R Conrad

Cry Sissy Cry!: Gay shame hosts a goth cry-in to poo poo corporate pride

Filed By R Conrad | June 29, 2010 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Equality California, gay pride, gay shame, in-action event, pride season, San Francisco

It's that time of year...

640_cry-inrev.jpgFeeling depressed this time of year? Can't shake the sadness of seeing those horrifying USA/rainbow flags everywhere you go? Having trouble even leaving your bedroom for fear that you will be confronted by yet another Equality California canvasser? Do you get the feeling you are being followed by corporate pride? YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND HELP IS JUST DAYS AWAY!!

Gay Shame hosted a cry-in with about fifty sissy goth queers in attendance at the LGBT Center (described as one of the most depressing spaces in all of SF by the group) in the heart of San Francisco on Sunday June 27th. The event was an "in-action" meant to create space to allow queer activists grieving room to mourn the death of meaningful, community based pride events.

Photos after the jump...

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Outfits sponsored by Hot Topic?

This is amazing. I love Gay Shame.

Amazing action!!! We need to see more or this, and much less of most everything else Pride related.

Oh my! Well nothing that I may say here will seem constructive. But my take on it differs. I remember when I was 13 and my city was having the very first pride there which was an unapproved march. I wasn't able to go because it was too far away and I didn't have a ride. But that 13 year old boy needed to know that it was happening.
I went to Boston Pride this year and loved it and a few of my students have asked me about it because they were not able to go. But a couple of them are 14 year old boys and they just needed to know that it was happening. And while I was there I ran into a couple of girls who are seniors and who marched in my band last year and one boy who is in college and was a student here for five years and marched in my band and they were finally able to go and they just needed it to happen.

I see where you're coming from. The Gay Shame protesters don't seem to see the position of enormous privilege that informs their protest.

I mean, Pride parades in Russia were busted by the cops; Pride parades here still bring out all the fundamentalist crazies; the Texas and Montana Republicans officially want to jail us; and we still face officially sanctioned discrimination.

So what's the biggest, most hot-button political issue for these Gay Shame people? Corporate presence at Pride parades. If these Gay Shame folks were in a place like Oklahoma or Latvia, the presence of Budweiser floats at a Pride parade would probably be the least of their concerns.

And I think it's safe to say that 13-year-olds growing up in provincial towns with nary an accepting soul within 20 miles would be far more inspired by a Pride parade in San Francisco or New York and the crowds of contentedly out GLBT people and straight supporters -- even with all the corporate sponsors -- than they would be by Gay Shame's little performance.

I was glad to hear about this "protest." Good for the goth sissies and screw corporate PRIDE! And btw, they're so right about the SF LGBT Center. It is one depressing concrete monolith, totally unwelcoming and not surprising in the least it's in such a dire financial straits.

I remember a few years ago when Met Life insurance had a booth at Indy Pride. They were the first company to have a booth instead of local orgs, etc.

At the time it was exciting to see a company take notice of our community - even if it was just as a demographic. We'd hit the "mainstream," it seemed.

Now Pride events are dominated by commercial interests and I miss the days of handmade signs that showed the marchers' joy in being exactly who they were.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 30, 2010 12:57 AM

The various LGBT movements for social justice are fighting at a disadvantage. One is entirely internal.

As small as our communities are and as scare as our resources are, we've managed to attract a parasitic layer of hustlers and bureaucratic self-appointed leaders who siphon off huge salaries.

Most of them operate front groups for the Democrats like HRC, EQCA and other state 'equality coalitions', and single issue groups like SLDN. Their main goal seems to be hustling votes for Democrats and hustling corporate donations to pay themselves those ridiculous salaries.

Over the years I've watched them ruin Pride, turning it from militant to mousy. They continue to try to derail the movement into electoral fantasies of electing the elusive lesser evil, the bringer of hopey and changey.

The lack of a national, democratic, militant fighting organization to politically combat the Democrats and self-appointed movement hustlers is something we have to urgently address.

Good for the goths.

no more spoiled brats | June 30, 2010 12:18 PM

White, able bodied, well fed, well costumed and tattooed (money needed for this), free time (no jobs) -- all of which is the hallmark of power and privilege. Obnoxious middle class brats. The privilege and arrogance of a self-bloated and smug bourgeoisie.

people from social welfare states like canada should hardly be the frist to spew about privlege. (how's your healthcare and welfare going!?)

besides your distraction about privilege doesn't address the fact that their critique about s.f. pride being corporate and boring as shit is so true and that their (in)action was totally funny.

The comment about privilege is not a "distraction" at all; it's a perfectly legitimate criticism of what these kids are doing.

