neljapäev, juuli 19, 2007

Pullerits Draws Ire of International Gay Press

It's that time of year again, homoparaad time, when Estonian homosexuals, plus colorfully flamboyant supporters from across the globe, join together to 'do' Tallinn in the name of pride.

The first homoparaad went off without a hitch, but last years romp through the medieval capital made Tallinn look like Riga as boneheads assaulted paraders with sticks and stones. It was messy and left an unsavory taste in everyone's mouth, including Estonian journalism godfather Priit Pullerits who recently questioned the need for such a parade:

The purpose of the parade is to display eccentric behavior so it’s understandable that gay activists don’t want to gather in a forest or at a lake, where they can come together without annoying others. This is about the vociferous proclamation of sexual content in public. But one’s sexual preferences are a personal issue that doesn’t need to be rubbed in your fellow citizens’ faces. The organisers claim the parade is necessary to remind people of the existence of their homosexual fellow human beings, however I don’t believe there’s a single person in Estonia who doubts the existence of homosexual tendencies.
Pullerits' op-ed piece drew a response from Queerty, a New York-based snarky online news source that took issue with both Estonia and Pullerits' more than famous vuntsid. "Because people already know gays exist, they should become invisible? What year are we living in? We understand Estonia isn’t the most up-to-date country on the planet (see Pullerits’ picture), but this shit’s ridiculous," commented Queerty.

Pullerits' style is indeed timeless. I happened to pick up the debut issue of Favoriit from 1993 or so last summer and Pullerits was rocking the vuntsid all the way back then. In fact, I think I am safe in saying that Pullerits does not look like he has aged one day since that photo was taken in 1993. It is quite striking.

But, even though I am terrified of the international gay press, I will say that Priit has a point. It could be a tad disconcerting to see transvestites walking down your street. And it could also cause a 'what year are we living in' moment. Transvestites -- the most noticeable participants in any gay parade -- were edgy back in 1975 -- the year The Rocky Horror Picture Show came out. Elton John in the duck costume? That was 30 years ago.

The bottomline is that transvestite is played out. It's as new wave as capezio shoes. It's as done as disco and it is not really coming back. It lives on in Amsterdam and New York the same way hair metal lives on in Los Angeles and parts of Pennsylvania. And why don't transvestites meet at lakes rather than on public streets for their gatherings? What do gays have against lakes? Point to Pullerits.

On the other hand, if said gays and their de rigeur transvestite accompaniment are so lacking in edginess, if they are so *yawn* boring, then why should we care if they have a parade once a year to feel good about themselves? Other people get to parade right? (Well, not in Estonia), but you get the picture. The Estonian government recently moved a statue just so Red Army veterans could have a more peaceful place to pay respect to the dead. And you are telling me they shouldn't permit a gay parade?

See, supporting the gay parade doesn't mean you like guys like Ru Paul parading down the street, it just means that you don't mind guys like Ru Paul parading down the street. That, in a nutshell, is tolerance. And that is why I am very much in favor of this year's homoparaad going off without a hitch and making the Estonian organizers feel very much superior to their Latvian counterparts. Because if Estonians can feel better than Latvia and gays can feel good about themselves, then everyone wins, even Pullerits.

53 kommentaari:

Kristopher ütles ...

Pullerits is one of Estona's celebrity 10K runners, along with Meelis Atonen and Kalle Muuli. Just like how Ansip looks like he's 42, that explains the slow aging.

Unbecoming to speculate on sexual orientation on the basis of facial hair, but you would think that Priit has got a valid "ruining it for the rest of us" kind of beef with the parade, whoever exactly the "rest of us" are.

Of course if the Rainbow Gathering decided to meet on a lake in Karula, you would have different folks just as up in arms about kids on drugs besmirching the Estonian countryside.

Puu ütles ...

Ummm the Gay Pride parade in New York was a really fun ( if pretty corperate) event. So Tallinn would potentially be cutting itself out of a big party. Gay friendly places tend to be pretty safe ( how many murders and muggings do you hear about in Chelsea)? And the gay club in Tallinn is the only place you can really go and dance and it doesn't matter if you have ties to Gazprom of not. The presence of gays living their lives un harrassed is just as important as the presence of Jews ( even if Judaism isn't really into Homosexuality) and maybe someday Estonia will even have its very own Somalian Refugees like Finland. These are all groups that I would venture to say Nashists are not fond of.

andres kahar ütles ...

On the count of gay rights, I was once like some of you -- 'good, open, liberal...'

In fact, a few years back, my home-base was in the heart of Toronto's (gay) Village. I was a single, heterosexual fella with a post-Sov feline roomie, Claudius -- a dynamic duo, if you will. Drawn to the great downtown location; even more drawn to the sweet bachelor flat we'd found. It was -- and remains -- a friendly neighbourhood. On balance, fairly safe for the core of a big NorAm city (if sometimes combustible after-hours). I made some good friends and acquaintances during my time in the Village, some of whom just happened to be gay.

To garble the words of Canada's late great PM Trudeau, neither me nor the government had any business in the bedrooms of Village dwellers or anyone else -- why should we care? I believed this to my core.

Then, something changed.

Something.

The sounds of gay sex at night.

Men groaning. Moaning. Ejaculating. Ejaculation everywhere, actually. Pulsating club beats in the background. It sounded like Greco-Roman wrestling, but sans coach and whistle, and avec a sexy soundtrack.

The incessant sound of male flesh slapping against male flesh, all night long, non-stop, orgasm after orgasm...

Claudius and I could barely sleep for years on end. (Pardon the cheap pun.)

For me, it was emotionally scarring: I was single and unattached, and spent so many of those nights watching flicks or web-surfing. Yet, my Village neighbours -- my ostenisble friends -- were experiencing pleasure and companionship beyond the rim.

For Claudius, it was physically harmful: one of his eardrums was blown. "I marched in the Pride parade," he recalled sadly. "I supported them. And this is how they repay me!"

In other words, fellow 'liberals,' tolerance has its price.

All well and good in the abstract, for some of you married types, ensconced as you are. But, as with Iraq reporting, the view on the ground is much different.

Be careful what you wish for. Man-on-man sex -- all night long, non-stop, hot, sweaty, ecstatic -- is very distracting.

On that note, I'll close:

I'm a kalamees and I'm okay/
I sleep all night and I work all day/
He's a kalamees and he's okay
He sleeps all night and he works all day
[...]

PS: Claudius would like to add that fisherman do a damned fine job. He salutes fisherman everywhere.

Kristopher ütles ...

Not to steal your thunder (but out of sympathy) I have a Village story too. I stayed with my friend on St. Mark's and Ave. A in 1999. It was a brownstone above a laundromat and pizza parlor. Arguably about as New York (and MTV Real World) as you could get (except that Tompkins Square Park across the street was creepily quiet at night, this being the Giuliani era). There we were, my friend the classical musician, a female dancer (between the two of whom there was some chemistry) and an actor, who happened to be gay. It could have been idyllic. BUT for the sounds of the man-on-man action in the actor's room all night long, experienced from my position on the couch in the common room -- no sleep.

What is it -- something about that age group and orientation I that lends itself to highly noisy, Tantric, reactionary, ostentatious sex that, if I didn't know better, I would say was designed to scandalize rather than with any objective such as orgasm in mind. Andres, ejaculation would have been fine by me.

I at least had the option of moving. In the end it was to 168th, where I moved in with a Dominican family who all worked at restaurants. A year of no sleep. Sleep mattered back then, it was theoretically POSSIBLE.

Giustino ütles ...

Men groaning. Moaning. Ejaculating. Ejaculation everywhere, actually. Pulsating club beats in the background. It sounded like Greco-Roman wrestling, but sans coach and whistle, and avec a sexy soundtrack.

My poor friend lived in the building next to a nightclub in Dupont Circle in DC. That alleyway was ... a health hazard with all the sexual paraphenalia (read: used condoms) left in it. A place one dare not tread.

But I digress. Homoparaad and loud gay sex are not the same things. You better watch out Andres, before Queerty takes umbrage at your comments.

Sverik ütles ...

"Other people get to parade right? (Well, not in Estonia)"

Laulupeo rongkäik on ju ka tegelikult paraad, huvitav, et seda keegi kaigaste ja kividega laiali peksma pole tulnud.

andres kahar ütles ...

