The thumbnail image, rainbows, and Pride

The thumbnail image:


which is the image I’m currently using as my identifying portrait on my WordPress blog, on Facebook, and on Google+. It’s my alter ego Alex, now a graybeard, but still flaunting his gayness symbolically (rainbow flag, lavender triangle), and gesturing one or more of the following: “Yo!” – “Yay!” – “Fuck yeah!” – “Hi, Honey!”.

The image came to me in a set of Facebook rainbow Pride stickers, and yes, Alex Gaybeard is a B guy, black or brown, so what?

More on the race/ethnicity theme, on the stickers, on a bit of familial rainbow art, and some notes on Pride marches over the years, leading to the amazing vision of 500,000 of Us on the streets of Columbus OH recently.

The race/ethnicity thing. I wanted an image of Alex Gaybeard, and this is what I found. So what if the guy shown is    B? Images of white queers stand for queers of all races and ethnicities, so why can’t a B queer do the same?

Yes, it’s a defiant gesture, but, seriously, are you going to put me, of all people, down for making defiant gestures? And yes, some people might be led into thinking that I’m African-American (or Afro-Caribbean or black African or… ) or Latino: why should I care? I’ve been taken (incorrectly) to be Jewish by tons of people throughout my life, and so what? If it’s actually important to get my religious beliefs and practices clear, well, then, I’ll do that, but otherwise it’s not important.

I do fairly often feel I have to make it clear that I’m not straight, but race/ethnicity, only occasionally.

So I think I’ll let Alex Gaybeard stick around for a while, not just serve as a gesture for Pride month.

The stickers. These came in a set:


Yes, I know, not enough pixels. There’s a lot to enjoy here — the sailor boys; the dyke on a bike, with her big dog; the leather queen, with his tiny dog; the interracial senior queer couple — and some things to be puzzled by, but I picked out just two for special attention, #1 above and this trio, behind their rainbow banner:


Ok, on the left, a woman, presumably representing the L of LGBT; on the right, a clone-type guy, representing the G of LGBT; in the middle, an epicene figure, representing the BT of LGBT. BT-person is nicely located between L and G, and in addition seems to be presented as biracial (also gets to hold the celebratory balloons: masculine blue and feminine red, plus orange).

Deferred. I defer for now any discussion of moves to create new Pride flags in which racial and ethnic differences are recognized and represented,

Rainbow art in the family. A reent floral work by Opal Armstrong Zwicky, who confesses that she has a thing for rainbows:


Rainbows are big in my family.

Rainbows en masse. A crowd of marchers estimated at 500,000 in Columbus OH recently:


Back in the old days, when I lived in Columbus and marched in Columbus Pride every year (as part of the Ohio State contingent), it was astonishing to look down High Street from the Short North to the Scioto River and gaze on a sea of 100,000 people. Five times that size is hard to imagine.

The San Francisco parade — which I regularly watched on tv until last year, when out of fear of terrorist actions committed for the sake of tv cameras, KOFY stopped carrying the parade live, and instead broadcast it on tape starting at 6 p.m. Which really won’t do for me.

People complain that the parades have become too corporate, too much entertainment for an audience, and not enough defiant banding together, and maybe that’s true to some extent, and more true in some places than in others, but Columbus (which pulls in participants from the whole state of Ohio, and beyond) looks like it has some of the old spirit.

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