Over The Rainbow (Flag)

The weekend I was in Washington DC coincided with their Gay Pride parade on Saturday & the Equality march on Sunday. Both of which had record breaking participation – in a clear show of defiance to the current administration. One of the side effects of both was the flood of the rainbow in every form including flags. They were everywhere: beads, hankies, stickers, tiaras, shorts, temp tattoos. At one time I would have seen this is a good sign, now I feel that it has all the sincerity of a … sidewalk Santa.

It has become a commercial ploy as opposed to a sign of political or ideological support. The message is ‘we are friendly to your wallet – your wallet being the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow’. Liquor stores displayed rainbow stripped bottles that I’m sure will be gone asap after the parades. Like Easter chocolates sold off or stored away until the next cash in opportunity.

Recently there’s been some ‘dissension’ over the addition of two more bands to the flag – one black, one brown – to make it more inclusive – I had never realized the the colors on the flag represented different ethic groups – I though it was meant to represent the bold colourful queer life style. There is no white stripe. But what ever allows people to feel more included is fine by me. Next they’ll have to add a grey streak to include the aging queer population. Because if there’s a group that seems to be under-represented that is the one.

The DC Pride Parade was stopped for an hour or so by a protest non-commercial Gay pride march. It seems as much as the commercialization of gay, of the flag, has gained in public tolerance there are many who find what these corporations represent ethically objectionable.

I’m a little too shallow to know what those exact objections are – but much like Black Lives Matters points out the dichotomy of allowing those that have a history of oppression representation in the parade, I accept that commercialization now places Pride at an interesting deciding point.

My take on commercialization is sort of two fold- Firstly I am not the target demographic for any of these corporations – I object to liquor companies capitalizing on Pride to sell the community a substance that is so destructive. In Toronto the ‘safe space’ for non-drinkers was reduced year after year – partly I think, because it didn’t serve the Brewery’s mandate – they didn’t understand why the safe space wouldn’t accept a gift of de-alcoholized beer.

The other fold is that all too often money is there for star power while local talent is usually expected to perform for free, or next-to-free, to show their support for the movement. If they are lucky they’ll get a free rainbow flag sticker. You know where they can stick their flag.

Then, again, perhaps my real issue is that my ego can’t take being ignored by tens of thousands of men at one time.

The Original of The Species

I did not

copy your runway walk

paint in your style

well

maybe I did take a little

you can’t blame me though

consider it flattery

I didn’t do it as well as you did

at least

I don’t think I did

no matter what others say

I didn’t try to do you

better than you do yourself

I never claimed to be the originator

just because I didn’t credit you

with being my inspiration

merely means

I knew everyone would see through me

would see you

not me

the fact that they didn’t

isn’t my fault

I’m not using your name

to get ahead

I’m not denying your influence

to suppress you

I’m denying it because

I have the power to do so

which was one of the best things

you taught me

how to use what power I have

to minimize the obvious influence

of others so my reflection of you

has now becomes the real deal

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

meandchap

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