I was curious. I was actually looking for an image for a post on a different subject. I wanted a huge crowd of gay people to make a point about straight allies. You'll understand when you read the post I write tomorrow. I'll leave you in suspense (albeit a modest amount) until tomorrow on that.
So I googled "gay pride march." I was looking for an image of a gay pride march that gave a sense of the magnitude of the march, the hundreds of thousands who march on 5th Avenue every June (hundreds of thousands is the truth unlike the tens of thousands you will read about on Monday in every NYC paper. Including the papers NOT owned by Rupert Murdoch).
Here's what I found.
Page 1. No crowds. No women. At least none of the biological variety.
Page 2. More men. Many seemed to have forgotten to bring most of their clothing. Wait. At last. A big crowd scene. Not in the US. Thank you Ontario.
I gave up after page 5. Just Ontario and this fantastic picture. Look closely and you'll see that they had a massive crowd despite inclement weather.
Not a single photo from a gay pride parade in the US.
Then I realized I was a professor. I mean. I knew that. But what I realized is that I have access to a huge AP photo library. So off I went. It took me until page 5 in the AP Photo library to find at least one photograph that told a different kind of story.
I double checked that this was not a photo taken by my friends at GLSEN. Nope. The AP as part of a story they were writing during the marriage equality battle last year.
OK, so what's my point? Every year at this time I am reminded of a battle I had with Bill O'Reilly. His argument was that the gay pride marches are "shooting the gays in the foot." A strategy that backfires, he claimed. My argument was that photos of parents with strollers or gay alums from Yale don't make for very interesting photographs. And that media bias is at the heart of the problem.
I further argued that a gay pride march is alot like Mardi Gras - this one day to celebrate difference in all its fun, campy, sexual, outrageous ways. And in ways that are not campy sexual and outrageous.
What did my search reveal? Nobody seems to take pictures of gay pride marches that tell a story of magnitude - the sheer volume of participants. Nobody seems to take pictures of gay pride marches that tell a compelling, emotional story.
Not even our own peeps with our digital cameras.
So here's what I am going to do. I am going to go to the NYC Gay Pride March on Sunday and I am going to take the kind of pictures I want to see of the march. I will post some of them on Monday.
If you are going to any gay pride march this weekend and would like to join me in taking pix that tell more of the story of gay pride, I would love that. Email me the photos at email@example.com. Tell me the story you think your photos tell.
I for one would really like to see them. And I'd like to share them.