Oh, boy, Giustino... thanks for the tap. I can only hope that someone on staff will pull up my file and note my more or less stellar record, expressed views -- and residence? If not, well... colour me fucked. I guess I'll just have to wait until the political winds blow in favour of heterosexual insomniacs.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Pullerits should a) come out of the closet and b) get another job

plasma-jack ütles ...

No, I'll take the point b back. It would be a loss if we couldn't read about how the US team is going to be the next world champions of football.

Actually, I'll take the point a back, too. I think his articles about the Eurovision would lose some of their value.

Hell, we need Pullerits.

Kaisa ütles ...

Yes, we do need him, if only to be reminded of all the idiots out there, should our own social circle of intelligent people spoil us too much.
The only trouble is that sometimes he is trusted with portraying people that are actually interesting and have interesting things to say, but if the questions are posed by Pullerits, they don't get a word in. He's the kind of guy who asks a high ranking defence official who happens to be female: "So which one are you, a stay at home mom or a shopping addict?" - need I say more...?
Similarly, the basket ball player Tanel Tein was forced to endure several accusations of lack of ambition when Pullerits pestered him about not wanting to go to the NBA. Tein said "I don't want to, I'm happy here in Tartu," but Pullerits kept nagging on about him not going far enough. That's just bad journalism in my opinion.

andres kahar ütles ...

Don't despair, Kaisa: idiots like that run universal; they're here in Canada, too.

Kris: I feel less alone. Let's start a victims group!

gaborien ütles ...

I found Pullerits' comments not only untolerant but indifferent.

This negative attitude just makes more difficult to create social cohesion in Estonia. This country is in process to become more diverse (slowly but it's already happening) and given that relations between estonian and russian ethnic groups are "not smooth" it's not wise to create even more division.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Also, acoording to mr Pee-Pee, the black people aren't too good at basketball. The right-wingers, though, are good at any sports. That's why Ansip and Savi are so sporty and that's why we've never heard about lefties doing sports. (at the time, an olympic winner was sitting in Tallinn's municipality council and another in Riigikogu, both from left-wing parties)

Blogaddict ütles ...

Let me be a devil's advocate and suggest something ... Now, I've only seen Pillerputs on the pics so I do not know his demeanor and body language. BUT judging by the pics alone, I'd say he's in the closet.

Don't blame me. I am just saying what I am seeing, that's all.

Time will show. And when it does, you can all say blogaddict said it in 2007. How DID he know? :-)

Andres ütles ...

Pullerits does have a point though. Think of it like this. What if computer game dorks would hold a parade in central city Tallinn, saying DON'T MAKE FUN OF US, WERE HUMAN TOO. Dressed up in game character outfits etc. Of course, they can. BUT, is it really necessary? Is it according to good taste etc? Should we tolerate a pedophiles' parade? And if things go that far, why shouldn't we tolerate a Nazi-parade? I mean EVERYBODY has the right to express their mind.

I'm not against the geiparaad, but I think it lacks tact and taste.

Kaisa ütles ...

Blogaddict, you're not being the devil's advocate, you are making the most serious accusation. And even if you were right, I don't think the fact that he's actually gay can be seen as an excuse of some sort. If anything, it makes his behavior and ranting even more reprehensible. I have seen him... shall we say, perform live and I don't recall any noticeable limp-wristedness or some such. I think he's just a genuinely sad (as in pathetic) little person who unfortunately thinks that his inferiority and superiority complexes bear some relevance on the rest of the world.

As for the parade being in bad taste, I agree, but I still can't bring myself to condemning it. All demonstratively public groping is in bad taste in my opinion, be it homosexual or heterosexual, but since I'm actually confronted with it only once in a while, I don't feel the urge to write angry letters about the morals of today's youth nor make demands that this indecency should stop. Likewise, I've never attended the gay parade and they it has never stopped me from going anywhere, and I really don't see why they shouldn't hold it. As far as I know, all they do is dress up in colourful clothes and smile a lot.
I do mind the comparison with paedophiles. Homosexuality should not be mentioned in the same breath, when it's actually the heterosexual media image that promotes a curvless figure and dress sizes six year olds usually wear.

Giustino ütles ...

Yes, we do need him, if only to be reminded of all the idiots out there, should our own social circle of intelligent people spoil us too much.

