Sunday, July 3, 2016

Live From Omaha! goes to the gay day parade

Again this year, the mostly Omaha celebration was held in neighboring Council Bluffs, Iowa (reason: Omaha apparently doesn't have enough streets to accommodate a gay day parade while the College World Series and Olympic Swimming Qualifications are taking place).
     Some straights seem to view the parade as a midsummer freakfest excuse to get extra mileage out of the remnants of their Halloween costumes, but what the hell, we'd still rather see OmahaLive's gleeful, affectionate portrayal of the proceedings than the often-dreary videos produced by gay capitalists to whom the celebration is Opportunity with a big O!
     (And hear a soundtrack that isn't the dreariest of sonically exhibitionist hardcore club disco that takes itself way too seriously. Nice choice Mr. Thompkins.)
     Finally, let us not forget, boys and girls, that although the flashpoint for the current gay movement may have been drag queens outside the Stonewall Inn who were pissed off at being pawns in payoff negotiations between the NYPD and mafia-owned gay bars, the gay movement did NOT start in New York City. (There were physical pushbacks against police harassment during the Cooper's Donuts Riot of 1959 in L.A. and the Compton's Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco in 1966.)
     In San Francisco, bar owners kept the mafia and police payoff profiteering out of gay bars by creating the Tavern Guild (Google it), which provided free legal representation and friendly trial witnesses for gay bar patrons who were arrested on trumped-up charges provided that they fought the charges. Usually they won. This sent a loud, effective and targeted message to the cops that their harassment would no longer result in easy convictions. They quickly got the message and laid off.
     Unlike in New York City, no one had to rip out any parking meters and heave them through plate glass windows
     By 1969, in San Francisco, candidates were already addressing gay constituents in their campaigns and there were nascent gay bowling leagues and softball competitions as an alternative to bar culture.
     And there were even lower profile demonstrations of rebellion in California by gays and their straight friends.
     Years ago, AKSARBENT was told by a man who worked at a reservations center for United Airlines in San Francisco in the middle 60s about the company's firing of a popular employee for being gay, which infuriated his gay and straight coworkers to the point at which they stopped taking calls during their lunch "breaks." Management got the message.
     So take that New York partisans and reporters who continue to regard it as the birthplace of the gay rights movement in the United States. We're looking at you, CBS.

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