Now about sex.… One school would allow us no flavor for our fare and the other would have us all on a straight pepper diet. ~Alcoholics Anonymous p. 69

I see the world in this spiritual way – way more fluid than how we’re asked to define it. I actually think there’s a whole spectrum of gender, not just men and women. In a lot of cultures, there’s not just two. But I’m glad when people take their destiny into their own hands and take actions that they think will make them happy. ~ Daniella Sea, June 2006.

The love that dared not speak its name now won’t shut its mouth. ~ Spoken at a dinner party

On June 24th, Columbus held its 25th annual GLBT Pride March (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people). Somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 folks (depending on who you ask) lined the parade route, marched, or joined the party in Centennial Park. Floats, dancers, bikers, pagans, Flaggots (men and women who twirl flags synchronistically), politicians, musicians and vendors enjoyed a scorching sun and gave it their all. Lisa Lisa of Cult Jam headlined the stage performances and appeared later that night in a local pub.

Once a year, the US celebrates the spectacular breadth and strength of human sexual diversity. Kinks and vanillas; gays and straights; bisexuals, try-sexuals and pansexuals; men, women and other genders join hands in public merriment. Let’s contemplate diversity within the progressive left – in the backdrop of the neocon takeover of US democracy. (I’m marking that by the US Supreme Court appointment on December 12, 2000).

How absolutely, wonderfully radical to stand up and name our love, and have it celebrated. How breathtaking to discard all societally-imposed shame about sex, sexuality and our body beautiful. “My body is the body of the Goddess,” and once a year I join with thousands to celebrate.

Scheduled at the same time in Columbus, ComFest draws in the progressive community where women take one weekend a year to be natural, as natural as the topless men standing in line, drumming, or walking around the city. Women walk topless down High Street pass the centers of commerce, and drum topless among hundreds of men, women, and children, without concern for harm or unwanted attention. There is no greater sense of community than in being exactly who you are, around a hundred thousand people who appreciate “flavor for our fare.” ComFest 06 easily drew over 100,000 people, if not half a million.

Instead of shaming each other for being too fat, too flat, too wrinkly, too large, too asymmetric, too un-perfect, or too uncommon, enlightened folks celebrate the body beautiful and freedom of sexual expression. Only when we exercise our First Amendment rights do we have them, which is why ComFest and GLBT Pride are important celebrations that benefit the broader community as a whole. It is a time when the repressed are rewarded for their effort and sacrifice instead of punished for what family they were not born into, or for their skin color or body shape or sexual variability.

Celebrating diversity in your community strengthens it because you build allies across the spectrum of human experience. An injustice to one group is an injustice to democracy; and as each of these groups join hands the public body politic becomes more powerful.

Once a year, folks who battle on the frontlines of sexual repression get the opportunity to educate others about the various tribes that compose the local community, including Leatherfolk, transgenders, and hermaphrodites. Now is the time we get a shot at visibility amidst a widespread media blackout or denigration of our minority cultures. Now is the time we celebrate the breadth of natural human sexual diversity. Now is the time we appreciate that some prefer vanilla and others chocolate and others rocky road.

Our message is that there’s a different flavor for every human on the planet. Certainly, if some adults like to be dressed up, others tied up, some spanked, some tickled, some whatever, as long as it’s safe, sane and consensual, ain’t nobody’s business if they do. These kinks don’t need to be ironed out; they need to be defended, protected, and celebrated, even if you find it hard to reconcile my peaceful, loving nature with my proclivities. Once a year, around the country, millions do just that. Let’s keep this flame alive year-round. Join with enlightened cultural revolutionists who don’t denigrate how Leatherfolk or TGs express love, just as you wouldn’t mock homosexuality.

Granted, with the repressive regime bearing down on Americans in this new Bizarro World we find ourselves (since the US Supreme Court appointed them in 2000), it’s hard to remember that we don’t all have to think alike, dress alike, look alike and mate alike for society to work efficiently and democratically.

And that’s a good thing, too, because the only way to overcome our common enemy (the fascist corporate hierarchy that punishes dissent and diversity) is thru a peaceful cultural revolution. We need as many outside-the-box thinkers and creators as possible, because the old methods of resistance haven’t worked. After his illegitimate appointment, Bush stole the election in 2004 and he, and the man who criminally returned him to the White House, still enjoy their seats of power. As long as we’re voting on computers, which amounts to faith-based voting thru faith-based reporting, we need to reach the tipping point of public conscience thru other means. Those folks who are already unwilling or unable to live in a box are the very ones who will create or discover these alternative methods to invoke democracy in the US.

Pride is so much more than partying about the fact that I like to kiss grrls. The point is to feel proud of who you are, and to keep following your bliss. If enough of us do this, power shifts to the people, where it rightfully resides in a democracy. We are your allies who’ve known repression our entire lives. Surely, in this new American fascist century, you need us as much as we need you. Celebrating diversity strengthens all our movements – from peace to fair elections to safe foods to livable wages and all the other social justice issues on which we agree. During the summer celebrations, do yourself a favor, hug a kink and thank a Domme. We’re among you, sometimes openly and often not, fighting for the same rights and social causes as you.

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