This Saturday (24th August) is Manchester Pride.
But do Pride events truly reflect Proud members of the LGBT+ community?
Let me start by confirming:
- I am part of the LGBT+ community
- I know that the initialism has now far exceeded LGBT+ (I think the last I checked it was LGBTQIIA+); but I will use LGBT+ to make matters simple.
Honestly, I struggle with Pride.
I am a Millenial (yes, one of those) and growing up, although my own experiences were, fortunately, hassle-free, I heard plenty within the community comment on the abuse they suffered.
One thing they would always say is;
Why can't they see that I'm no different to them? I might be gay, but that doesn't make me different.
Akin to the old saying;
If you cut me, do I not still bleed?
And then those same individuals feel the need to take part in parades which, by design, are there to literally say:
We are proud of being to different to you.
Don't get me wrong, I believe that when Pride first started, the message was true. The community was Proud of the obstacles it had overcome, the fact that legislation had been changed etc. Their Pride related to the successful movement.
Now, however, it appears to be an excuse for the Millenals (and to an extend the Silver Foxes) to parade around in next to no clothing, get drunk and sh*g. After all, what is there for the younger generation to be Proud of?
They cannot be Proud of the movement; they had nothing to do with it.
Can they be Proud of just being part of the community? I would say not.
I enjoy being LGBT+ - I wouldn't want to be any other way. But am I Proud of it? No - because I had no choice in the matter and I didn't achieve it.
Is anyone necessarily Proud of being their own gender? No; they didn't choose to be that gender.
Is anyone necessarily Proud of being blond? Or brunette? No; they didn't choose to be that hair colour.
I am Proud of my degree. I am Proud of my career. Things I have worked for; those things I achieved. Things that just are, over which I had no control; I can enjoy, I can be happy about, but I can't be Proud of.
And therefore Millenials can't say they attend Pride because they're Proud of being LGBT+.
There will of course be those who argue against the above logic;
But I am proud of being LGBT+
Let's say they are. They are, for some reason, Proud of something they had no say in. It then follows that heterosexuals can be Proud of their own (unchosen) sexuality. And if heterosexuals can be Proud; why can't they have Pride parades?
Any time a heterosexual mentions a Pride parade, the LGBT+ community goes apesh*t. Recently, a group of guys in Boston (including a member of the LGBT+ community) wanted to throw a Straight Pride. The LGBT+ community was up in arms. But I ask why?
If LGBT+ persons can be Proud of their sexuality and thus throw Pride events, what stops heterosexuals doing the same? Nothing. Not when you base your argument on being "Proud of their sexuality". We can't apply double standards.
So then the argument is;
Heterosexuals have never faced adversity or had to hide who they were for fear of persecution.
True, they haven't. But then we have reverted to Proud of the progress; of the movement. Can Millenials be Proud of something in which they had no hand?
Can I, as a person of mixed heritage, be Proud of my white ancestors for finally aboloshing slavery? Can I be proud of my non-white ancestors for pushing for the abolition of slavery? No.
Imagine if you heard somebody say;
Do you know what I'm most Proud of in life? The fact that generations before me rose up against their Masters and pushed for slavery to be abolished.
If someone were to say that people would think them a dick; because *they had no involvement.
In the same way, therefore, LGBT+ persons who were not (and in some places still are not) part of the movement for equality, cannot be Proud of the movement.
And so without a logical reason to be Proud of their sexuality, and without just cause to be Proud of the movement, what reason is there for LGBT+ persons to attend Pride other than to broadcast their differences to a heteronormative society?
And so, if there is to be true equality, like so many in the communicate say there needs to be (and with which I agree), one of two things needs to happen:
- LGBT+ Pride ceases to take place
- Heterosexuals (or those not defined by LGBT+) must be permitted to throw Pride events
Point 1 will never happen; the community likes to party too much.
Point 2 is more likely to happen. As the community continues to thrust it in the faces of society, even where legislation and attitudes towards the community are equal, resentment will grow amongst the heterosexuals and they will be successful in throwing their own Pride parties.
To that, I say, enjoy la fiesta!