Gay rights parades, those annual celebrations of the 1969 Stonewall riot, are festivals of the shocking. In cities across the land, Dykes on Bikes, looking for all the world like Hell’s Angels, roar by on souped-up Harleys. Elaborate floats carry flocks of perfectly primped, besequined young men, queens for a day. And someone usually parades wearing only a smile.
Bruce Bawer despises those parades and the hypersexualized image of gayness that they convey. Pride days do not show his gayness, and amid the continuing struggle for tolerance they offer a “bonanza for the [intolerant] religious right.” In A Place at the Table, published in 1994, Bawer spoke up for homosexuals whose sexual orientation, while more than a bedroom sport, amounts to less than a life. He wrote that book to describe “normal” gay life to the confused adolescent who, standing at a newsstand, furtively slips a gay porn magazine between the pages of Rolling Stone; to celebrate gay couples who have created their own havens in a heartless world; and to nudge the gay silent majority, those who don’t act up or act out, into making themselves known....
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