Do Two Sins Make a Virtue?

July 1992

Parting Glances
Do Two Sins Make a Virtue?

Being Gay and Having Pride

GenreThere was this priest, a minister and a rabbi. One of them said (and it really doesn’t matter which one, since they all said it eventually), “That is a sin.” I have to assume they were referring to some transgression of divine law as opposed to the twelfth letter of the Arabic alphabet or the Akkadian god of the moon – respectively, sin and Sin.

It’s a sin to tell a lie. It’s a sin to steal. It’s a sin to covet your ex-lover’s current future ex-lover. And this month, there are those who would remind us that it’s both a sin to be gay and a sin to have pride. One of those is listed in the bible and one is deep in the mind of your local bible thumper. (Thumper in this case not being the rabbit from Bambi.)

Gay pride. Two, count them, two sins in one. (I shall not discuss lesbian pride here, as according to the Queen, lesbians are a myth, and I find myself unable to argue with a lady holding a clutch bag and wearing a tiara.) There is one question which must be on our lips as we march down the streets of N.Y.-L.A.-.S.F.-W.D.C.-K.C. and Pierre, South Dakota: Do two sins make a virtue?

I suppose we must first look at virtue. My dictionary gives numerous definitions; goodness, standards and principles among them. I have noted that many of my gay friends are good striving to live up to their standards and not down to their principles. And they’re quite proud of it. Then there is chastity, innocence and virginity. Chastity, besides what’s-her-name’s daughter, is little more than an attempt to recapture innocence and virginity, and in the words of one famous wit, little more virtuous than malnutrition.

Perhaps our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, put this nonsense most firmly in its place when he said, “It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.” If a little sinning is virtuous enough for the man in the tall black hat, who am I to argue?

We face many questions about pride this month. What kind of float the grand marshall will ride on. Whether or not to wear the spandex bodysuit. Whether womyn on Harleys (I am informed that “dykes on bikes” is no longer an appropriate expression) or fairy circles on rollerblades should lead the parade. These are the critical debates of our time of pride. Oops, I believe I expressed a non-politically correct idea there.

This leads me to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Can one have pride and be politically correct? The answer is, as best I can tell, a resounding “No.” I am informed that one can only be truly PC if you happen to be one of the many black-Native American, post-operative transsexual, Jewish lesbians with Hispanic surnames and a wheelchair among us. Extra points if you worship the goddess…so chances are, you don’t qualify.

Gay pride itself is a source of some mystery. If one embraces the view that sexuality is biological, then one may as well be proud of having an ear. Or even two. If sociological influence is your bag, you may as well just thank your parents and teachers for doing you this favor and on with your life. So what is all the celebrating about?

Would I have brought up the question without an answer? I think not. There is, of course, an untested theory. This is our one week a year to blow off steam, be as NPC as we like, toss all rules and regulations out the window. Wear a costume. Run naked through the streets. Get another hole pierced in something. Engage in activities no one we hang out with could possibly approve of, until we run into them doing the same.

No meetings to attend, no phone-tree calls to make, no appeals for funds to write. No ruts. Just a good, old-fashioned, all-American fun-fest. And that seems like a virtue that Honest Abe would have heartily approved of.

Genre is a gay “lifestyle” and travel magazine. It was launched in 1992 by three entrepreneurs, two of whom shortly thereafter left to found QSF magazine. I went with them…


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