QED

Buggered if I Know What ‘Pride’ is All About

According to Britannica, the rainbow flag “goes back to 1978, when the artist Gilbert Baker, an openly gay man and a drag queen, designed the first rainbow flag.” Apparently, Baker was urged by Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S., to create a symbol of pride for the gay community.

What’s the word “pride” doing here? Pride being the greatest of the sins, according to C. S. Lewis. On the other hand, the word can be used as an innocent expression of praise. ‘You must be proud of that’, someone might say, for example, if one has achieved something against the odds. One might then reply, ‘Thanks but I had a lot of help’, or some such. Genuine humility in responding is the antithesis of pride.

Lewis was talking about the pride which is self-conceit, which finds expression in comparing oneself more favourably than others — in position, achievements, in looks, in whatever. It means essentially wanting to be always thought of as better than the next person. Of elevating oneself, of ultimately replacing God with self. And, we’re back to the Garden of Eden.

Go back to my example of an innocent expression of pride. Probably, most people would think it out of place to say someone must be proud to be tall or prepossessing, particularly when short or unprepossessing people are around. It can happen of course. What I’m getting at is that generally people aren’t praised or condemned for their innate physical appearance, because such things are outside of their control.

To Britannica again, and to “gay pride.” What does “pride” mean in this context. “The early demonstrations were often focused simply on participants being proud to be out of the closet.” I can see the legitimate and innocent way pride might be used this context. Maybe to praise people for their courage in coming out, though they might face censure for doing so. While that still might be the case these days in some isolated contexts; predominantly, it’s not the case in Western societies. Same-sex marriage is in place; prominent people are comfortable swanning around with their same-sex husbands or wives or partners. Job done.

So, what does pride mean now? Now, when the early focus of gay pride has given way to what Britannica describes as “political and social activism.” Let me ask the question another way. What did those seven Manly Sea Eagles players, who objected to wearing a rainbow decorated jersey, think gay pride meant? I don’t know. Personally, too, I’m not at all sure what it means. And this is important when it is bandied about as something we all should applaud. The law has had a particular tack.

The first codified law in the emerging Western world was the English Buggery Act of 1533. Death was the penalty. The last Australian state to remove buggery laws from the books was Tasmania, as late as 1997; though, mercifully, hanging had long since ceased to be the penalty. My point is that laws proscribing homosexuality focussed on the act; and, in particular, on the act of anal sex. That presumably is the reason that lesbianism never featured in Western law.

I saw an episode of Gentleman Jack, a splendid BBC/HBO period drama, set in Yorkshire in the 1830s, about a lesbian couple and their intrigues. One of the villains in the story was intent on nefarious gain by exposing the “unnatural” relationship. He was informed in no uncertain terms by a lawyer representing Miss Lister (one of the two) that it was not illegal and that he was at risk of being sued if he spread scurrilous gossip. I mention this, in part, to encourage you to view the series, if you haven’t already. But also, to underscore the point that it was a specific act, not same-sex relationships, that the law targeted. ‘We two men or women share companionship and are proud of it’, seems a bit silly to say, but would not have fallen foul of the law. We commit buggery and are proud of it, would have landed you in jail, and perhaps on the gallows.

It’s a very good thing that the law has bowed out of the frame. I don’t believe that the law has any place interfering with the goings-on between consenting adults, provided no-one is harmed. This is a well-known John Stuart Mill standard (in On Liberty), which is fairly robust. At the same time, as a conservative, I don’t totally subscribe to it in all circumstances. We are glued together as a society and nation for good purpose; to protect our lives, liberties and wellbeing. And this sometimes means controlling our behaviour and appetites, even if they ostensibly do no harm to others; that is, if everything is to continue to hang together. Can’t have people cavorting down the street in the nude.

As to harming no-one, men who have anal sex with other men, can put society at risk. AIDS, I think, was an example of that. I just noticed before writing, on the BBC website, that “a 41-year-old man in Brazil became the first fatality from the [monkey-pox] virus outside Africa [and that] data from Brazil’s health ministry indicates that more than 98 per cent of confirmed cases were in men who have sex with men.” Anal sex and promiscuity might well cause health problems among society at large. Even so, to make my first point, the case for banning such activity, or shunning or discriminating against those engaging in it, cannot be properly made in a free and tolerant society. Live and let live, is by far the best option. We will all be judged and all will be found wanting. Let’s not be prideful enough to single people out, unless they’re recklessly or deliberately doing harm.

To my second point. Live and let live does not mean that this or that activity has to be celebrated or lauded. I, and many others of goodwill, can’t come at regarding buggery as an admirable part of human existence. It is what it is. I prefer to ignore it. And, as a matter of fact, I prefer to ignore all sexual activity engaged in by other people. I suppose voyeurs might be interested. So, I come back the question, what does gay pride mean? Pride in what? I don’t have heterosexual pride, so I don’t have a point of reference.

I can’t imagine the circumstances within which I would be happy donning a gay-pride or rainbow emblazoned jersey. I wouldn’t know what I was saying, or agreeing to, or celebrating. Anyway, if you’re gay and proud of it, for some unfathomable reason, then wear the jersey if you must. Why would you want other people, who are not gay, to appropriate your pride – in whatever it is? Sexual-preference appropriation bears a strong resemblance to cultural appropriation, doesn’t it? Not politically correct at all, I would have thought. I’m sure it would offend DEI or ESG or something.

42 comments
  • Peter OBrien

    In this context, ‘pride’ could be meant to convey ‘not ashamed’. And, although it’s a contestable interpretation, one could hardly quibble with that sentiment. But once you start forcing people to wear the symbol, it goes a long way beyond ‘not ashamed’.

  • restt

    It is perversely interesting in the modern inclusive world how we change the definition of words. Sex originally meant sexual intercourse between a male and a woman.

    Anal sex wasn’t sex and was termed buggery or sodomy. The 2 later terms have virtually disappeared from use as there must be no pride in those activities. Now we have homosexual sex or anal sex … gay pride.

  • Daffy

    ‘Pride’ in this context is both self adulation and contempt for those who regard homosexuality as ‘unhelpful’. Well, unhelpful economically. It is we who have produced children who have provided the consumers who will fuel the economy during our retirement. By definition, homosexuals who remain true to their profession, do not contribute to the economic activity that will fund their retirement, which, without compensating production is depletive, but they’re proud, it would seem, of being leeches on the contribution of those they (in the public adulation they court) despise.

    I grew up with visits from time to time to one of my parents’ musician friends. He lived with another bloke. Never remarked upon, and it didn’t even raise a real question for my sister or I. It was just a pair of friends who lived together. They were at peace with it, we were at peace with it, and there we are! I suspect, how it should be. You don’t inquire about my living arrangements, I don’t inquire about yours.

  • Stephen Due

    I recall Peter Singer saying on Q&A that he “could not see anything wrong” with people having sex with animals – the reason being that no sentient being is harmed by this activity. This is absolute garbage. It is worth recalling – though this may come as a surprise to Peter Singer – that the mere fact that one cannot see anything wrong with something does not make it right. Theodore Dalrymple noted from his experience as a forensic psychiatrist that robbers usually thought there was nothing wrong with robbery. I think, however that even robbers would not descend to the depths of sexual depravity endorsed by Professor Singer: they still have some self-respect. Ultimately the utilitarianism of Singer, which is the same system of philosophy used to sanctify what is done between ‘consenting adults in private’, fails to account for the ethical teachings that form the basis of civilized life. Now that all legal restraint has been removed, we find our society rapidly descending into a pagan cesspit which is the natural end of humanity when left to its own devices. It would be nice to imagine that people are good by nature and all will be well, but somehow experience does not seem to bear this out. Without an inherited moral code, proven through the bitter experience of many generations, society has no moral compass. An individual brought up without moral restraint will find any interference with his urges irksome, whereas one brought up to lead a disciplined life will know its value from experience and will act accordingly. The advance of hedonistic atheism, which is now being force fed to children, is destroying the West as surely as a nuclear war.

  • Peter Smith

    Yes, Peter OBrien, good point, maybe it could be interpretted as “gay unashamedness.” Though I doubt the activists are so modestly-minded in their relentless campaigning.