Pullerits managed to annoy people as far away as New York with a column that was written in Estonian.

That, Kaisa, is called talent. Postimees should give him a raise. ;)

Blogaddict ütles ...

My point is simple: always beware of people who claim to be on a higher moral gorund than the rest, the ones who self righteously thump their chests and claim to be the beacons of family values or what not.

More often than not, they themselves are who they claim to oppose.

Think of nashists hating fascists and then acting like the latter, think of representative Mark Foley, televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, ... senator Vitter from D.C. Madam's list, think of that priest whatshisface whom Murutar outed ... the list is endless ... they all were against sin and such. Only to be found quilty of the very same thing or worse. More than that freaky gleam in his eyes or his Borat moustache, it is Pullerits' stance on morality issues that make him a suspect.

Who will be truly shocked if he comes out or will be outed one day?

Kaisa ütles ...

Yes, blogaddict, I agree with your point about moral high ground (that is why I tend to be apprehensive when someone preaches me about religion) and that's my point, too - that he probably is ridden with doubt and in the deepest recesses of his heart (not that I'd ever want to go anywhere near that, ughh) he has to admit that his arguments are bollocks and the arguments of any sensible feminist and gay rights activist are sound and normal. Although I wouldn't go as far as think that everyone who preaches or accuses someone is actually guilty of the crime. There are actually people believe that they are genuinely right and everyone else is wrong and they pat themselves on the back for their unrelenting efforts to make the others see the error of their ways. I think Pullerits falls into the latter category. But I can't say I would be surprised if he was shaken out of the closet :)
Phew, I think that is enough psychoanalysis of Pullerits for now, thank you very much.

Puu ütles ...

How is being traumatized by gay sex any different than being traumatized by heterosexual sex of a roommate? Someone who is homosexual isn't more or less sexed than someone who is straight. In anycase I have always gotten along well with gay guys, they were my dancing buddies when I lived in DC, by Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan, and my best group of friends in New York right now is a bunch of lesbians. They are all nice people, hold down steady jobs, pay taxes etc. I've gone dancing in some gay clubs in NY and gay guys are just really sweet and nice to me. And gay pride is a lot of fun. And i really think human sexuality doesn't run black and white binaries. if people want to make fools of themselves celebrating that fact they should be supported.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I must say that here I found the ex-Eastern bloc really hampered by the Soviet era. If Tallinn wants to separate from Moscow this parade should be welcomed with open arms. But of course the Russian way is fine also, should one want to emulate that example. Rights for the sexual minorities are part and parcel of the Western enlightenment process - on this issue I think that Estonian mainstream attitudes are really archaic, should one say even quite Soviet like...

andres kahar ütles ...

Pullerits managed to annoy people as far away as New York with a column that was written in Estonian.
That, Kaisa, is called talent. Postimees should give him a raise. ;)


Maybe not talent, but certainly a built-in barometer. I can think of a few hot themes that could and would stir up various groups. I'm sure if you wrote about them here in Lithuanian or Urdu they'd rocket about in rapid translation, and this would result in a short burst of publicity. Then, we'd all collectively forget.

How is being traumatized by gay sex any different than being traumatized by heterosexual sex of a roommate? Someone who is homosexual isn't more or less sexed than someone who is straight.

I think we need to institute a series of backcatcher-type signals or less subtle disclaimers here in the comment section. Irony deficiency is a much under-reported affliction that affects millions.

I'll be attending a fundraiser for irony deficiency this evening.

Tomorrow, I'll be giving a talk at a conference organized by the heterosexual Action Committee. My talk will be based on a paper I wrote entitled "Gay Rights and Semniotic Fluids: How Can One Dude Actually Do That to Another Dude?"

[Hey, Pitcher! You see that? Two fingers waggling between my legs means I'm being silly...]

nipi ütles ...

Andres has a point.
I am not against any parades, I know some gays and lesbians, but very few of them have participated in such parades. And I don't care who are theirs bedfellows.
Until they themselves do what they like and they do not say that please follow us (OK, not only saying), it's OK. If all this homosexuality PR is part of protecting the World from overpopulation, I can understand it but still not support. Otherwise I even do not understand.
But yes, let them be until they dont disturb us.