They have the luxury of being able to worry about something like corporations' presence at Pride parades, which, while understandably distasteful to many, is actually quite trivial and ultimately not a real issue; large parades in general have a large corporate presence, and Pride parades are hardly unique in this regard. All these "Gay Shame" people are doing is showing how much they take for granted the privilege they have living in one of the most gay-friendly places in the world.

As I mentioned before, if these Gay Shame kids were 13-year-olds growing up in some little town in Oklahoma with fundamentalist Christian parents, their crying and "poo-pooing" would be the result of being gay in the middle of nowhere and feeling alone, hopeless and suicidal, not seeing a fucking Budweiser float.

There's no better term to describe these people than "spoiled brats." The whole point of Pride parades is to show that we're going to be ourselves, fight for our rights and not let the prejudice and hatred of others get us down. Regardless of corporations' presence, that still sends a far more powerful and positive message to people like the hypothetical 13-year-old or those living in repressive countries than a bunch of fucking whiny losers who neither have nor want a clue about how incredibly lucky they are.

"a bunch of fucking whiny losers who neither have nor want a clue about how incredibly lucky they are."

Gay Shame consists of activists from varied walks of life and age demographics. I happen to know a fair number of them, and they've been working on gentrification (as in being opposed to it) and other issues for years. A fair number are fighting to hold on to the housing they already have - but San Francisco as you doubtless know, or should know, is not exactly the land of cheap housing.

And as for gay-friendly? Well, yes, if you're rich and gay, yes, Newsom and his kind bend over backwards for you. If you're one of those 13-year-olds from a small town in Oklahoma, the kind that you so conveniently evoke, and you show up in SF homeless and broke, your chances of survival are pretty slim. Want more info? Look up the history of social services for the homeless and queer youth in San Francisco, and please try to look without rose-coloured glasses that shield you from the reality of the "most gay-friendly places in the world."

And if you've got proof that they are "fucking whiny losers," you should be more specific. Someone isn't a "fucking whiny loser" just because their politics don't mesh with yours. That attitude and those words are just well, so, immature and angry. Almost like an extremely immature and angry 13-year-old's...

Corporate presence anywhere, not just at Pride, is a huge issue in a number of public realms. You might have noticed that there's a general groundswell of resistance to corporations everywhere. It's not simply the *presence* that people object, it's what they represent and the very great harm that corporations are causing. In the case of Pride, I think it's evident in this and several other posts that a lot of people are getting fed up with the rank commercialisation of Pride and are wondering where the politics went to. And by the way, those who complain about commercialisation come from sides of the political spectrum - those who are for gay marriage as well as queer radicals. The critique isn't as black-and-white as you paint them.

Well, when I attended Evil Corporate Pride 2010 here in New York, a lot of the floats and marchers included organizations that help those homeless and broke GLBT teens, in other words, organizations that actually do something to help people.

I mean, what do these Gay Shame people actually think they're accomplishing with these little stunts? I guarantee you, nothing is going to change because a bunch of people dressed up like attendees of a Bauhaus concert and complained about corporate influence over Pride parades. And furthermore, none of the genuinely suffering people out there will have a better life because of it.

So that's why I call them "fucking whiny losers." Theatrical protests like theirs draw a few stares, but ultimately, they accomplish nothing. If they want to make a difference, then maybe they can do something to help those GLBT people whose circumstances are far too dire to worry about corporate floats at Pride parades. Maybe volunteer for the Trevor Project or something...

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 1, 2010 12:43 AM

So now Alaric is comparing NGO aid groups to BP and Haliburton.

That's not weak, it's just bizarre.

What next?

Excuse me, when did I mention BP or Halliburton in my post? Never...

And how exactly am I comparing the Trevor Project to any corporation? I would say I struggle to comprehend your logic, but I don't think you have any logic to comprehend.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 1, 2010 5:31 AM

You mentioned corporations several times without criticizing their baleful influence on our movements for equality. BP and Haliburton are examples of corporations.

Then you complain that the anti-corporate sentiments of these demonstrators do nothing to help people injured and constrained by the corporate influence on LGBT NGO's.

That's not true.

You mentioned corporations several times without criticizing their baleful influence on our movements for equality.

You mean their large donations to GLBT groups, or the benefits they give to GLBT employees under threat of boycotts from groups like the American Family Association?

BP and Haliburton are examples of corporations.

They're also examples of corporations that did not march in or sponsor any Pride events that I'm aware of...

Then you complain that the anti-corporate sentiments of these demonstrators do nothing to help people injured and constrained by the corporate influence on LGBT NGO's.

They're free to have their anti-corporate sentiments. What I'm saying, however, is that those sentiments are irrelevant to GLBT rights, unless you're talking about corporations that practice or facilitate discrimination against GLBT people. This is little more than an attempt by far-left radicals to hijack the GLBT rights movement for their own ends.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | July 2, 2010 4:38 PM

Alaric, really, you need megadoses of reality.