  • STD

    Perhaps the notion of Pride ,as is represented by the rainbow flag, as used to adorn the packaged contents of Qantas’ in flight food, was in deed a culinary warning, to the end consumer.
    Maybe the rainbow transition to a footy Guernsey , is indicative of the standard of footy now, also being on par!
    The old idea of ‘I’ll be buggered ‘ once had an innocence in its meaning ;but still confounds the commonsense of the mind of yesterdays.
    My poor old grandpa would be rolling in his grave at the given sanctity and notional value of the homosexual Act- what can only be described as ‘ promiscuity at large’ – gay voyeurism for all too see.
    Just another holistic thermal in the degenerative plank that is nature of the progressive sexual revolution.

  • Alice Thermopolis

    Pride clearly means different things to different people.
    STD, your “poor old grandpa” probably would have gone to the Good Book – King James version (1611) – and quoted Proverbs, 16:18:
    “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

  • brandee

    What is worrisome about Gay Pride is that it may be the evidence of militant homosexuality. If the continual financially crippling legal attacks on Bernard Gaynor by a serial litigant is evidence of militant homosexuality using lawfare to deplatform a traditional Christian then please ring the alarm bells.

    Thanks Peter S for your insights again. You reference ‘Britanica’ which nominates 1978 when homosexuals first made use of a rainbow flag. This symbol has now at times been used on pedestrian crossings and on the clothes of Rugby League players. In relation to this last highly publicised rainbow stunt a short parody was published in the Last Post column of the WeekendOz [30-31/07] by a clever and regular contributor from Springwood, NSW: “I would be happy to wear rainbow colours so long as people realised that I was celebrating God’s covenant with Noah as recorded in Genesis”.

  • rosross

    Pride as in standing proud, not ashamed. However, it amounts to ramming it all down everyone’s throats, no pun intended, when they should have just gotten on with their lives.

  • Geoff Sherrington

    restt notes “:Now we have homosexual sex or anal sex … gay pride.”
    Identified as the main means to spread Monkeypox in its latest variation.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfZJX9l7aVQ
    Makes one wonder if buggery was so frowned upon through history because it had a history of spreading disease? But then, “ordinary” sex spread syphilis et al.
    Raises questions about wanting to ban anything, though the latest fad prefers banning a lot, like cancel culture. My brain hurts. So glad I dropped social media within hours of my first look.
    Read any good books lately? Geoff S

  • Mark Dawson

    I take Peter O’Brian’s interpretation. For most of western civilisation’s history most gay people probably did feel ashamed of their sexuality. TBF, they had plenty of good reason for that shame and history is littered with the persecution of gay people. To the extent that they now have equality of choice and rights in the face of the law that is something that they can celebrate and be thankful. That said, I’m so over corporate Australia acting like some teenage cheerleader on this issue. Recognising the rights was the right and Christian thing to do. Equally, its time to move on. There are more pressing agendas.

  • Ceres

    It’s the never ending attempt to normalise homosexuality and the alphabet brigade or more sinisterly to promote it as superior to heterosexuality that gets to me.

  • Michael

    Rainbow fatigue, welcome to country fatigue, climate catastrophism fatigue, feminism fatigue,

  • lbloveday

    I went into a small bar for the first time and the boss introduced himself “I’m A.B., I’m gay”.
    “Don’t look too happy to me”, I replied.
    .
    Why would a 65yo think a man of similar (or any) age gives a shite about his sex life? Why would he think that’s an appropriate way to greet a first-time customer?
    .
    I guess he was just showing his pride.

  • Michael

    The pride flag, especially the new, ‘more inclusive’ version with the triangle intrusion of additional colours, has become the defacto woke flag.

  • rossstanbrook

    “Pride goeth before a fall” anybody?