Someone drew parallel with Laulupidu. It seems not fair.
However, if to draw a parallel with soviet time parades, the Tribüün is missing with Prime Minister and his Cabinet welcoming them, and Priimägi shouting 'elagu juks mai ja kogu maailma trukivabadus'.

Puu ütles ...

Umm... so Kahar penetration is ok when it's between a man and woman and not between two men? What's the point? Please clarify.

Blogaddict ütles ...

Just found an interesting blog. Sorry, could not keep it to myself. An Estonian man living and writing from Thailand: http://uudisjutt.blogspot.com/

andres kahar ütles ...

Oh, Puu, you've really got me on the run now.

No, my concern was never about penetration -- the frequent end-point of hot, sweaty, moustachioed man-on-man union. That part's okay.

But, unless that act is kept under control, I fear that the heat and hair of gay sex will increase global warming. My position, you see, is environmentalist.

I also think we'd do well to boil and cook all homosexuals to feed the starving children of Africa. That would make good neoliberal economic sense.

That is my modest proposal.

PS: I fear that this excitement and piety over dudes having sex with other dudes has allowed us to ignore the real elephant in the livingroom: IRONY DEFICIENCY. It afflicts millions, you know.

Giustino ütles ...

If Tallinn wants to separate from Moscow this parade should be welcomed with open arms.

Unlike in Riga and Moscow and Warsaw, I think that the Estonian reaction to the gay parade is less about views on homosexuality, and more about Estonians' negative impression of 'showing off.'

I think Estonians know quiet well who the celebrity gays are and really don't care. I haven't heard any negative comments about gays living here.

And if you read Pullerits comments you'll see that he actually says nothing negative about homosexuality. It's the shoving it in his face bit he doesn't care for.

nipi ütles ...

Yes, and if these gays-lesbies really would like to live peacefully, it would be wiser not to promote that way of living but just live. Otherwise they just escalate conflicts.
Same way with russians and bronze soldier. Until it was only old veterans gathering, no problem. But when they began demonstrations and to bring whole classes of schoolchildren there, it went sour. Until gays/lesbies/... just live here, even kissing themselves in public (this exceeded the tolerance level somewhere in restaurant), it is acceptable. But seems that they are not happy being minorities, they wish to become majority and that is too much. Even being environmentally thinking OK but in that case they should cultivate this way of living in areas with too high population growth.

Puu ütles ...

At the risk of not being fully appreciative of irony, Kahar, if penetration
isn't the concern with your semiotic paper concerning why would one dude do that to another, then what is the issue, dudes sweating on each other? They do that in football and in the sauna.
And again how is homosexual sex all that different from heterosexual sex? Aside from the possibility of reproduction.

Kristopher ütles ...

Kahar penetration is ok when it's between a man and woman and not between two men?

What's "Kahar-penetration"? And "semniotic fluid"? If you guys insist on continuing with this, throw us laymen a bone, please?

From my high school physics, I remember being taught that static friction coefiicient is higher for gay sex, but the kinetic one is about the same. And that's a fact.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, I'm certainly not the biggest friend of gay and lesbian activism in its exclusivist forms, but these kinds of demonstrations are a normal part of life in the West: luckily we are slowly evolving towards the pluralism of our ideals. The background for any shrillness or extremism is of course very grim historical inheritance of cruel, ignorant persecution and criminalization of perfectly ordinary human behaviour. So, it is really quite understandable even if sometimes irritating.

andres kahar ütles ...

What do all of you think Seamy Kala uses to trim his moustache?

Does he rough-ride it with lubricant and a pair of Fiskars garden shears (price: $14.99)?

Or do you think he treats himself at the end of a long day: a bit of gentle foreplay with a stiff Sea Breeze, all leading up to a sensuous encounter with his Dovo of Solingen Beard and Moustache Trim Kit (Price: £59.99)?

Whatever the answer, kudos to Seamy Kala! Ten bonus points for looking so darned good in Bruxelles!

(Incidentally, the price of a clean getaway to the Land of Endless Euro-Toga Parties: priceless)

andres kahar ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Lev ütles ...

Dear people,

I have been studying this blog out of curiosity and and my vocation.

I study moustaches.