Corporations ended the tenuous rule of democracy sometime between the end of the Civil War and the end of the 'frontier' with the pervasive power of money. They had it and used it buy and own the political process.


"An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought." Mark Hanna, Republican National Committee Chairman (1896)

Then the looter class, the corporations, expanded their 'frontier' by stealing Spanish colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam, suppressing native populations and establishing US colonies in their place just as they done from the Atlantic to the Pacific.


Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purposeā€”and you allow him to make war at pleasure. Abraham Lincoln


The US corporate states latest adventure has murdered over a million people from Palestine to Pakistan, half of them very young Iraqi children and babies, and over six thousand GI's.


That's why I used the examples of BP and Haliburton. They epitomize the multinationals that are capable of simultaneously turning the Gulf of Mexico into a killing field for whole species and turning the Gulf of Arabia red with blood.


The essence of corporatism is to squeeze out the last drop of blood and profit from workers and consumers. And you somehow approve because Coors passes out money to hide their homohating bigotry.


Your defense of corporations and corporate life is highly objectionable to anyone who values the fight for real democracy and admires the audacity of radicalized youth.


Mark Twain was thinking about you when he said "It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them."

"fucking whiny losers" is indicative of your rage against them, but it doesn't describe any of them in any detail, and you have presented no substantive critique of them - and you've made it amply clear that you know nothing about SF queer politics and that you don't want to know, but you feel the right to dismiss the work done by activists there.

As for volunteering for the Trevor Project - again, can I just say how tired I am of teh gayz shamelessly using youth and suicide issues to make a point - as if those protesting Pride events were somehow outside of the concerns facing those who might need the service of the Project, or were not, perhaps themselves those in need of the Project? As if suicidal youth are not, perhaps, themselves *not* given to a queer critique of Pride. As if, perhaps, suicidal youth might not even be actually driven to dark thoughts because the narrow range of options presented to them by a mainstreamed "gay community" appears so completely shallow and meaningless. Why does it never occur to mainstream gays that perhaps their politics and ideology and the deadening way of life they espouse are, in fact, deeply depressing to many people? Why pretend that everyone watching a Pride event is either unabashedly happy or a loser if they're not?

In the world you portray and live in - which strikes me as an extraordinarily privileged one - there are only two kinds of gays. There are the haves, who support corporate Pride and the whiny anti-corporate-Pride protestors who don't because ... well, you really have no idea why, so all you can do is call them "losers" (which is a term of derision that clearly marks them as the have-nots, on a number of levels - I doubt any of them would argue with you on that score). But it appears to escape your notice that several of the people who have problems with Pride are, in fact, among your kind - they support marriage and the rest, and they actually think Pride isn't political enough either, for different reasons. They might not join Gay Shame but they've got problems with corporate Pride. And there are also radical queers who might have differences with Gay Shame and have their own ways of expressing their dissent - such complications! How does all that fit into the tidy little black-and-white world you've constructed?

How much more simplistic can this critique get? Pride = good! Critics of Pride = "fucking whiny losers!" While you're at it, go ahead and make fun of our pathchouli-and-granola-loving ways. And don't forget the Birkenstocks!

Spectacle and drama have been a key component of the most successful marches and protests anywhere, by the way. That's probably why Pride indulges in so much of it. After all, what's the point of having spectacularly costumed drag queens and half-naked men writhe around on floats? How does that prove or change anything? It's all so bloody useless! So childish, and we must put childish things behind us! I mean, what do they think they're accomplishing with these little stunts? None of the genuinely suffering people out there will have a better life because of it.

You see my point?

I've read a number of criticisms of the criticism of Pride (although, interestingly, not here so much). Such criticism so far read like they're made by people who feels a lot of rage against those who disagree with them, are angry about having their privilege questioned, and who can only vent their anger through language like "fucking whiny losers." There is, actually, a complicated conversation to be had about the changing meaning of Pride, as is evident in several other comments here - but from you? Not much more than the typical bitter bile.

As Bill puts it succintly below: What's your point?

As if, perhaps, suicidal youth might not even be actually driven to dark thoughts because the narrow range of options presented to them by a mainstreamed "gay community" appears so completely shallow and meaningless. Why does it never occur to mainstream gays that perhaps their politics and ideology and the deadening way of life they espouse are, in fact, deeply depressing to many people?

Do you have any statistics to back this up? From what I've read, suicidal tendencies among GLBT youth are usually the result of things like internalized homophobia, bullying in school and bigoted families. And what "deadening way of life" are you talking about here? Are you convinced that we're all living in some Beaver Cleaver suburban dystopia with 2.5 kids and a white picket fence or something (that's definitely not the life I envision for myself, just so you know, given my distaste for suburbs and lack of desire to have children)? If "mainstream" gays' politics, ideology and supposedly deadening way of life are enough to drive you to contemplate suicide, then you must be pretty spoiled.

