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Gay pride in SF: Nothing to be proud of

The organizers of San Francisco’s gay pride parade this year have banned the Israeli float, but have okayed pro-Palestinian ones. That was the news I woke up to this morning. How edifying. Except it’s not really news. We’ve become used to the ridiculous spectacle of “Queers for Palestine” banners and the grotesquely accoutered creatures holding them.

It’s hard to speak of such a thing as gay pride anymore. The word “gay” has been replaced in any case by a bewildering jumble of letters, LGBTQ and counting. What they spell is shame: shame on the ideologues who have co-opted a movement that advocated human and civil rights for law-abiding homosexual men and women and have turned it into a war against nature in general and the American family in particular. The solemn foolery of academic “queer studies”, the “intersectional” melding of gay rights with the malign and divisive agendas of identity politics and race politics, the creation and imposition of bizarre new pronouns, the denial of the reality of the biological distinction between men and women, and the force feeding of this malign, imbecilic nonsense to children in schools, is shameful. It goes beyond shame. It is no exaggeration to call it an abomination. Is it not surprising than antisemitism, that ancient evil, that denial of the moral and ethical Covenant between our common Creator and the people of the Bible— a denial, really, of the common human denominator itself— should be the latest ingredient in this devilish brew?

Israel protects homosexual citizens and their rights in a civilized way, not because it is secular— the once-great city of San Francisco is secular— but because it is Jewish. There are bigots and fanatics among our tribe, to be sure. But it may be argued that it is because of our Covenant, the bond with our Father in Heaven that defines our outward culture and our inner life, that we are, constitutionally, a gentle, thoughtful, kind people, not a nation of haters and killers. The book of Leviticus bans sodomy— and at that it may be argued that the reference is to forcible violation— but the Mishnah also says that the love of David and Jonathan is the paradigm of all love and is love in its purest form.

Make no mistake: “Queers for Palestine” and the SF pride parade organizers do not advocate peace and understanding in the Middle East or anywhere else. They aren’t gentle, thoughtful, or kind. They are not your friends or mine, gay or straight, Jew or Gentile. They couldn’t care less about those beleaguered Palestinian Arab gay people who flee to green-line Israel from Judea and Samaria (and Gaza, too, when they can) because their own hate-driven families hire killers to murder them and benighted Muslim society and law approve of it. What I am saying is not “pinkwashing”— that stupid and mendacious neologism designed to obfuscate the reality of gay rights in Israel and reduce it to mere propaganda. I’ve talked to some of those Arab gay people myself, in west Jerusalem.

No, the San Francisco parade is no longer a celebration of human diversity and freedom. It is a desolate display of confusion and hatred, a demonstration in support of unfreedom, of the perversion of values, thought, and human language. It is approbation of the brutality of Hamas and its ilk, of the murder by terrorists of Jews because they are Jews. Shame on San Francisco for tolerating it. Shame on anyone who marches in it.

I am of a generation that fought for civil rights here in America for Black people, for gay people, for all my fellow citizens. I fought and marched for gay rights in my hometown, New York City, when it was not just unpopular but downright dangerous to do so. Dennis, my partner of 44 years, died this January: we stayed together resolutely through decades when we had no social or legal status or protection, when we sometimes had to be very discreet about what we were, when our friends were dying of AIDS and nobody cared. We were part of the original, authentic gay movement. If the gay movement of today had a face, I would spit in that face. It is a betrayal of everything we fought for.

I live in Fresno, California. This town is less than 200 miles as the crow flies from San Francisco, but light years away in every other way. The wealthy Bay Area, for all its natural beauty— which God, not man, created— creates expensive gadgets for social isolation and control. The much poorer Central Valley grows the food and wine on your table. Sun Maid raisins. Ninety percent of the planet’s almonds. The SF degenerates will be waving rainbow flags reconfigured to emulate and celebrate Hamas. Men and women here in Fresno will be saluting the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth of July.

There are all kinds of people in this town: Christians, Muslims, and Jews; Mexicans and Anglos; Armenians and Turks; Hmong, Cambodians, Laotians, Vietnamese, and good old Okies from Muskogee; Republicans and Democrats; and, yes, gays and straights. Somehow we get along most of the time.

At 70, I’m not ashamed to be gay. It’s just part of who I am. But I’m not proud of it, either, and in fact it’s time to shelve the whole “gay pride” thing. The whole concept of pride seems to me to be overrated: the Bible does not recommend it as a virtue at all. How about gratitude, humility, fidelity, and courage? Those are qualities to celebrate and inculcate. But pride, too, has its place: one may be proud of the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, this Republic. I gather that at Stanford, that Harvard of the West Coast, and thus, nothing to be proud of, there are graffiti saying “Death to America” alongside “Death to Israel”. There is no iron curtain preventing anybody who doesn’t like this country from leaving. Might one suggest to the cosseted social justice warriors-cum-lotus-eaters of Stanford and Berkeley that they join hands with the Queers for Palestine of the city by the Bay and decamp all together to queer-friendly Iran or Gaza? Jump in the Pacific and head west. Hell, I’ll chip in a quarter towards their swim.

About the Author
Born New York City to Sephardic Mom and Ashkenazic Dad, educated at Bronx Science HS, Columbia, Oxford, SOAS (Univ. of London), professor of ancient Iranian at Columbia, of Armenian at Harvard, lectured on Jewish studies where now live in retirement: Fresno, California. Published many books & scholarly articles. Belong to Chabad.
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