New Jersey Pride in Asbury Park Launches Controversial New Rule
UPDATE: The rule has been overturned. New Jersey Pride will not change! Read more.
NEW REGULATION THIS YEAR — DUE TO LIQUOR LIABILITY NO COOLERS WILL BE ALLOWED INTO THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS. Beer and wine will be available for purchase at the festival. We can’t wait to see you on June 3rd in Asbury Park.
My first thought: what the hell?
They then changed it to read:
NEW REGULATION THIS YEAR — DUE TO LIQUOR LIABILITY NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL WILL BE ALLOWED INTO THE FESTIVAL GROUNDS. Beer and wine will be available for purchase at the festival. We can’t wait to see you on June 3rd in Asbury Park.
(Damn it – someone obviously clued them in to the obvious loopholes of the first statement.)
To be honest with you … I’m a little heartbroken. No, I don’t see Pride as an excuse to go nuts (read: get so drunk that we actually piss ourselves, a la Mad Men, or streak, or set fire to things), and nor do any of us here at JSG. But we did start a new page on Facebook, which (and disregard the URL, because that was not our purpose and we can’t change it thanks to Facebook rules, unfortunately) you should join if you agree with any of the points I’m about to make. And these are all stemming directly from comments made on Jersey Pride’s own Facebook page, which were deleted thanks to a very select number of individuals who insisted upon it and misconstrued our comments.
Because the arguments against us don’t seem to add up.
The cost of maintaining the event. Jersey Pride, Inc., is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers for the overall LGBTQI (and, yes, the acronym has gotten longer, and that’s awesome – we are an inclusive minority, after all). And thus, we all want to support them – and do, if we can. We’re not going to stop paying the “suggested” donation at the entrance to the field; indeed, we at JSG tend to pay far more than is required. And I, personally, have spent a helluva lot of money at past Jersey Pride festivals on food and merchandise (lots and lots of merchandise) offered by local and national vendors. And I have a ton of friends who have done the same, because we all saved money on booze and used it on a good cause.
Go away, you drunken bastards. People have assumed (wrongly) that our arguments stem from our need to get wasted at Jersey Pride. This is not the case. The fact of the matter is, past Jersey Pride events have allowed us the opportunity to create a “cooler camp” and then wander the grounds, greeting old friends, making new ones, and offering drinks (even the King James Bible offers that tidbit: “… and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up and help you, and be your protection.”) We come to Asbury Pride, in the past, with coolers of beer so that we have plenty to share with our friends, not so we can have enough to get wasted.
Go away, you gay bastards. Allie made a comment on our new Facebook page:
I believe that this new alcohol policy for pride is the first phase in “toning down” the gay presence in Asbury Park. It’s the first step in phasing out the homosexual population that came in, cleaned up, and made the city habitable again. They force attendees to buy alcohol, so more money is spent on big booze than on the local vendors and artists; thus next year, fewer vendors and artists; thus, smaller pride…and smaller…and smaller… I know this sounds like an insane conspiracy diatribe, but they couldn’t just kill the booze right out of the gate. It would be too obvious.
I may not agree with this completely, but one has to admit that there have been signs that Asbury, the big gay Mecca of New Jersey, is changing dramatically, from
- Bamboozle, a huge, straight, northern Jersey fest (and even you gays who go to it, as I have in previous years, have to admit that you saw a lot more canoodling straight couples than you did gay)
- my good friend’s friend laying with her head on her girlfriend’s lap and being blasted by Asbury Park beach patrol about complaints about their “PDA” (despite my having seen a number of straight couples – and unattractive ones at that – dry humping on the beach … and, no, there is no way to hide a boner in swim trunks)
- Porta on a typical Friday night (need I say more? – helloooooo guidos)
We don’t want New Jersey Pride to end. Far from it. All we’re saying is that we, and a lot of friends that have been to Pride very year for over a decade, and have kids who they bring to the event (another argument from a number of people), and don’t drink (because this isn’t about the alcohol, again), think Jersey Pride should remain as it has for the last nineteen years. I think that kind of longevity should tell you something.
If you want to know one of the comments that set us all off:
Dear JPI people: Would you please block the people who are bashing your name on this page? Calling JPI “sell-outs”, “a**holes” and some even suggesting that kids under the age of 21 should get their older friends to go get them alcohol at the festival. These potential festival goers are probably not the kind of people you would want their anyway. Just take away their soapbox and boot them the heck out of this group…please! They are not worth the effort to argue with. By the way, do what you have to do to keep the festival safe for the families who go. There are children there and maybe a little less drunkenness would be a nice change.
Just to address this woman’s points in a succinct paragraph: Nobody called JPI “assholes.” Nobody suggested that underage kids should drink. In almost a decade of attending Asbury Pride, not one person we know (and, honey, we know everybody) has ever told us of anyone acting inappropriately in front of anyone’s kids. The field at Jersey Pride is a place to set up your camp with your friends and/or family, and casually wander around, making new friends, reconnecting with old friends, and reaffirming your connection with a community that already has enough rules and regulations set upon it. The field is a conglomeration that spans the entire gay social strata, from married with kids, to celebrating first prides, and the best part of that mash-up is the respect we have for one another.
Please comment, complain, and/or argue – we want to hear it! And we would love to hear a response from Jersey Pride, Inc., about the decision, rather than having our comments erased entirely. That looks awful, and you can ask anyone in PR about it.