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PAGE 8 Q-Notes ■ July 1987
Pride: What’s It All About?
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the most sensi
ble statement I've ever seen on the
rationale of taking pride in being gay or
lesbian. It was written by Boston activist
and author Brian McNaught in his book,
A Disturbed Peace, and was included in
a recent newsletter of Charlotte's chap
ter oIPFLAG. —Don King
By BRIAN McNAUGHT
The young medical student finally
blurted out the question which had
been gnawing at him. "Do you ever
regret being gay?"
"No," I said with a growing smile.
"Sometimes 1 regret being so totally
identified with my sexual orientation,
but 1 never regret being gay."
"Wouldn't you really rather be
straight?" asked one Jewish member of
"Would you rather be a Christian?" 1
"Think of all the hostility you face,"
commented one black woman. "Be
cause of that, wouldn't you prefer being
"Who's telling who about hostility?" 1
queried. "How much would it take be
fore you wished you were white?"
As supportive as they might become,
many straight people have a lot of
. difficulty thinking of homosexuality as
an intrinsic part of a person's psycholog
ical makeup. Even if they can be con
vinced that gay people didn't choose to
be gay, they still need to hear us admit
we would rather be like them.
1 like being gay. I like knowing there
is something very unique and even mys
terious about me which separates me
from most of the rest of the world. I like
knowing that 1 share a special secret
with a select group of men and women
who lived before me and with those
special few who will follow.
1 like walking at life's edge as a
pioneer, as an individual who must
learn lor himself the meaning of rela
tionship, love of equals, sexuality and
morality. Without the blessing of the
church and society, my life is one outra-
PRIDE IN THE CAROLINAS! Members of the TNT Motor
cycle Club of Columbia, S. C., Joined an estimated 200
gay men and lesbiaih June 21 for Celebration '87, South
Carolina's Pride Week event, at Bell Camp, a University
of South Carolina recreational facility. The six-month-old
club — now with 16 members — offered people at the
event rides on their bikes for $1.
geous experiment after another. 1 like
knowing that if 1 settle into a particular
frame of thought, it is because 1 have
found it appropriate and not because I
was raised to believe that's the way
things must be.
1 like knowing that 1 can go anywhere
in the world and meet someone who
will smile that knowing smile which in
stantly says, "Yes, 1 know; me, too. Isn't it
nice to not be alone? Hang in there." It is
a twinkle and a smile which results not
from being white or male or Catholic or
American. It is a secret smile which only
gay men and lesbians exchange.
I like exchanging that knowing smile
with waiters in Galveston, flight atten
dants in Terre Haute, theater ushers in
Detroit, salespeople in Boston and sun-
bathers in Sarasota. I like to give and
receive those smiles at Mass, at lectures,
in department stores, at the laundromat
and on the street. I like the feeling Tm
I like believing the studies which indi
cate gay folk are generally smarter.
more creative and more sensitive than
nongoy folk. It makes me feel "chosen."
I like knowing that a gay man's dinner
party will usually be more elegant, that
a gay-orchestrated religious service will
usually be more artistic and that a gay
disco will generally be more fun.
I like knowing that that there is for less
class division to be found at most gay
parties. Janitors and lawyers and truck
drivers and librarians are bound to un
knowingly bump elbows and even
likely to sit next to Lily Tomlin, Paul
Lynde or half the Ice Follies.
I get a kick out of knowing that anti-
gay people are probably wearing
clothes designed by a gay person, liv
ing in a home decorated by a gay
person, attending a ploy performed by
a gay person and participating in a
Sunday service celebrated by a gay
I laugh when I think of anti-gay men
cheering gays on the football field and
learning about other scores from a gay
sportscaster. I especially love the
thought of antl-goy Catholics praying to
1 like being gay for all of these and
many more reasons. Primarily, though, I
like being gay because it is on essential
aspect of who I am ... and I like
BENEFITS: Best Source Of Funds
"Why are there so many benefits?"
It's a question heard more and
more often in Charlotte — that deserves
to be answered, and one that's not un
common in a locale not as large as
Chicago, Atlanta, New York and other
cities with huge gay populations.
