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Axing Jacquelynn

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Alt isn't taking this lying down. She tattled on Kenney to the local Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (who knew we even had a Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce?!), then she and a dozen or so of her friends and employees picketed Kenney's offices, for good measure.

"The man belongs under a rock," Alt says.

Still Under a Rock

The Bird's glad to know that folks like Hensley and Alt are willing to fight the good fight, since most same-sexers seem to be upholding the age-old gay tradition of cowering under furniture when faced with their own homosexual liberation.

Case in point: The April 1 and 2 "Pride Festival" at Steele Indian School Park. The event is one of those well-intended annual events involving a parade of men in evening gowns and women dressed as lumberjacks, all marching down a city street to display what they want us to believe is pride in their queerness, but which sadly only serves to make them look like perverted jackasses to the rest of the world.

No, really, don't get The Bird started on the stupidity of taking pride in one's sexuality, as if it were some kind of accomplishment. And don't ask this faux falcon to comment on how "pride" is not the opposite of shame. But go ahead: Ask this puffed-up pigeon how it feels about folks from the local Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival being too spineless to include the words "lesbian" and "gay" in the name of their event. Go on, ask.

For starters, gay and lesbian pride events are meant to commemorate the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969. On that day, a group of homos who'd just returned from Judy Garland's funeral (no, The Bird's not cracking wise; ask your hairdresser!) responded to a routine raid of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar, by fighting back. The riots have since been considered the beginning of the modern gay movement, which in Phoenix generally means hanging out in bars and attending drag shows.

Which is pretty much what this none-too-proud pride event is shaping up to be. Because while the words gay and lesbian are nowhere to be seen (they don't appear on the organization's Web site, www.phoenixpride.org, until page 3), the event's drinks menu appears way up at the top of the page.

But hey, isn't that what being gay all about? Getting loaded?

And can someone please explain why this shame-filled organization's hosting its "pride" event in April? Stonewall happened in June, folks. And "It's too hot in June" is not a good enough excuse to hold this event earlier. Do you guys see Iowans holding Christmas in August because it's too cold in December?

"I don't know," was the quick, witty response of organization president Linda Hoffman when The Bird asked why the words gay and lesbian don't appear in the group's name. "I don't know if that's ever been addressed before."

What is this, the Brokeback Mountain era? It doesn't seem that homos in Phoenix are prideful about their sexuality when they can't even say the words. How, The Bird wonders, do the organizers of this event plan to "advance the movement" when they're not willing to publicly admit they're queer?

If you're too ashamed to use the words, then you're not prideful. You're ashamed. Not to mention chickenshit. About which The Bird says: You're here, you're queer, so why not say so, for Liza's sake?!

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Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela