Last night in the Tiergarten one of those special moments happened, alone with thousands of people I was with that special person and over the sound system came the haunting lyrics ‘Somewhere over the rainbow…’ the song was written during the Second World War and has subsequently become a theme song for the Gay Movement.
In ‘Stonewall’ – a 1996 movie about the Stonewell Riots – the theme plays as Bostonia’s closeted lover shoots himself on the day that Judy Garland dies of a drug overdose, the theme is haunting because because it is a song of hope amidst despair, and it has become THE gay torch song. Its melody is sorrowful, and the words shine of hope for the ‘future perfect’.
For many Pride was ‘future perfect’ a chance to shine, to come together as part of a community, to be accepted, if only for one day, regardless of size, race, creed, persuasion – one day before going back to the everyday, till next year.
Gay Pride is in itself a promise fulfilled, but we cannot forget that these rights have been bought with price, and that countries that once accepted the LGBT Community are now passing laws and turning the media against what are, in essence, fundamental human rights – both Russia and the Ukraine are passing anti-gay legislation, and the FIFA have given the Euro 2012 Football Games to the Ukraine.
Whilst it could be expected that countries like Russia are expected to flout human rights today Sunday 24 June 2012 brought the news that a Major in the Australian Salvation Army said on radio that practising members of the LGBT community should be put to death … the Australian Salvation Army quickly responded with a damage limitation exercise contextualising the statement, though the Major seems to have retained his job.
We have to be on guard against infringements of civil liberties, civil liberties are never taken all at once, they are taken one by one, laws are subtly changed or re-worded, ask any Berliner alive during the 30’s.
I am in Berlin still, a city known throughout Europe in the 1920’s for its decadence and acceptance of the bohemian lifestyle, and yet as quickly as it rose it was consumed, with people being arrested and sentenced to death for a kiss. We have to be vigilant and cannot rest on our achievements, but neither should we see every change with suspicion.
At the moment I am infatuated with a picture of Desiree Nick, from whatI can gather something of a ga icon, from a poster from the 1920’s play she is in. I m infatuated with image, its colourful allusion to the past and to the present. I can see the colour and the glamour of the promised fulfilled.