It has so many different meanings for many people. For some it means a gathering of various LGBT communities coming together to celebrate who we are. For others it may be the time to bring awareness of what’s going on in the community such as the fight for the right to marry. Others sit on the sidelines grumbling that Pride has lost its focus and that it used to have a meaning but now it’s just an excuse for people to get drunk and have sex.
For me Pride is a reflection on what we do have and a recognition that although as an LGBT person things are not perfect, we still have made advances. I could be a naysayer and look at the half empty glass of pride and ask;
‘Why are we still treated like second hand citizen?’
‘Why is there no outcry on the rising rates of HIV/AIDS in the minority communities?’
‘Why has Obama not delivered on his promises?’
There’s many more examples but then there’s also another side of looking at Pride.
As this is being written New York has joined the small handful of states that makes it legal for gays to marry. The move shows the progressiveness of the state but more than anything it shows what can happen when we keep the fight as a collective even when it looks like the sun will never shine on the promise. It didn’t happen overnight. Yet we kept pressing our step forward and those who were on the fence or against it at first saw the fruit we held. This alone is a reason to celebrate Pride!
If we look back to how things were ten years ago, we have to acknowledge that we have made many steps, they made have been small, but they were steps that were forward. Whether it’s the media, such as television shows and movies that are giving more visibility to gay members or the mainstream now joining in the backlash against those speaking negatively of people in the life. You can also see it in the faces of our youth who are coming out and expressing themselves more than they did especially when I was growing up. They represent a growing flower sprouting up out of the spoiled dirt.
To really appreciate Pride we also have to look at those who don’t have that same right to celebrate. In other countries, if people were to march and have a parade there would be violence. Berlin is one example yet they still march despite the threat of harm. Or look at places in Africa where the government can invade your privacy and monitor your actions or come into your home and drag you out in the middle of the night. Public beatings or killing of gay people in the West Indies territories seem to be sanctioned. If we really look at other global places we can see more examples where the freedoms we have is denied to others.
Again I realize we have much more work to do but there’s a value in giving ourselves a time to celebrate the small victories. A opportunity to renew our spirits, our energies before we head back on the front lines in the battle for our rights.
We’re so used to everything happening fast whether it’s our internet connection, our technology, hell even our relationships. We want it now!!
And if I was a youngster today I know my mother would turn off my home video game system that I was playing for hours and she would look at me and say
“Go out and play”
The battle will be there when we get back, but at least we’ll be rejuvenated!