  • pmprociv

    Fully agree with you, Peter, that pride is a big step beyond simple acceptance, even recognition. Related to this is another group expressing empty and pointless “pride”, self-identified indigenous people. Every mention one sees of some person of purported indigenous identity achieving even the most mediocre goal is now garnished with the epithet “proud X man or woman”, where X refers to some ancestral tribal group. Imagine the outcry if I called myself a “proud white man”. Pride is the essence of racism, or indeed tribalism of all sorts. It should apply only to one’s achievements, not to one’s identity, over which one has no control (unless, of course, one happens to be a box-ticking race-shifter; Bruce Pascoe is no doubt proud to be whatever he claims to be right now).

  • loweprof

    Look up the word “gay” in the Macquarie Dictionary (the two-volumes 7th edition). Among other things it means unfashionable and unstylish, odd and eccentric, and irritating and annoying.

  • Katzenjammer

    They say it’s quite normal. If they really thought it’s normal they wouldn’t demand special attention. “Gay pride” is an acknowledgement by themselves that they know it’s an anomaly.

  • lbloveday

    loweprof,
    Around 12 years ago, I took my teenage daughter and friend by car from Adelaide to Sydney. We passed through Wilcannia with its broken and, or, boarded up windows, weed-ridden and rubbish-laden yards, car wrecks…. and she said to her friend “What a gay place”.
    .
    Apparently “gay” was in common use in their school as in your quoted meaning as students were banned from using the word first day of the next term.
    .
    Might offend the homosexuals?

  • Davidovich

    The Gay activists must, subconsciously at least, know that their lifestyle is aberrant and are seeking to have society recognise it as normal. If it were normal then human life would have died out long ago; there is no womb at the end of the rectum. I am quite happy for these people to live their lives as they choose but not to constantly have their lifestyles imposed as normal on the rest of society.

  • rosross

    The major problem with homosexuality, male and female, is that it is predatory and promiscuous. The ‘pride’ campaigns represent this ‘glorying’ in excess which is a part of the nature of this practice.

    No doubt in psychological terms, the excess is a shadow effect to seek to compensate for the artificial nature of homosexuality in biological, psychological, emotional and social terms. The psyche will demand balance and homosexuality represents a balance.

    That is not to say homosexual relationships cannot work but they are rare and they occur for individuals, male or female, who are able to create a relationship sourced in moderation on all those counts. Very often the two individuals have a shared passion to which they devote much of their time, thereby diluting the emphasis on sex and the need of the psyche to find balance.

    We all contain those qualities labelled masculine and feminine to lesser and greater degrees, with them being so named because they manifest in each of the sexes of the same name, in stronger form. Although a part of that is also social conditioning, or it has been. So if two individuals of the same sex come together with balance between the expression of masculine and feminine qualities their chances of a healthy relationship will be greater.

    But Nature will always demand balance of some kind and the increasing problem with homosexuality, male and female, is the pretence that it is a norm equal to heterosexuality and the aping of those relationships which simply magnify and expand the already existing artificial and distorted nature of the culture. By all means have sex with someone of the same sex but do not pretend it is no different to the norm, heterosexuality, because it is and it always will be.

    It is the gay life lived on lies which becomes a sad and unpleasant caricature.

  • STJOHNOFGRAFTON

    Hubris is a better word for it.

  • DougD

    I remember wasting time at university in 1960 reading the Times In Memoriam pages on the anniversary of the First Day of the Battle of the Somme. Many a grieving relative was proud to recall that “He was a gay young man”.
    Someone many years ago – not I think Edward VII when Prince of Wales -replied to a question about his attitude to homosexuality “ I don’t care what they do as long as they don’t make it compulsory “. Enter stage right, Australian football clubs and Stage left, QANTAS.

  • kh

    One argument that I do not read, but I think is important, is to trace the primal sense of sexual propriety back to respect for life. That primal point is that human life is the essence of our being and as such must be an essential “good” – for without it we do not even exist. Therefore, we are morally bound to reverence life (which is not to say that there are no circumstances in which we might prejudice it). It is but a small step from reverencing life to reverencing the unique life act which is the physical source of life. We reverence the life act with marriage, which clothes it in its highest dignity. Something less than marriage is a lesser dignity, although the life it produces should always be welcomed because life is good. In that context, homosexual (and other) acts are not merely something of a lesser dignity but a barren parody of the life act. This I think is why such acts historically regarded with such widespread disapprobation and why they are unlikely ever to shake off the taint of impropriety regardless of how much public campaigning is conducted. Such reverence for life is the foundation for a number of great taboos but the West of this present age seems to have little regard for such taboos in general. We have ceased to make a virtue of bridling our appetites and passions or of reverencing the Source of life.