I am a member of a superintelligent race whose national assignment under Commission Project INTERGAL -2 Phase A is solely to study moustaches in the Balkans as a potential means of sustainable development of the indigenous whisker forest communities.

Facial hair, particular of the upper mandibular follicles, are one of the basic building blocks of our society, woven into a canopy that protects communities from radiation and particulates.

In the special camps set up to house harvestees under INTERGAL-2, moustaches are carefully harvested to provide basic whiskers to restore damaged parts of the canopy and provide for the future.

Although your race has long been noted for your luxurious hair growth, it has come to our attention that the region of the upper lip indeed features live growing hair and not adhesive patches or the larva of a moth, as was suggested in an earlier post. Therefore the question is begged, if this growth is profligately harvested with a clipper ship or otherwise clearcut, what happens to the surplus?

We would be most keenly interested in talking to this commissioner, but we are unable to understand this Land of Toga Party. Is it not sovereign, or is it Tonga Party?

Wishing for pleasant cooperation,
Lev

Randy ütles ...

"As for the parade being in bad taste, I agree, but I still can't bring myself to condemning it. All demonstratively public groping is in bad taste in my opinion, be it homosexual or heterosexual, but since I'm actually confronted with it only once in a while, I don't feel the urge to write angry letters about the morals of today's youth nor make demands that this indecency should stop."

Toronto's gay pride parades began in the late 1980s, product of self-assertion after decades of forced invisibility and in the face of serious political problems including discrimination and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Since then, as gay rights have progressed in Canada, pride has gradually morphed into a secular version of Carnival or Mardi Gras.

I really can't see how gay pride, or gay rights, could harm Estonia.

Puu ütles ...

I agree with Randy.

But since I seem to have appointed myself the group Id... Penis, Penis, Penis, Penis....

Now doesn't everyone feel better?

Gay rights has become a mark of a free society. Human beings are set up so that a small section of the population is going to be gay. It's not a lot of the population. It's never going to be a lot of the population. All of society is never going to become gay. So what's the big deal?

Kristopher ütles ...

The gay pride parade may be an institution, but it really has very little to do with life. Carnival is an age old syncretic tradition. A gay parade that stresses the most outlandish and reactionary parts of one subculture in a manner that crosses other people's rights to have peace and quiet is not. I would not compare the two.

The bottom line is that gay people lead normal lives, they dont necessarily sleep around, have loud sex, or accost strangers. And though there are still sodomy laws on the books in places, no one would argue that there is really official persecution in the bedroom, certainly not in fairly libertarian Eesti, sr that gay culture is really threatened. So it is highly speciious to argue that this is a political statement (as a festive echo(. Buy a ticket to Lander, Wyoming and chain yourself to barbed wire if you want to make a statement. There are places and people that still do need real activism.

I would go out on a limb and say that a lot of people who are opposed to the paratde are in fact gay conservative. This is well known elsewhere. Isn't it the case that the Castro is one of SF's most or only Republican voting areas? The rest of the opposition may come from concerned homeowners. I dont know anything about the gay community in Estonia but I can relate to the homeowners. Things change once you own property and have children, no matter how liberal you are. During Operation Bronze Soldier, living 500 ft away my main concern was my family and property. If you own property on Bourbon Street or Väike Karja you buy into a certain deal but in general riots and broken glass should not happen in Tallinn.

Kristopher ütles ...

Sorry, that would be Laramie, WY. Lander is almost as enlightened as Jackson on social issues.

Puu ütles ...

"A gay parade that stresses the most outlandish and reactionary parts of one subculture in a manner that crosses other people's rights to have peace and quiet is not."

Look in the end all that gay pride has become in New York is another platform for corporate sponsorship like the St. Patrick's day parade or the Thanksgiving parade. A hundred years ago people were probably pretty uphappy about the idea of a parade celebrating Irish ragamuffins. It may be rowdy for awhile but it will pass. Give it a couple years and you'll have the Loftsberg Lila gay pride float and the Seppala gay association of gay employees or whatever. ..it's actaully pretty boring. Nothing to get worked up about.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Someone drew parallel with Laulupidu. It seems not fair.

