Unpride

Oh look. It’s Debbie Downer with another whinefest. What tedious opinion will she share with the world today? Well, it’s June, so I guess that makes this the obligatory Pride entry.

Everybody seems to be taking Pride especially seriously this year, probably because of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Although I have some problems with the narrative behind those riots (namely: violent resistance is an effective way to earn political credibility), overall I am glad that people are commemorating the event and taking Pride seriously. I genuinely want each and every one of you to get out there and have a lot of fun. But speaking only for myself, I’m just not feeling it this year. I don’t have very much to be proud of, and I increasingly feel there is no place for me in the LBGTQ+ community.

Although I am still doing some behind-the-scenes volunteering for the Lurkville LGBTQ+ center, the truth is that I am not very involved any more. The reading group I was involved with ran its course, which means that (a) I don’t go down to the center much any more and (b) I am reading a lot less LGBTQ+ literature than I used to. I also participated in an exercise group (yes, really), but that is now a shadow of its former self. The obvious solution to this would be to get more involved, but I don’t, partially because those groups that interest me conflict with other commitments. If this was poor Steven’s blog I would be leaving some acid-tongued comment about how he was making excuses, and I would be correct.

I did attend a second social gathering for LGBTQ+ people a couple of times, but I felt super out-of-place there. For one thing I am too socially awkward to do well in the presence of others, and for another I was at least a decade older than anybody else. I definitely came across as the unwelcome, creepy fat old guy, so I stopped attending.

Up until recently I had not experienced the dreaded “too old to be gay” feeling that so many others write about, but it has hit me hard over the past couple of years. It seems many (if not most) of the LGBTQ+ events locally are either implicitly or explicitly for the kids, and those that aren’t are for lesbians. And since I am cisgendered and more conservative than I like to admit, I am now classified as an oppressor, enforcing heteronormative privilege and the patriarchy. For all of our talk of diversity, there is not much room for people like me under the umbrella.

Having said that, I did go to Lurkville Pride for a bit. The event was rained out, but even before that I was feeling out of place. Admittedly, I skipped the “march” that was to happen the next day, so that is my fault. I also went to a second Pride event in the nearby municipality of Lurkton, but I got there late and only caught the tail end of the festivities. Again, I felt pretty out of place.

I will be taking a multi-day out-of-town trip to the big city of Lurkopolis this summer. I had not realized it at first, but I will be visiting during Lurkopolis Pride celebrations. Honestly the prospect fills me with more dread than excitement. Lurkopolis will be busier than usual and more expensive than usual. If I get a few spare hours during the trip I might wander through the festive areas but I am not sure I will enjoy them. Mostly I am grateful that I will have left town before the big Lurkopolis parade, because that is going to be a zoo (and will probably be co-opted by an activist group anyways). It is not good news that I am so apprehensive about being around the big celebration. Shouldn’t I want to be around my people?

This is probably all just projection on my part. Although none of the areas of my life are currently in crisis (knock on plastic), they have been uniformly disappointing. The only topics I have been able to consistently discuss with others have been my lack of employment and my dismay at the current state of politics, not my pathetic love life. But truth be told I am increasingly unhappy about being lonely. Even as I am grateful I do not have a sex partner, my body wants to be touched. I don’t think I have ever been the object of another person’s desire, even when I was in a relationship. To my knowledge I have never been hit upon, and nobody has ever flirted with me. (One caveat: back when I was younger and thinner, some people apparently made comments about my butt. However, those comments were not made in my presence, and I learned about them secondhand.)

I ought to be grateful for all that (maybe not the butt comments) but it gets hard to take sometimes, and it is not getting easier as I get older.

Whine, whine, whine. Scooter boys and Argentinians, Europe shed the blood of the Indians. And here I sit in the land of plenty, crying about my own virginity.

Be sure not to end up like me. Go out and celebrate. Happy Pride, everyone.

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