  • rosross

    Correction –

    The psyche will demand balance and homosexuality represents imbalance.

  • Jackson

    Peter,
    You are too moderate in using the descriptor, DEI in your last sentence.
    I think the acronym DIE better describes the consequences of ungodly behaviour.

  • Watchman Williams

    The gay pride movement is essentially a political vehicle that seeks to gain influence in governmental circles. As such, it is cast in the same light as the aboriginal rights movement. Both have their contrived symbols; the rainbow flag and the “aboriginal” flag (designed by a white!). To that extent they are similar to the swastika, another flag of another political movement.
    The similarities don’t end there. All these movements represent themselves as oppressed victims of unjust social orthodoxies and use socially disruptive techniques to frighten the politicians into yielding to their demands step by step. All have special hatred for those who are their alleged oppressors; the whites, the heteros or the Jews. All claim a uniqueness that requires a separate political consideration to that of society generally.
    They are all fascist in character and nature and history demonstrates that fascism should not, and cannot, be appeased.

  • djhadley

    The commandeering of the word “pride” tells me they are really ashamed but by forcing it down the throats of normal people they seek comfort in mainstream numbers. The Left are very good at appropriating language to obfuscate their real intention.

  • Max Rawnsley

    Alice T above captured my observation on the ‘pride’ issue without the biblical threat although the quote is well worth noting. Seems to be eminently sensible advice
    Proverbs, 16:18:
    “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

    Are we not thoroughly sick of the continual pandering to supposed constituencies? This is not a question of tolerance, its look at me, again and again. If a ‘person’ (? ) wishes to be so classified or whatever I have no interest and do not want it shoved in my face Its like the Pied Piper of Hamelin leading a merry throng. Instead of accepting ‘normal’ is highly variable ‘pride’ creates an expectation of exceptionalism doomed to disappoint. Just go about your business without societal approbation and hoop la

  • OckerWild

    Not only have they corrupted the word “pride”, but “gay” also. I first heard this misuse of “gay” from a rampant homosexual in 1978. I asked why they used the word “gay”. He told me it was their deliberate mispronunciation of “guy”. Possibly adopted from California, or their often-identifiable elocution exemplified in ABC radio interviews.

  • Rebekah Meredith

    “For even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1: 26-27. Romans 1 also says that such people “dishonour their own bodies between themselves,” and have “vile affections.” It is clear that God does not accept sodomy (a biblical term) as permissible, even if those engaged in it do not bother anyone else. Certainly, no Christian should ever promote pride in something that God considers “unseemly” and “vile.”
    Of course, the Christian should also never forget that the “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” (I Corinthians 6:9) both need to be and can be saved from their sins through repentance and faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, just like those who have lived morally pure lives. “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Jesus; blood can cleanse ALL sin, but those who have been truly saved will turn away from this vile behaviour.

  • Carlos

    We hear so much about tolerance* from the left. It’s an interesting word, a bit like condone, but softer, less judgemental.

    Like many Australians I’m already tolerant of homosexuality, that should be the end of it. Don’t ask me to endorse it, this is the rub of the argument the Manly 7 are making.

    *The ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.

  • bomber49

    It makes sense that when a group or community makes a significant contribution to a sport or the arts that that group is somehow acknowledged by that sport or organisation. For example many sporting codes have an indigenous round for the disproportionate contribution that Aboriginals have made to that code. That makes sense and non-Aboriginals see that it makes sense. By way of comparison can someone tell me what contribution that homosexuals and the other members of LGBTQIA who fly under the banner of the Rainbow flag, have made to Rugby League. Without doing the research I would suggest that their contribution was bugger all. So why have a Rainbow Round for Rugby League and impose it on those who are indifferent or openly hostile to the concept?

