More thanks to Tom (a.k.a. Tet) for his third guest piece here:
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This was originally a piece that was sent to one of my correspondents when he asked me why gays were always being demonstrative and flamboyant whenever you saw them on television.
So, no shit, there I was. My son was in the 101st AirAssault at Fort Campbell Kentucky. I had heard that a gay soldier had been beaten to death in the shower there, so I called him and some friends of mine in Nashville.
My son knew some gay soldiers (both genders) that were in his unit. As a longtime political activist, I wanted to make sure that if someone was killed that it wasn’t hushed up just because he was gay. This went double for the guys in any outfit my boy was in.
So, I met with three soldiers at my friend Barbara’s house and we talked about what was happening and I made suggestions on how they could monitor the investigation that was going on. They were pretty interesting people, by and large. The young lady actually could fall asleep with her eyes open–I had never seen that before.
That weekend was the Gay Pride parade in Nashville. They invited me to go along–they’d be marching, but not in uniform and I could walk along and observe things from the inside.
Now, remember that I was 17 when Easy Rider came out on the drive-in screen. I *knew* what the South was like on a visceral level, and that I’d be taking my life in my hands if I did this.
Of course, I said, “hell, yes.” You never have too much excitement in yer life.
So, we assembled up on one of the ridges there–Nashville is a series of hills around a river. The crowd wasn’t particularly flamboyant, nobody kissing or anything. There were some Bears on motorcycles (damn nice bikes, too) and a float with some remarkable (and one REALLY ugly) drag queens.
So we headed off to the river down all the tourist streets–past the Ryman Auditorium and Music Row to the park there. Nobody noticed. I was floored. Occasionally a tourist would snap a picture, a bored cop would halt traffic for five minutes. No catcalls, no religious fanatics, no bricks, nothing.
Actually, it was sort of an anticlimax.
However, to get to the point that I originally intended to make, there was a minimum of outre crap in the parade. When I looked at the news footage that night (in a thirty-second segment), the reporters had picked 15 seconds of footage of folks that I hadn’t even noticed that were acting up.
I think that the mainstream media likes to keep things stirred up, so they pick the weird stuff to air. After all, 100 normal-acting gay people marching down the street isn’t news, right?
I guess part of mature wisdom is nothing more than having seen so much that you have a good idea what to expect. I expect politicians to be crooked, never give a comment to a newsperson (and they’re very tricky sometimes,) expect TV to be soundbites and leave people the hell alone. For the most part, they return the favor.
~By Tom (a.k.a. Tet)