(Photo credit: Jeff Ramone.)
This content originally appeared on my former Chicagosphere online-media blog, hosted on the Chicago Tribune‘s ChicagoNow network.
Even on Chicago’s Gay Pride weekend, some queers don’t run with the crowd. Such is the case with Jeff Ramone, a Lakeview blogger and licensed massage therapist (a real one, folks) with a sardonic style that doesn’t take the status quo–gay or otherwise–for granted. For months, I’ve watched him lay out his complex life in unsentimental yet compelling detail on his memoir blog, Supersensible Perceptions (update 10/5/09: now The Ungay Gay). It’s his recent down-from-the-mountain take on the concept of gay pride that really caught my attention.
Other ChicagoNow blogs have Pride Weekend festivities well-covered, especially Michel Lehet’s What’s a boy to do?, Trish Bendix’s The L-Blog, and Cameron Esposito’s Chilarious.
Jeff Ramone takes a different approach. In a post entitled The Gay 10 Commandments (Redux), he asks local ‘mos (like me) whether we really take our gay identities seriously on political, cultural, and historical grounds. For Pride Weekend, he lays out this list of missives for living a truly informed gay life:
- Thou shall learn and understand gay history.
- Thou shall participate in the political process.
- Thou shall not practice racism, misogyny, or general bigotry.
- Thou shall re-evaluate thy beliefs.
- Thou shall not covet the rights of others.
- Thou shall live outside the Queersphere.
- Thou shall re-define “fabulous”.
- Thou shall not worship false idols.
- Thou shall not over-accessorize.
- Thou shall attend the Equality March in Washington, DC on October 10, 2009.
Browse Ramone’s post for a detailed supporting argument for each commandment. The gist of it all: the gay community is never truly going to achieve full legal and societal acceptance until we queers accept the responsibility for knowing who we are as a community, how we got here, and the tools we’ll need to use to get where we want to go in the future.
It’s a rousing call to action, and in keeping with the aggressively matter-of-fact tone that’s powered Ramone’s blog since its inception in September 2003. This year alone, he’s covered his rocky journey off depression meds, his father’s battle with lung cancer, his disdain for defining oneself solely as gay, his occasionally dangerous general mouthiness, and the supposed myth of Midwestern kindness.
I have it on good authority there’ll be more conflicted emotions coming up in the posts ahead. Ramone’s life–like yours and mine–seldom gives him a break for long. By telling it like it his, Ramone helps us get to the bottom of what’s common in all out lives. Gay or straight.
Or however you choose to define yourself.
(Find Jeff Ramone at Supersensible Perceptions The Ungay Gay, on Twitter @jefframone, or on his L.M.T. site.)