Cultural celebrations

The calendar is full of celebratory days and periods, some of national/cultural significance (in the U.S., Independence Day and Thanksgiving, for instance), some of religious significance (Passover, Easter, Christmas, Ramadan), some of ethnic significance (St. Patrick’s Day, Columbus Day, Chinese New Year, San Gennaro, Diwali), some celebrating sentimental attachments (Valentine’s Day, Mothers Day, Fathers Day), some of obscure origin to modern people (Halloween), almost all with complicatedly mixed associations.

Now we’re in the Pride Season in the U.S. (with its focus on Stonewall Day, June 28, and on local Pride Parades, on different dates in June in different places — June 26 in San Francisco — with a penumbra of other events). This has gone from being a celebration specifically for the LGBT community to being, in some places, an ethnic celebration for everyone.

The Bay Area is one of those places.

As we get towards the middle of June, rainbow-themed stuff begins to appear everywhere. The (Bay Area) Post had its logo for this weekend in rainbow colors. Last Wednesday was Pride Day at Yahoo!: rainbow sno-cones! (My grand-daughter managed to catch this.) The San Francisco City Hall flies a big rainbow flag below the American flag. Straight people go to Pride events (like the parade in San Francisco today, which I’ve been watching on tv) — because they have LGBT friends, or just because the events are joyous and varied spectacles, with only a tiny amount of drunkenness and hostile interactions, so it’s fine to bring the kids.

What’s happened is that, increasingly, being LGBT has become normalized, just another way of being — like, indeed, an ethnicity. This development offends and enrages many people (especially via the influence of evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Mormon churches), so life is scarcely a picnic. Still, things have visibly changed, on a larger political/cultural scale and on a more personal scale.

It’s been years since I was taunted as a fag on the street or had my car (with its rainbow sticker) defaced, and many years since I got faggot-death threats on the phone (as I did for a while, in both Columbus and Palo Alto). That’s an advance, even if homophobia continues to be a sturdy and sometimes dangerous presence around us.

6 Responses to “Cultural celebrations”

  1. Ned Deily Says:

    Certainly, your commitment to leading and documenting an open life over these many years has helped in small, mysterious, but meaningful ways to bring about that advance. Thank you.

  2. Elizabeth Zwicky Says:

    I love the concept, but Yahoo! did not have rainbow sno-clones; they had rainbow sno-cones. Opal prefers the latter, in any case, because they are edible.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      Oh, crap! I suppose I was bound to make this typo.

      At first, with my brain working on automatic, I typed snow-clone (a “completion error” triggered by the initial SNO). Then I caught the W. But failed to notice the L.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    From Nancy Whittier on Facebook:

    We were at the parade today, and I was struck again by the depth and speed of change. It was the huge contingent of queer police marching behind the sheriff’s trucks that really struck me even more than the marriage stuff – 40 years from constant, unquestioned police raids to this is really such a short time as historical change goes.

    Yes, I thought about posting about the queering of the sheriff’s department. Quite remarkable,

  4. Cecily Says:

    My knowledge of the US situation is largely second hand, but I am struck by the depth and pace of change in the UK too.

    When I was born, homosexuality was still illegal, yet barely 40 years later I attended the joyful civil partnership ceremony of a close relative.

    What I find most pleasing and surprising is that the legislation was passed with barely a murmur from the church, conservative press, or anyone else (though not calling it “marriage” was a sop to stave off objections).

    As you say, people sometimes still suffer as a result of their sexuality, but the general climate of acceptance (not just in cosmopolitan areas), and the speed with which it has come about, is wonderful.

  5. Rainbow commas « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] Cultural celebrations, 6/26/11: link […]

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