  • Katzenjammer

    @ bomber49
    “It makes sense that when a group or community makes a significant contribution to a sport or the arts that that group is somehow acknowledged by that sport or organisation”

    When are they holding the Pacific Islander Christian Day ?

  • lbloveday

    Even if homosexuality is a natural phenomenon, that is no excuse for putting a penis in a rectum, the exit point for excrement – is a more revolting consensual human interaction possible? I accept and understand that some men find other men physically, and that attraction may seem sexual, but cannot accept that a desire for anal sex is innate for some as the desire for normal sex is with the vast majority; rather I think it is a learned activity, one now being taught to school children as normal, and in consequence will be tried by curious kids.
    .
    People are born with kleptomania, but under the penalty of fines/jail, they control their urges or suffer the consequences. Similarly many are born naturally inclined to violence, but we learn to control that by being educated and again by fear of legal consequence. Like Jimmy Carter, “I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times”, and with some men that lust includes a instinct to have sex with or without consent, and rape is rightly strongly discouraged by legal consequences, so the vast majority don’t do it.
    .
    AS Peter points out, until 25 years ago, anal sex was a criminal offence in parts of Australia, and still is in much of the world. How has this revolting activity gone from being criminal to something we are expected to embrace as normal in such a short time, worse still to people speaking out against it being dragged before Human Rights Commissions, effectively courts?

  • rabel111

    There is no doubt that the gay community has historically endured discrimination, abuce and prejudice across broad sections of the community, and that gay people may still be experiencing this today. Particularly younger gay people are at risk of personal harm, and deserve our support and emparthy.

    But let’s be clear, the LBGTQI2 banner has no acknowledgement of heterosexuality or any of the multiple variants of hetersexuality, and is not a banner of inclusiveness. It is a partisan banner symbolic of subgroups of the community and their unity based on sexual preference. Forcing people to celebrate LGBTQI2 sexuality (but not their own sexuality), by enforced wearing of the LGBTQI2 banner is not a pathway to inclusiveness. It’s a violent form of neo-bigotry, one that ignores and demeans the sexual identity of the majority of the community, and enforces not just tolerance, but active support of other peoples sexual identity. It is a symbol more often associated with negative framing of heterosexuals (breeders, straights, #other terms may be censored), and contempt for hetersexuality as a ligitimate preference.

  • Lawrie Ayres

    Mark Dawson. In about 82 BC Cornelius Sulla marched on Rome and after winning the battle of the Colline Gate became Dictator. Sulla was a renowned general and rode a mule rather than a horse. He was also a raving homosexual. No doubt there are other examples of homosexuals achieving greatness. I do hope it never becomes a prior requirement.

  • STD

    Totally Lawrie. One doesn’t see Alan Jones ,or Douglas Murray for that matter, carrying on with this BS. Both men possessing brilliant intellect ,and common sense- rare indeed these days. But hey , presumably both have inherited the all too rare commodities, of sound reasoning and wisdom.

  • whitelaughter

    All good stuff, both article and comments.
    Will just add: the reason that male queers cannot donate blood is because of the truly insane levels of STDs they suffer. According to the Blood Bank website, 50% of sexually active male homosexuals have 1 or more undiagnosed STDs, and even within monogamous couples the rate is 30 times that of society at large.
    So ‘not hurting anybody’ blatantly false.

  • Claude James

    A truth too hard to tell:
    Monkeypox is almost entirely spread by male homosexual activities.
    Just like AIDS.

  • Geoff Sherrington

    There is a free to air TV commercial for ice cream named “Golden Gaytime” in which effeminate-looking male 1 in several settings eats ice cream while effeminate-looking male 2 keeps bobbing up, asking for a bite. In one scene in a movie theatre, male 1 is first shown with a female, who is poorly-lit, almost grey-toned, small, shadowed by approaching male 2, then shoved down under male 2 who moves in and asks for a “bite’.
    My wife agrees this to be a deliberate depiction to suggest that male homosexual delights are more pleasant than the usual male to female. It is not subliminal in the sense that we both detected it, but for us, normal sex is always streets ahead of anything we have not tried. Geoff S

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.