"Straight" and "pride" are two words that should never go together. It's like "Nazi" and "Jew," or "macho" and "feminist." They just don't seem right together.
That is, not until now.
First off, I'm not talking about Bible-thumping know-it-alls who insist on wearing "straight pride" T-shirts in the malls of Middle America. Rather, I'm referring to a growing group of straights who are starting to show pride for their gay brethren.
And much as we learned to retrofit the word "queer" back in our homo-culture, now's the perfect time to show our appreciation for these straight folks who have begun to cover our backs.
Let's start with Steven Cozza.
A role model--dare I say hero--for queers and non-queers alike, at the tender age of 12 Steven co-founded the activist group Scouting for All in Petaluma, Calif.
Determined to end the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies (an early effort was a petition drive outside of his local grocery store), Steven and 70-year-old fellow SFA co-founder Scoutmaster Dave Rice (neither of whom is gay), are the inspiration for Tom Shepard's documentary Scout's Honor.
"Steven is a new model for alliance-building between straight and gay people," said Shepard during a phone interview about his upcoming PBS P.O.V. presentation. "Until recently, we've had very few straight allies we could trust. But Steven has changed all that. By standing up to a group that had excluded his gay church-camp counselor from scouting, and sticking up for the rights of all people, Steven shows why it's important for straight and queer people to understand and respect each other."
But bad things do happen to good people.
Not only have Steven and his family received not-so-nice looks from the neighbors, they have also been the recipients of numerous death threats.
This unbecoming Boy Scout behavior hasn't stopped Steven from his mission. Now 16 years old, Steven continues to show up at gay pride marches and other events where
he can spread his message of love and acceptance--despite the fact that the Supreme Court has allowed the BSA to continue its discriminatory policies.
"He's just an ordinary kid," said Shepard. "But his commitment is so strong that it has resonated strongly with others."
Shepard says that he believes those who come in contact with Steven start thinking, "Hey, I can do something like this, too."
Which, if you think about it, is pretty friggin' amazing.
Because, just between you and me, I'm not sure I would risk life and limb for a group of people I didn't know.
It awes and inspires me that Steven Cozza is fighting for our rights. There's nothing in it for him. But what about you? It has everything to do with you. Working for our rights is more than just a party and a parade.
10 pm Tuesday, June 19.
Gender Bender Variety Show
You just don't know who might pop up at this notorious drag king/queen show at the always-happenin' E Club.
Egyptian Club, 3701 SE Division St., 236-8689.
9 pm Thursday,
June 14. $5.
Naked Boys Singing
An all-nude, all-male, musical extravaganza.
Triangle Productions Theater! Theatre!, 3430 SE Belmont St., 239-5919. 8 pm Thursdays-Saturdays. $23-$25.
The folks who bring you the LGBT film fest are running a June Pride series. See screen.