In the world you portray and live in - which strikes me as an extraordinarily privileged one - there are only two kinds of gays.

As far as I can tell, both you and R. Conrad seem to come from fairly well-to-do backgrounds, yes? In addition, you have a PhD from one of the best universities in the country, while Conrad attends an expensive private art school. Well, I grew up poor and fit quite snugly into the "have-not" category for most of my life, and though I'm not poor anymore, I'm certainly not rich by any stretch of the imagination, either. So please spare me the lecture on "privilege," and don't try to portray my comments as indicating scorn for the poor. "Fucking whiny losers," in this context, is my way of pointing out that rather doing something to actually make life better for those people who have very real problems directly related to their being GLBT, the Gay Shame people just want to piss and moan about what is ultimately a contrived issue. I don't know what the backgrounds or present economic situations are for the Gay Shame protesters, but it would be interesting to see how many of them come from low-income families and/or are presently poor due to inescapable circumstances versus "lifestyle poverty," which I've noticed is rather common among far-left circles.

I don't like seeing corporate logos and advertisements everywhere either, and I'm no apologist for exploitation of workers in the Third World or environmental destruction, but frankly, I'd rather have these companies participating in Pride parades and supporting pro-GLBT legislation than bankrolling the churches that picket the parades or throwing their weight around to promote anti-GLBT discrimination. And I'm willing to bet that a lot of those same corporations they're poo-pooing are major employers in the Bay Area, meaning they create jobs for a lot of people.

As for high living costs and gentrification in San Francisco, that's not just because of evil corporations or evil rich white gay men, but because San Francisco is an attractive city with a pretty solid local economy (notwithstanding California's present misfortunes), and a lot of people want to live there. It's for a closely related reason that there's such an abundance of dirt-cheap housing in places like Detroit and Cleveland.

Um, yeah, when I wrote about "privileged circumstances," I wasn't alluding to your personal life but the fact that you do live in NYC, as you've admitted here.

Which also means that you have the freedom of ranting against those whose politics don't agree with your own, or perhaps it's simply a hugely misplaced sense of irrational rage, I don't know. I don't care about whether or not you grew up in poverty - and I don't admire you any more if you did. Jostling for authenticity by placing one's personal narrative at the front and center of politics is never useful, which is why I'm not going to regale you with stories about my glamorous life in some oppression olympics/pissing contest.

At the same time, yes, it makes sense that those who protest poverty and economic inequality are usually those who feel the sting of the same. The US has never been renowned for its owning class rising up to defeat the forces of inequality, you know? Yet, if there are those who have privilege among GS (and I'm not saying there are, but hypothetically), doesn't it say something that they would still fight against the very privilege they would benefit from? As opposed to, you know, those who gain privilege and then fight to keep it, despite having known poverty in an earlier life?

You see how all this gets muddied and ridiculous and a distraction from the post.

And if they're all desperately poor, would THAT make you have an actual conversation about the politics of Pride? I think not. You've got got some deep animus against Ryan, Mattilda and me, and every comment you leave on our posts is revealing.

Next time one of us in your (Un)Holy Trinity writes something, ask yourself: would you really have anything to say if it weren't written by us? Or are you just using this opportunity to vent your anger against us? Take this warning for what it's worth before you explode (and I'm giving it you free, as a PhD from "one of the best universities in the country"): Your anger and your bile will eat you up.

And your uninformed analysis of how San Francicisco's economy works again conveniently leaves out the reality of what's happening to queer youth there, which proves my point about how teh gayz keep resurrecting the spectre of "our children" but don't really give a damn about them when push comes to shove. As for the nature of the gay agenda - I used the word "espouse," not "live." Fantasies about perfection are dangerous and deadening precisely because they're fantasies.

At any rate, you've revealed that this is all pretty personal to you and you've got no interest in a dialogue with anyone here. So, hey, go at it and keep arguing. I've made all the points about the OP that I needed to and really don't want to spend any time swapping hardship stories with you.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to answer the door to the maid who's here to clean my penthouse. The butler has the day off.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 30, 2010 6:09 PM

"if these Gay Shame kids were 13-year-olds growing up in some little town in Oklahoma" but they're not. They're in SF protesting the right turn made by movement hustlers eager to raise corportate funds to maintin their bloated salaries and wanna-be looter class lifestyles.

If they were growing up in Teheran instead of Enid they'd be arrested, tortured and hanged.

What's your point about the reality of their protest, not some make believe protest in OK?