By Max Mutchnick
It was Gay Pride this past weekend in Los Angeles. Traffic was terrible. My husband and I sat in gridlock on Sunset Boulevard. We were bringing our daughters to music class just like we do every Sunday. It's a class designed to teach the girls how to appreciate musical sounds, play crude instruments and sing simple songs with other little people. When I say little people I don't want you to get the impression that they're taking a music class with Peter Dinklage and Linda Hunt. I mean, little people in the old-fashioned way... you know, babies. Can you imagine, they're nine months old and we take them to a music class. They still think my eyeball is a toy. So music class is really a place where you watch your kids shove plastic clackers in their mouths, lick the carpet and shit in their diaper if the songs with drum beats have to much bass in them. It's more of a mucus class than anything -- but we go because that's what you do, right?
Stuck in our car, with our sweet babies sleeping, we watched hundreds of gay men migrate towards the hub of the Pride parade. It's at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vincente in West Hollywood. I was surprised by how few lesbians we saw, but I think they arrive earlier so they can deal with parking and possible crowd issues.
From the car, I noticed gay men are working a new look this season. It's the Adam Lambert. Some really go for it with the blue hair tint and the black nail polish. But overall, most gays stick to the look that has always served them well. You know it:
--Be young (even if you're not).
--Be a size 2.
--Messy hair (that takes an hour to do).
--An over-washed thermal shirt that shows belly skin when you wave.
--Incorporate leather string somewhere:
a. around the neck with a bead
b. wrapped a dozen times around the wrist
c. a simple anklet...also with a bead
d. all of the above
-- Work a good butt in good jeans you stole from your sister.
This look is called the Kris Allen.
Anyhoo, when we were planning our weekend, I thought it might be a cool idea to take the kids to Gay Pride after music class. I could just see us putting them in Baby Bjorns and walking amongst our people and really being a part of it. But as I sat in my car, watching from the periphery, I started to worry. Were these my people? I used to get comforting goose bumps at Gay Pride parades. I am a part of something. These sexual outlaws and gender pioneers are my brothers and sisters and we are part of a community. But for the first time, I felt like an outsider.
Dykes on bikes, Tarzana Trannies, Jewish Leather Daddies and Kathy Griffin's mom. Don't get me wrong. I love these people. Let's call them the "Usual Suspects." They fought for my rights and taught me how to dance. But they should no longer be representing "the pride." It's a different time. For god's sake, Larry Craig is a life-long homosexual. What I'm trying to say is that "unremarkable" mainstream people are gay, too. So I cringe when a local newsperson shoves a microphone in the face of some young 95-pound twink (Straight Translation: a twink is a skinny homosexual with a lot of moxie). The twink looks into the camera and screams into the reporter's microphone: "Get down here now. The drinks are big. But you know what's bigger..." He laughs in a high-pitched cackle and his "girlfriends" join in. I wish they'd read more and drink less.
I'm depressed. Why is this the voice speaking for me?
I know there were many types of interesting, smart people on the parade route showing their support. But guess what, guys and gals? None of you have a loud enough, strong enough or powerful enough voice to be heard over the thumping techno backbeat of the big gay parade. This is a huge problem. Sad, but true. The mainstream media still has no better choice but to showcase the extremes of gay life. I mean, imagine if we used the Mardi Gras as the singular way we'd depict straight folk. The public would be lead to believe that all men wear jock straps on their heads and all women like to do is show us their tits.
So you understand my pain when I see one of the "usual suspects" on the news?
Is he supposed to be my leader?
He's not my leader!
Where is my leader?!
Why doesn't the gay world have a leader?
Where is my Jesse Jackson?
Where is my Martin Luther King?
Where is my Barack Obama?
Wait! Him! Why not him? Why isn't this modern man speaking up for me and protecting my civil rights?
Something is very wrong here. I guess it would be nice to have a leader for the gay movement. But he or she has not presented him or herself. So why not kill two birds with one stone? Let's hire Barack Obama. I want Barack to be my leader, just like he is for all Americans. Maybe I don't need a separate leader. Maybe I don't need a separate anything anymore. I know I don't want a gay flag. I only cover my heart with my hand when I stand beneath the stars and stripes of the American flag. Because that's what I am before anything else. Rainbows don't cut it for me anymore. And they certainly haven't protected me. I have no desire to wrap myself in that rainbow. So why isn't Barack standing up and waving the American flag for me?
It should be him.
He said he would do it. But this is all we got:
Last night President Obama issued a memorandum to extend limited benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. A memorandum? A memo? That doesn't sound very equal rights-ish.
TO: The Gays
FROM: The President of the United States
RE: If you're going to use the fridge, label your food.
That's what I think a memo is. President Obama's memo was almost as worthy. He's giving same-sex benefits to federal employees with major omissions. It's crumbs, people. It's nothing. It's basically a reaction to some noise. He thinks he's throwing us a bone. He could and should have done this on his first day in office. Why isn't he talking about big picture issues? Why isn't he making or preparing the country for sweeping change? The wise gay elders tell me that I should respect this baby step. It is, after all, his first "gay experience" in office. But I say, "no." I want more from MY leader. He's making news because he's giving his gay employees almost the same benefits as he gives his straight employees. Why are we celebrating this?!
Before 1967, his parents would have been arrested for their marriage. Why aren't we being more demanding of this president? And why isn't he more understanding of our position? It's time for us to lose our patience. He should have a deeper understanding of this inequality -- at the very least, deep down in his heart I want to believe he does. He says, for religious reasons, he believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I call bullshit, Mr. President. I don't believe that's your personal view. You're being a politician when you say that. You're too intelligent for that. You were a constitutional law professor. Even I know the 14th Amendment means that separate but equal is not equal.
Hey, wait a minute. I just realized something.
It's your job is to be my leader, Barack! When I voted for you, I believed in the integrity of your words as a leader for all citizens, not just most. So back it up with action. It's time you stood out there in front of the Washington Monument and made a speech on my behalf. It's time. It would start something like this:
"I have a dream. I have a dream for some queens..."
This would really give my little daughters something to sing about in music class, Mr. President.