“Pride week has the worst style,” he texted me from the West Village. I was in my bed in Brooklyn experiencing another kind of Pride style: Men’s Fashion Week. Spring 2014, coming to me live from Paris. I’d been on a Miley roll all weekend and my body was now like you have to stop. Immobilized on a mattress with no sheets at noon, it occurred to me that 4:20 may be so named because that’s the earliest—or latest—one should smoke.
This was yesterday, New York Pride Sunday. That morning, just a few hours after sunrise (which I’d watched, typically, from the roof of Bushwick’s McKibbin lofts), I found myself freshly showered and glittered, wearing my Mary Quant rainbow tie-dye bodysuit, in storage since last Pride, fully prepared to take to the streets. “Love is love!” my flying saucer pupils exclaimed. Their breadth made me greedy. I woke and toked.
The first couple hours were gorgeous. I dropped off my laundry, went grocery shopping, had a morning dance party for one, morning sex for one, watched Kids, researched the history of the rainbow Pride flag, sexted. But within three remixes of Kanye’s “Black Skinhead,” my serotonin abuse caught up with me.
“Yeeeeeeah so I got stoned & now my apartment seems like the most beautiful place on the universe– can u live tweet the best costumes for me?” I texted my Hudson Street residing friend.
Yes, I failed. Forever 69 this bi-week was supposed to be titled “Style Reporting from the Pride Parade.” But I fucked up. I slothed through it. I’d be ashamed but it’s #Pride. Instead of West Village reportage, this flash flood Monday, you’re getting Stoned Thoughts on Pride Style from This Loser’s Bedroom.
(It’s my mouth, I can say what I want to.)
Rainbows! Why rainbows? The first rainbow Pride flag flew on June 25, 1978 in where-else-but San Francisco at the “Gay Freedom Day Parade.” The flag was designed by Gilbert Baker, who, legend has it, was inspired by Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, a beloved camp idol (“the Elvis of homosexuals”) and queer code (“Are you a friend of Dorothy?”).
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue.
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.
Baker’s original flag featured eight colors, each imagined as symbolizing a different West Coast gay positive. Hot pink was sexuality, red was life, orange: healing, yellow: sunlight, green: nature, turquoise: magic/art, indigo: serenity/harmony, violet: spirit. When the flag was merchandised, the hot pink stripe was removed to due fabric unavailability. Later, the turquoise stripe was removed so that there was an even number of stripes, necessary for proper display on San Francisco’s Market Street lamp posts. Who needs magic/art anyway? Now just six strips wide, the rainbow colors have come to represent the diversity of the LGBTQ(I?A?) community.
The diversity of the LGBTQ(I?A?) community is reflected in the style at Pride events. We notice the outlandish: the Drag Race competitors and the rainbow adorned, the nudity and the “group of butch women in backwards Kangol hats.” That’s what my friend Adam texted me after, “Pride week has the worst style.” But he was there, in the thick of it, and he’s the Audrey Hepburn of 21st century hetero male style; très chic.
“Taste is not a requisite to rights,” I replied. Everyone should have the right to their taste in what they put on their bodies, be it clothes or partners.
See, I’m of the Nancy Botwin school of sexuality: whatever gets you off, so long as it’s done with consent. That means no children, no animals, no rape or grey area rape. But everything else—giver.
More than half of my friends are gay or bisexual. More than half of my co-workers are gay or bisexual. My last boyfriend liked to dress in women’s undergarments. My first boyfriend convinced me to shave my head. In a city like New York, in the liberal bubble of fashion, 2013 can feel like a queer utopia. But such is my privilege.
In Russia, the St. Petersburg Pride march ended with several gay rights activists getting arrested for violating a new federal law against “gay propaganda.” The law condemns those providing information about the LGBT community in public or to minors. It reflects a widespread hostility to homosexuality shared by much of Russia’s elite.