I would draw a parallel with all those Streetraces taking place in the town centre and closing down whole streets for hours. I don't know if "autopeded" are a sexual or a religious minority, but I found them strange. Won't throw rocks or eggs at them, though, but if we tolerate them, we definitely should tolerate a gay parade.

Giustino ütles ...

Well, I'm certainly not the biggest friend of gay and lesbian activism in its exclusivist forms, but these kinds of demonstrations are a normal part of life in the West: luckily we are slowly evolving towards the pluralism of our ideals.

Let's not get too excited over this. There are plenty of bigots all over the world, even in the United States (you can contain your laughter).

I get a little tired of these dialogs where it's like, "the Estonians are this" and "the Estonians are that." Especially on the minority issue, you read that "the Estonians want revenge."

I am not so dumb as to think that all the Russians in St. Petersburg think about Estonia the way Putin thinks about Estonia. Nor am I entirely convinced that Finland -- one time home of taciturn macho loggers -- has gone soft, even though its president is Tarja Halonen.

Different people think different things. Look at the Russians in Estonia. You have Klenski and you have Krishtofavitsh. Need I say more?

The Estonians have not prohibited these parades. The discussion is about what is appropriate and what is not and that's fine and Pullerits can write all the columns he wants -- it's a free country.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I don't think it's as simple as that - I would argue that there is a genuine post-Soviet issue about sexual and gender rights and that as nasty as it feels to be lectured by most imperfect nations, that's how it goes, and should go. So this issue doesn't go away if you just don't think about it: there is a social and cultural debate that has to be had in Estonia like in many other ex-Soviet bloc countries. It's a tough old world.

lounamaa ütles ...

Giustino said...

Unlike in Riga and Moscow and Warsaw, I think that the Estonian reaction to the gay parade is less about views on homosexuality, and more about Estonians' negative impression of 'showing off.'


Thanks for the lack of belief in our capability for bigotry, but I think that you are mistaken.

I think most Estonians who use arguments such as "BUT, is it really necessary? Is it according to good taste etc? Should we tolerate a pedophiles' parade? And if things go that far, why shouldn't we tolerate a Nazi-parade? I mean EVERYBODY has the right to express their mind.

I'm not against the geiparaad, but I think it lacks tact and taste."
(as andres did in this thread) are simply disturbed by the thought of homosexuality (as something unnatural and generally yucky) and therefore huff and puff and shout things like "Well the HETEROSEXUAL people don't have a parade, why should the gays have one!", etc. to express their ire at the event, yet simultaneously disguise their homophobia.

This diguise needs to be adopted because homophobia is increasingly seen as something backwards and unsophisticated, even in Estonian society. Still, no full-blooded man wants to see a bunch of fags in costumes running around our old town, so we produce statements like: "Oh, I have fairly many gay friends, but none of THEM would take part in such a ridiculous and immoral spectacle!"

I think that we have superficially adopted Western values that do not quite resonate with our still very homophobic national character and this situation has evoked a widespread denouncement of the parade in question, camouflaged as a plea for peace and quiet by a group of tranquil, lethargic and harmless berry pickers and forest dwellers from the southern banks of the Gulf of Finland.

Giustino ütles ...

Thanks for the lack of belief in our capability for bigotry, but I think that you are mistaken.

I am from the United States. I have attended pride and women's related events and met all sorts of bigots who told me to my face that those people are "going to Hell."

I am from a country where a gay man, Matthew Shepard, was beaten to death solely for being a homosexual. So I am not so sure how I should treat 'Western' lecturing.

Giustino ütles ...

I would argue that there is a genuine post-Soviet issue about sexual and gender rights and that as nasty as it feels to be lectured by most imperfect nations, that's how it goes, and should go.

But are we really getting it right? I am sure there are some Finnish feminists who will tell you that Finnish 'equality' is a sham. And then there's Latvia, which just had a woman president for eight years. I know that doesn't mean anything, but it must mean something.

I am not sure if we who have societies that went through social upheaval in the 60s and 70s really have our game down. We can talk about how tolerant the East Village is, but the East Village is not all of New York and it is definitely not the United States.

And what is the point, say, behind Doogie Howser telling the world he's gay? It really wasn't a burning question on my mind.

However, it does irk me that Estonian 'well-known' gays, it seems, keep themselves in the closet. I mean when it's an open secret, why bother it being a secret anymore?

