A Question I Can Answer
Over at QandO (link below the fold may not be work friendly so you might want to go to the website directly and scroll down), I see that Dale and his wife were in Balboa Park at the time of the Gay Pride Festival. I didn't know he lived in San Diego. As it is my city too, I also attended. He broaches a topic which I suspect reflects common thinking among gay-friendly straight people (note, this is after a large number of complimentary things):
The LGBTG community always complains that the American people aren't more accepting of their lifestyle. "We're people, just like anyone else!" they always claim. But are they? I mean, obviously, they're people, and deserving of the same respect that anyone else is, but there is a difference in how they comport themselves in public.
For instance, there's a large number of sexual devices available to the heterosexual community. But, when I go to an American Legion street fair, I don't see booths selling Vietnamese spin-fuck chairs. I don't see heterosexual girls wearing nipple-hiding electrician's tape as a summer top. The Vivid Girls aren't manning a booth that sells "Barely 18, Version 11". Young men aren't poncing about wearing Lycra briefs so tight that you can tell what religion they are.
The thing is, if your problem is that a large number of Americans think, rightly or wrongly, that you're a bunch of degenerates, the way to settle their minds isn't to offer child and family admission to street fairs where "The Hard Rider" is openly sold, or where "Cum Towels"—emblazoned with cute little spermaceti—are given away free as a promotional device.
Heterosexuals, as it happens, also find Cum Towels useful, but we don't make public displays of them at events where we encourage the attendance of families and children.
As a practical matter of politics, if your goal is to convince the American people that you aren't, in fact, a collection of degenerates, then public displays of what the general community would also consider to be degeneracy probably aren't helpful.
And this is coming from a libertarian who—all joking aside—supports gay rights in general, and gay marriage in particular (although through the democratic process through referendum or state legislatures, I should note, and not by fiat of the courts). You catch more flies—or bears, for that matter—with honey than you do with vinegar.
Think about it. If your primary goal is to get in the face of the breeders, and yell, "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!"...Well...then, carry on. On the other hand, if your goal is to encourage acceptance and toleration among the electorate in general, so that they find it less onerous to vote for things like gay marriage (which, by the way, more than 60% of California voters rejected the last time they had a chance to vote on it), then you may find that a more accommodative and less aggressive approach might be useful.
This is a topic I might be able to offer some insight on. I think he is partially right about the political effect of such things, but there are other factors to consider.
First, Gay Pride is more reflective of a social movement than a political movement. It definitely has political roots (Stonewall) and political overtones--I don't want to downplay that at all. But I don't think that is the essence of Gay Pride. It reflects a desire to celebrate a community of gay people in a way that lets us support and cherish one another. Group building often has elements of focusing on the "other", and Gay Pride definitely has that in its political aspects. But it is also about supporting each other, and embracing each other. So while some aspects of that may cause short-term damage to the political cause, that isn't really the focus.
Second, the thing that sets us apart from much of the rest of our communities is in fact sex. A typical gay experience involves repressing one's sexuality until you can't take it any more. Then, hopefully, you learn to embrace it without shame. Some people take that further in public than I personally would, but it makes some sense as a rejection of the early damaging response to society suggesting that your attraction to the same sex is deeply wrong.
Relatedly, on a continuum of weirdness many of the "more extreme" things aren't really all that much more shocking. For the average homophobe, I strongly suspect that on a revulsion scale of 1-10, merely being gay gets you to 8 or 9. Being a gay leatherman, drag queen, or a boot-stomping lesbian might get you to 10, but that doesn't put you much further than the average guy who kisses his boyfriend in private. So for support purposes it makes much more sense to hang together rather than hang separately. Furthermore, if you are exposed to violence or lesser nastiness, the gay leatherman, drag queen, or hyper-butch lesbian have been through it all and usually aren't too embarassed and/or scared to help you out. Their wealth of support is more than worth the average political loss.
Now I know gay people who are generally embarassed by the excesses of Gay Pride and wish everyone would tone it down. I experience twinges of that myself from time to time. But life isn't all about politics.