Fact is, there are few sources of funds
for gay organizations. Until AIDS came
along, only the largest metropolises —
and not all of them — had funded
gay/lesbian activities. So, in most of the
U.S., governmental agencies are not a
source of funds for gay citizens.
Corporations — which pride them
selves in funding the arts and other
endeavors with high beneficial visibility
— are also out except for occasional
free beer from beverage distributors.
There is only one reliable source:
gay/lesbian people themselves.
In Charlotte, no gay/lesbian organiza
tion used direct mail solicitations for
funds until Metrolina AIDS Project —
which can't really be identified as a
gay organization — did so last winter,
Charlotte organizations since the foim-
ding of Queen City Quordinators in 1981
have depended on cooperation with
bars for most of their funds.
Before AIDS, the ultimate purposes of
THEY WANT YOUR BUSINESS
Ik.iigns of the
1.501 Elizabeth Av
Charlotte, NC 28204
704 :i75 4563
Reduce Stress And Increase Vibrancy
With Swedish And Shiatsu Massage
IT'S A GIFT OF HEALTH YOU OWE YOURSELF
2912 Crosby Road
Mon.-Fri. 8:30 to 5:00
Sat. 8:00 to 2:00
For Depression, Anxiety, "Coming Out,”
Relationship Problems, Sexual Dysfunction,
AIDS Support, Weight Control
Call Noel Stypmann, ACSW, 704/365-1982
Positive Reinforcement System, Hypnotherapy, Gestalt,
Sex Therapy, Rebirthing, Massage, Body Work
LADIES EVENING WEAR
JEWELRY • COSTUMES
GLASSWARE • FURNITURE
COLLECTIBLES • GIFTS
1905 East 7th Street • Charlotte, NC 28204
Ask for: Tim, Tony, Joey or John
YOUR BUSINESS CARD
CAN RUN, TOO,
IN 7,000 COPIES OF Q-NOTES
For details, Write Don King
ADDRESS, PAGE 2, BOTTOM RIGHT
organizations were these; 1) to improve
the lot of gay men and lesbians who
needed help, and 2) to increase
gay/lesbian political influence.
Most gay/lesbian people need no
help v/ith their lives most of the time.
They live in relative comfort with few
threats; they hove a supportive group of
friends; their lives continue with no more
hassles than nongcrys face.
However, the gay/lesbian "haves"
occasionally become "have-nots" —
such as when a lover relationship
breaks up, or on unexpected firing oc
curs, or when help is needed legally,
medically or psychologically.
Many benefits are held to provide
funds for organizations focusing on those
needs. Since AIDS came on the scene,
the need for services has intensified im
mensely. More benefits hove resulted.
Since 1984 in Charlotte, benefits hove
primarily paid for the Gay/Lesbian
Switchboard; hove given QCQ the hmds
to supplement Q-Notes, to provide Pride
Week activities, and money for small
allocations to the Charlotte Lambda
Chorale and other groups; and hove
helped MAP provide education about
AIDS and help for persons with AIDS.
Benefits give community-minded gay
and lesbian individuals the opportunity
in a small but important way to support
brothers and sisters who need help.
Many of these individuals prefer not to
join organizations or give privately to
them, so benefits may be the only way
they hove to contribute to the greater
Another positive aspect of benefits is
that they give bar owners the opportu
nity to return to the community money
that otherwise would increase their prof
its. It's an avenue for thanking the com
munity for continued support.
Without benefits, goy/lesbion services
in Charlotte would hove to depend en
tirely on private contributions. There
might be no switchboard to tell visitors
about bars or tell lovers the name of a
lawyer to contact for buying a home.
Instead of having on office and facilities
to serve on increasing population of
AIDS patients, MAP might be operating
out of someone's home with no hotline.
Q-Notes might be a typed and folded
8Vixl 1 sheet printing 1,000 copies rather
than an eight-page newspaper distrib
uted throughout the Corolinas. 'There
would be no Drummer contest bringing
thousands of dollars into the local econ
omy from visitors from other cities. There
might be no Pride Week activities and
no one to organize the trip to the Na
tional March On Washington on Oct. 11.
— DON KING