Gay Pride?

Americans can be proud of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Louis Armstrong, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Neil Armstrong, Pocahontas and a multitude of others. For the Brits, there is Chaucer, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Winston Churchill and again, a host of others. The Hungarians can pump their chest for Joseph Pulitzer, Franz Liszt, Leo Szilard and a long list of others. The Jews, the Christian, the Hindus, the Muslims – no matter how you split it up – all have lengthy lists of people that have contributed to humanity. Some people are in several lists, obviously, depending on what pride category is chosen.

By extension and following protocol – the gays have Leonardo Da Vinci, Alan Turing – the mathematical genius that played a tremendously important role in saving the world from the Nazis, Michelangelo, Alexander the Great, Jane Addams – the Nobel Prize winning social worker – and many, many more.   These are all people that shaped civilization as we know it and produced a legacy far beyond what the rest of us simple folk can even dream of bestowing upon future generations.

If we choose to categorize, then gays too have much to be proud of and there can be no argument that their influence has been tremendous; Leonard Bernstein,  Josephine Baker, Thorton Wilder, the great philosopher Wittgenstein, Hadrian, Emperor Hui of the Chinese Han Dynasty fame, and thousands more.

What is common to these lists is that all of these people were very, very serious. Innovators, courageous and gifted, they followed their passions and talents and created, to one degree or another, something for the rest of mankind to follow.

The categorizations of these lists do make sense, to a certain degree.  Louis Armstrong may have never reached the musical heights he did if he were raised in Chile and not in America. It is doubtful that Churchill would have had his finest hour from the balcony of a Swedish apartment and there is no question that the untimely death of a young boyhood friend of Alan Turing influenced his entire word outlook.

In essence, however, these categorizations are really just a backdrop for human greatness, just the setting for the flower to grow, but they are not for the most part the seed itself. Alexander the Great did not want to be remembered for being gay. He had other battles to fight. Leonardo Da Vinci, from the city-state of Florence, just wanted to make his creations and studies wherever possible and with whomever would give him the chance. Leonard Bernstein, the Jewish and gay musical genius, wanted to leave as his legacy his compositions, his conducting and his profound series of lectures on music and music history. Bernstein’s Jewish self and gay self were his own private affair; not so his music.There are people, gay or otherwise, that transcend their unique circumstances and give to the world something lasting, powerful and exceptional. We lower forms of life like to add them to our own categories in order to catch a glimpse of their rays of greatness. If I am a Jew and Einstein is a Jew, than that must make me pretty special. Would Einstein have been Einstein had he not been Jewish (could I then share in that pride)? I certainly do not know the answer to that one, but it is probable that he would have not been the same Albert Einstein, and Hadrian would have not been the same Hadrian if he had not lived in the time of the great Roman emperors.

It would seem, therefore, that if there were great Native Americans, their descendants would want to continue that tradition of greatness. So too with the Jews, the Norwegians, the Buddhists and whatever categorization one finds useful for his own self identification. Carrying on a tradition of greatness is, somehow, important for the betterment of the world.

It is for this reason that I simply cannot understand the Gay Pride parades. What exactly is there to be proud about? One’s sexuality? You are what you are.  You don’t see Straight Pride parades, or Brunette Pride parades or Vegetarian Pride parades. Of course, I will be accused of being slightly disingenuous; nobody persecutes brunettes or vegetarians or straights. Gay Pride is the statement that a gay person has nothing to be ashamed of and the in your face stance is the tactic used for displaying this protest. I get it. I really do; but allow me to digress……………….

Jews are persecuted and Christians are persecuted and the Yazidis are persecuted and primitive tribes all over the third world are persecuted, but you do not see pride parades. You do see parades of American pride and Zionist pride and Brazilian pride, to be sure, but these pride parades are all backed by something essential – human accomplishment. All societies have things that are truly important contributions to mankind and all societies have issues to be less than proud of. When Israelis tout their great breakthroughs in agriculture and medicine, for instance, they are showing real, empirical reason for their pride. They have contributed something to humanity.

What are gays showing their pride in? Not in Da Vinci and not in Jane Addams. Rather, their gay pride is simply about the fact that they are gay. I am not proud that I am a heterosexual (although, I am relieved). My sexuality is not in any way, shape or form, something that I feel goes with any concept of pride. I would love to be the guy that cures Alzheimer’s disease or creates a new form of art. That would make me proud, for sure. But my sexuality? Who cares?

This point is essential for understanding the entire folly of the gay parades. Sorry to let out the secret, gay people, but nobody cares that you are gay. Absolutely nobody. Even the Haredim do not care – they simply do not want you to flaunt it publicly; truth be told, they also do not want heterosexuality publicly and brazenly flaunted. One’s personal sexuality interests the Haredim, the religious Zionists and even the secular about as much as a daffodil interests a hungry walrus.

You desire to be accepted but you refuse to accept the fact that other people, with other ideas about sexuality, also exist. It is a two way street. Or, dare I say, a both ways street? Leave it alone. The rights you demand will or will not become reality in a year or in a hundred years, but whatever the outcome, your parades accomplish nothing positive, absolutely nothing. Perhaps it is time you started to think about true human value and accomplishment and just be gay in the silence of your homes. In the meantime, try taking  up a brush and creating a masterpiece.

About the Author
Asher Keren writes about science and philosophy, is an author and religious settler who has lived in Israel for over thirty years.