Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The death of gay culture

By Frank Moraes 

There used to be a large minority of the gay community that never wanted marriage equality. These people didn't want to be like the straight population and they feared that their movement would be co-opted by the corrupt mainstream society. They were right.

Recently, it was announced that American hero and government scapegoat Bradley Manning would be the Grand Marshall of the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. After this announcement the SF Pride board president Lisa L Williams released a hysterical statement saying it was all untrue. She said, "Bradley Manning is facing the military justice system of this country. We all await the decision of that system. However, until that time, even the hint of support for actions which placed in harms way the lives of our men and women in uniform -- and countless others, military and civilian alike -- will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride." 

Glenn Greenwald countered her argument in some depth. He pointed out that her claim that Manning put people in harm's way is "a substance-free falsehood originally spread by top US military officials which has since been decisively and extensively debunked, even by some government officials." He then goes on to note all of the vile sponsors of the parade that are a-okay with Williams:

So apparently, the very high-minded ethical standards of Lisa L Williams and the SF Pride Board apply only to young and powerless Army Privates who engage in an act of conscience against the US war machine, but instantly disappear for large corporations and banks that hand over cash. What we really see here is how the largest and most corrupt corporations own not just the government but also the culture. Even at the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, once an iconic symbol of cultural dissent and disregard for stifling pieties, nothing can happen that might offend AT&T and the Bank of America. The minute something even a bit deviant takes place (as defined by standards imposed by America's political and corporate class), even the SF Gay Pride Parade must scamper, capitulate, apologize, and take an oath of fealty to their orthodoxies (we adore the military, the state, and your laws). And, as usual, the largest corporate factions are completely exempt from the strictures and standards applied to the marginalized and powerless. Thus, while Bradley Manning is persona non grata at SF Pride, illegal eavesdropping telecoms, scheming banks, and hedge-fund purveryors of the nation's worst right-wing agitprop are more than welcome.

As I argued last month, the problem is that the LGBT community is no longer a liberal constituency. In a short period of time, the assimilation will be complete. There will be no "gay" identity and those previously associated with it will go on to be liberal or conservative as their incomes dictate. So it is no surprise that in San Francisco especially, those who organize the Gay Pride Parade are no more liberal nor willing to counter power than the organizers of Chicago's Saint Patrick's Day Parade. But it is still sad, because even the gay community in San Francisco knows what it is to be an oppressed minority. They should celebrate Bradley Manning and not spit government claims at him like he were a witch on trial in Salem.

Say goodbye to the scary anti-establishment San Francisco Gay Pride Parade. For good and bad, say goodbye to gay culture itself.

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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