Performing at New York’s Pride rally, Lady Gaga reminded the crowd that, despite legislative gains, like the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), our fight for equality is far from over. New York has seen a rash of homophobic attacks of late. “The violence that has taken place towards LGBTs in the past months,” Gaga declared, “is unacceptable here and anywhere.”
Earlier this week, one of my mentor figures convinced me that Kanye West is gay. Same for George Clooney, Puff Daddy, Will Smith, Vin Diesel and Diane Von Furstenberg. I wasn’t hard to convince. All he had to say was, “Kanye’s gay.” A homo utopist, I’ve long held the belief that the majority of Western history’s paradigm shifting culture has been made by proud queers and crypto gays (also, Ashkenazi Jews): Kathy Acker, John Ashbery, James Baldwin, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Roland Barthes, David Bowie, William Burroughs, John Cage, Truman Capote, Colette, Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin, James Dean, Betty Dodson, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Michel Foucault, Greta Garbo, Allen Ginsberg, Jasper Johns, Frida Kahlo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Friedrich Nietzsche, Anais Nin, Frank O’Hara, Oprah, Cole Porter, Marcel Proust, Arthur Rimbaud, Sappho, Maurice Sendak, Socrates, Susan Sontag, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Virginia Woolf. Living in a world that didn’t reflect their desires, these figures had to get extra creative.
Does Miley Cyrus know how gay her look is?
Dan Savage insists that the most important action an individual can take to further gay rights is to come out. In Russia, where homophobia is so rampant, only 7 percent of individuals say they personally know a gay person, according to the February Levada poll. Similar polls in our United States of America have found that number to be over 50 percent. Knowing someone who is gay is the number one reason that people who support gay marriage now but didn’t always cite as having changed their mind.
I would like to extend Dan Savage’s idea about coming out as gay to coming out in terms of all alternative sexualities. Sexual orientation isn’t just about gender preference. Polyamory/polygamy, monogamy/mish, and singledom are preferences. Liking BBWs and/or BDSM are preferences. Exhibitionism is a preference—Anthony Weiner is a Pride icon! If we consider of all the variations of human sexuality, enacted and imagined, the gender of one’s partner becomes quite minor. Like, Sarah Palin. What a pervert. I mean, how many kids do you need?
Imagine if all of the public figures in the world today were forced to come out. I bet most of Hollywood and many pastors would be gay. But not just gay. There’d be pederasts and romantics, cheaters and cuddlers, foot fetishists and adult babies, mutual masturbators and wet dreamers.
Last week, reporting on Milan Men’s Fashion Week, I wrote about the political potential of the fashion world’s queerness. Fashion is one of the gayest industries. It is often marginalized for that, for being feminine and frivolous. But fashion is becoming more mainstream; look at Kanye. As fashion joins up with industries like film, art and music, homo acceptance may come with it.
(N.B. About Kanye: I don’t mean that because the dude likes clothes, he’s obviously gay—the association of homosexuality with fashion is prejudice towards straight men. I feel for my women-loving bro-friends who wanna rock the runways without branding themselves as only into cock. I like the idea that Kanye is gay because it makes better sense of lyrics like, “But I’d rather be a dick than a swallower.”)
In my happy-gay utopia, not only is everyone accepted for their sexual diversity, they are encouraged in their sartorial diversity. Pride style is not bad style, it’s just non-normative. Normative style is blaaah-and. It’s top-down, manufactured to fit in. I’m not saying we should all be encrusted with diamond rainbows. I am PROUD of my uniform styling. I’m just saying…
In honor of Pride 2013, I would like to come out as a wannabe bisexual who usually ends up with dudes because I’m lazy and shy (not a pursuer); whose ideal relationship is a love partnership which allows for slutty encounters on the side; who tries hard to be GGG but loves it most when she can be an adored submissive; who watches porn daily; who gets turned on when shopping for expensive clothes; and who is exhibitionistic only over the internet.
Love is love!