People are trying to change that, and that is what homoparaad is about and, frankly, it is one of the reasons I started this topic here.

On the other hand, I think this knee jerk "Pullerits said something bad about our parade, therefore he deserves to be publicly shamed" is stupid. People can think whatever they want about his column.

I would hate to see Estonia succumb to the same BS we have in, say, the US, of self-censorship, because I believe it actually obscures true intolerance, and makes the true discussion weaker.

stockholm slender ütles ...

No, of course those are valid points, there are no perfect societies on these issues, we all are deeply flawed, deeply unenlightened. But I do think that it's an important achievement to have this public debate and to push primitive anti-gay attitudes and language to the fringes of society. This I feel has not yet happened in Estonia for example. It is meaningful in itself that the public discourse is purged off hate speech, even though there remains lots of hatred in the society at large. The new generations will already grow up into very different circumstances as they will not experience socially accepted, public prejudice.

Randy ütles ...

Kristopher:

"The gay pride parade may be an institution, but it really has very little to do with life. Carnival is an age old syncretic tradition. A gay parade that stresses the most outlandish and reactionary parts of one subculture in a manner that crosses other people's rights to have peace and quiet is not. I would not compare the two."

Carnival in Trinidad--and, presumably, elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America--began as an imitation by slaves of the masked balls of their enslavers, and came to be intimately tied up with assertions of black autonomy. For much of its history, carnival was rather controversial, but it has since become mainstreamed despite its unorthodox, populist, perhaps garish origins.

Guistino:

"I am from a country where a gay man, Matthew Shepard, was beaten to death solely for being a homosexual. So I am not so sure how I should treat 'Western' lecturing."

The treatment of sexual minorities in most developed countries is significantly better than in most other countries, so that's a start. Being aware of potential hypocrisy is good, but if any flaws in any country is taken to mean that no one from those countries can make an argument against a particular sort of bigotry, that's a perfect argument for paralysis.

Giustino ütles ...

But I do think that it's an important achievement to have this public debate and to push primitive anti-gay attitudes and language to the fringes of society. This I feel has not yet happened in Estonia for example.

Estonia is hard to pigeonhole. I think the debate needs to go on, but if you are expecting a 'Stonewall' moment, don't hold your breath because the people here that I know don't care that much about the issue.

It's like with feminism. We have female doctors and lawyers and MPs and ministers. So the 'Estonia needs feminism' argument often seems to boil down to, Estonians need women who wear less make-up and who assign domestic roles more frequently to their male partner.

Like I said, it's the taboo of being public about ones sexuality here here that need's to be broken rather than any debate over morals -- this is not a catholic or orthodox country, it's not such a moral issue.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, those ripples have reached far (meaning Stonewall and the movement that was born). Most people seem to believe that this issue is too central for my thinking, but I see it as a kind of a bellwether of our whole enlightenment project. These issues are quite exactly where the cutting edge of social progress currently is situated. If that progress is to grind to halt, we would surely first see it here.

To conclude with a true gem that I found last night (under some influence of Irish whiskey) from YouTube - now there is a fierce spirit of social engagement that one hopes would still be around in Estonia, or in any country for that matter...

Tere perestroika

plasma-jack ütles ...

@slender: hope you understood the irony behind the lyrics ;-)

stockholm slender ütles ...

The irony was quite the point: those times perestroika was much praised, and many - admittedly especially outside the Baltic countries - thought that so everything is great, as good as it can get, and people should be satisfied and not complain. Isn't there kind of an analogy for today - why worry about such pies in the sky like gay rights when everything is already fine and dandy with the national independence?

Giustino ütles ...

Estonians havea lot to think about -- integration, Russian meddling, being sold out by Western neighbors, pipeline being built in their waters, housing bubbles, crazy drivers, alcphplic relatives -- gay rights are on that list, but I can't say they are at the top right now.

Most of our "awakening" stuff -- gay rights, womens liberation, civil rights in the US -- was made possible because of a long post-war period of economic good times. People were comfortable and secure, so they could afford to think deeply about those subjects.

Give homoparaad some time. Maybe it will roll back some bigoted attitudes.

Brendan ütles ...

Humorous and smartly-written. Bravo. :-)