As June is GLBTQ Pride Month, many of my acquaintances ask themselves and others the same question: “Is Pride still relevant today?” I think that many of us ask ourselves the exact same question. What may have seemed radical and trendy fifty years ago – is it just as important today? We have evolved as a society and in many ways being GLBTQ no longer carries the stigma that it may have invoked “back in the day.” With the amount of progress that we have made, “Is pride still necessary?”
Last week, as an afterthought, I was sent to the my state’s conference on HIV/AIDS which is held annually throughout the state. It has been a number of years since I’ve attended one and I was anxious to see what, if any, personnel changes had occurred since the last time I was present at one. The convocation was sponsored by the state-wide health department and featured a number of guest presenters from across the southeastern region of the USA.
Occasionally, I somehow manage to stumble upon a particular inspiring piece of wisdom that seems appropriate to a particular action or event in my life, either past or present. I realize that I am probably not the best man for being considered “typical,” however, I also know that my own life isn’t all that far removed from humanity as to be deemed anything other than average. When I saw this observation several weeks ago, it reminded me of an incident from my past and inspired this post.
In my warped and convoluted way of thinking – which I am among the first to admit is very nudecentric (nude-focused) – a mixed couple is nothing more than one partner in the relationship who prefers being bare and the other partner who prefers to be textile (clothed). That’s how I define a mixed couple. It’s not a judgment on the individuals who make up the couple, just a means of defining them – together. It’s how I view them as they relate to Aaron and myself.
In the USA, October is the month dedicated to increasing awareness of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer communities (GLBTQ) collective history. Throughout this entire month, there is a concerted focus on celebrating the achievements and contributions of these communities in both the past and present. In doing so, we hope to guarantee the success of those undertaking accomplishments in the future. Educating others on the many challenges overcome by the GLBTQ individuals in the history of this country and its institutions, both state, sacred and legal, is viewed as one method of attaining this goal.
Often, we see many professional athletes, who are paid enormous and outrageous amounts of money get physical with one another to reward a job-well-done. In both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and in the National Football Association (NFL), countless team-mates give each other a pat or a slap on their buttocks in a congratulatory gesture of goodwill and friendship. Even coaches do the same as a show of support to their players and a way of offering encouragement. No one complains of bodily harm, excessive violence, sexual harassment or indecency.
We’re almost to the end of August, the final full month of the Summer, 2017. As for me, I’m left wondering, “where did this season go?” It seems as though we just observed the the beginning of the Summer, and now here it is, entering into the count-down for the last couple of weeks before another season. Autumn, arrives. It doesn’t seem fair that my personal favorite season of the year is the shortest, even though I know that this isn’t the case at all!
To the best of my knowledge, there is no official government proclamation in any country designating today as Gay Nudists Day (also known as Gay Naturists Day) . For almost as long as I’m able to remember, that’s just what today is: a date to celebrate being a same gender loving man who prefers clothes-freedom. To be honest, I’m uncertain as to who informed me of this observance. One instance does remain set in my mind. I was once a member of a gay nude social club in the Washington, D.C. area, Lambda Soleil (since inactive). It was the oldest club of gay naturists/nudists in the Washington region (organized in the early 1980’s) and every year they communally observed this occasion.
“The door of the Stonewall had wrought-iron bars across this little peephole, a little wooden thing that slid open. And the man inside would look at you and, if you looked like you belonged there, would let you in.” ~ Chris Babick, describing the entrance to The Stonewall Inn
The Stonewall Inn, a small bar located in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood, was the unlikely site for the birthplace of the modern gay right’s movement. On the night of June 28, 1969, it became a battlefield between homosexual (gay, same gender loving) patrons and local police. This battle was the first of many that were fought throughout the world in the struggle for the dignity and equality of homosexuals everywhere. “Gay Liberation” was born here on this night.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 27, is National HIV Testing Day in the United States. On this date, everyone – no matter their age, gender, race, ethnicity or gender attraction – is encouraged by the U.S. Public Health Service, private health care providers and practitioners and HIV/AIDS service organizations to get tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in order to learn their status. Knowledge is power and knowledge is empowering, especially in regards to our personal health and well-being.