Partying isn't everything - a night in would be something to celebrate

Ladies und gentlemen, and those who can't make up their minds, I have in my hand a piece of paper, a press release to be precise, inviting me to pop along to the Lancaster Road, London and - let me check this again - "celebrate my sexuality". Yes, that's what it says, "celebrate my sexuality" with - who's that sniggering at the back? - "a magician, bingo and a raffle". Now, I can see how the magician might be useful, but bingo and a raffle? Unless, of course, there's some almost cosmic connection that I'm simply missing, between the uncontrollable urge to stand up in public and belt out a brassy rendition of 'I Am What I Am' (a litre of Malibu and pineapple and I think we've all been there) and games of chance and destiny.

My sexuality and the luck of the draw. Think about it. Or nip off and have the manicure you've been promising yourself ever since that policeman booked you for driving while in possession of cloven hooves.

Is driving while in possession of cloven hooves celebrating your sexuality? Devil if I know. But it's the pinnacle of Gay Pride 96 tomorrow - well, it's the pinnacle of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride 96 tomorrow, actually - and this sort of enquiry keeps cropping up.

Lesbians and gays and nymphs and shepherds etc, will be marching to Clapham Common, home of the mythical Mr Average who rode the omnibus, to announce their visibility (by wearing leather harnesses and huge picture hats), declare their unity (before getting back to bickering), and, yes, to celebrate their sexuality. Why? Because - pay attention, questions will be asked later - all the everyday things that ordinary folk do to celebrate their sexuality, from cutting a rug down at the local disco to plighting one's troth before family and friends, gays can't take for granted.

You, gentle heterosexual reader, think nothing of skipping down the street hand in hand with your heart's desire, or copping a quick snog on the steps of your workplace, before your colleagues' bleary eyes, and why should you? What feels perfectly normal to you doesn't require courage, or a conscious act of will. Nor should it.

Homosexuals, however, aren't that ... I nearly wrote lucky. Straights can celebrate their sexuality and no one notices, or cares, but for those who have to rely on raffles, a quick peck, an affectionate squeeze, a look of love are all radical acts, whether the individual wants them to be or not. The world makes them so. You may be the most timid Tory in captivity but suddenly you seem defiant, dangerous, and ... what's the word always thrown once you want to do as everyone else does? As if I could forget: aggressive. Your life becomes politicised, and it's not a decision you make, or a process you control. Health insurance, mortgages, making sure your partner receives your pension when you die - you have to fight for your rights.

Point: to be incidentally politicised isn't the same as being political. There are organised structures for gays if they want them: Stonewall, OutRage!, Queer Nation, et al, plus the main political parties and their dangled promises (and why didn't that nice Mr Blair and his lovely bouffant vote in the gays in the military debate?). Like them or not, functional entities with agendas, campaigns, aims. Being politicised, though, is a state of mind, traditionally the starting point of politics, not instead of politics. It's not meant to be a cop-out.

Go to gay pub, get pissed, fall over: celebrating your sexuality. Go to gay club, do E, fall over: celebrating your sexuality. Name your club Vaseline, whinge when Unilever forces you to drop the title: celebrating your sexuality. Wearing Lycra that takes your blood pressure in colours that clash: celebrating your sexuality. That nasty rash: celebrating your sexuality. Buy the latest Jimmy Somerville single: see a qualified therapist.

Whatever the Beastie Boys insist, fighting for the right to party isn't the be all and end all, though there are gay men who think exactly that (the Lycra is stopping the flow of blood to their brains). They'll be the ones on the march tomorrow - or probably not on the march tomorrow, knowing that this is the one day of the year Harvey Nicks will be empty - who believe that putting popper bottles under their noses at the 8,000 strong Heaven on Earth party come midnight is where the real ideological action is. Party party party politics.

Which is both convenient and a higher state of false consciousness. Hostile society did this and that and the other to me for years and now I'm having fun! Boogieing well is the best revenge! Yeah - and then? What's for afters?

Inevitably there comes a time when it isn't a question of the next remix, the next high, the next man, but the next dawn, the next day, the next decision. When, to paraphrase the Foreign Legion, you have the stark choice whether to March or Dye. Not that marching solves anything in itself, but at least it's a first step as opposed to the latest step. For the sad truth is that even the gayest of us, if not the happiest of us, must one day call a halt to the celebrations or he may find himself doomed to dance forever, having forgotten the nominal object of the exercise was to be finally able to go home, hang up those red shoes, and have a nice cup of tea and an early night just like anybody else.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

    £13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

    £16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

    Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Support Engineer

    £20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Support Engi...

    Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

    £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence