard people saying, “Happy Gay Day” to one another. As if it only comes once a year.

I’m proud to be the person that I am every day. I don’t need a festival to remind me of it.

I know what you’re thinking…”Then why do you care about Gay Pride weekends??”

One thing I’ve learned by attending Pride festivals in Sydney, Dallas, San Francisco, New York, etc. is that Pride celebrations are a chance to gather with others who want to celebrate the fact that we are out loud and out proud. A chance to meet up with those we get to see less and less frequently throughout the year.

Don’t tell me you’ve never gone to a Pride celebration in your town and not said, “Where the hell are all of these people the rest of the year?!?”

C’mon…admit it.

Another oddity that differentiates Kansas City Pride from that of places like Dallas is that their Pride warrants, at the very least, a mention in the Dallas Morning News. Here in Kansas City, the entire Pride weekend and events didn’t even fetch so much as a sentence on the back page of the Kansas City Star. This in stark contrast to 10 years ago when then Mayor Kay Barnes formally proclaimed that day as “The Official Gay Pride Kansas City Day”.

Since then, we can’t even get Rev. Fred Phelps to show up and protest. 😉

Still wonder why I look forward to Dallas’ Pride?


3 Responses to “I’m Still Proudly Gay…In A Way”

  1. Texas Blue Dot said

    Hello you two – long time C&Jer with Revel over on Dkos, and longtime reader over here too.

    Glad to hear you’re coming to Dallas in September… we’ll leave the proverbial light on, and hopefully we can meet up. We usually stand in front of the Round-Up (simply because if it’s hot outside, and it usually is) their A/C is enough to freeze you to Zero Kelvin.


  2. RevelKC2 said

    At least we didn’t have to pay to get in. And for a second opinion, I thought Chaka was not half bad. Granted, we were like 500 feet away, but at least she reminded us she had more than one hit “back in the day”

  3. Scott said

    Oh darn, I missed it again. I was attending the annual gray hair and green eye pride events. You know, one of those other birth things that we have no control over yet decide to make a big deal out of and celebrate. Maybe next year….N O T !!!

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