Yes, rights for the LGBTQIA community over the past 30 years have sky rocketed, however mainly only for Gay and Lesbian men and women. Trans people still face daily persecution at work, where thousands of gender non conforming people face daily dismissal due to the fact that the people they are surrounded by “have never heard of that gender before”and assume it’s the current hipster fad sweeping Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. Fuck that.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that it is pride MONTH. Not just London and Brighton pride and then the eventual fall out afterwards, pride has a whole month world wide to showcase and thrive, to show the world who they are and what they are with no inhibitions or cares in the world. But why is there so much controversy about pride? With nations such as Nigeria and Russia, who struggle to even finish pride celebrations alive and in one piece, alongside countries such as ours, the UK, where the communities continued internalized phobia and policing against ‘who can go’ is the biggest issue on offer, are people forgetting the whole concept of pride, and I end up asking myself, where’s the pride in pride gone?
I’ve never actually been to pride. Last year was probably the first year that I would’ve been able to go to pride as an 18 year old, however work commitments and also the fact that I don’t actually have many LGBTQIA friends who would vibe the experience with me, I decided not to go. For me Brighton pride looks like the one. Brighton is like the San Fran of the UK, extremely liberal, fun, creative and diverse. Last years Brighton pride was delayed due to a bomb scare, and it made me think about how far pride has actually come. Pride originated as an act of remembrance for the people who were lost to us in the Stonewall riots of the 60s, in which police would raid LGBTQIA friendly bars and clubs in New York and shut the down, beat the people inside black and blue, and humiliate and violate members of the lgbt community, especially trans poc. The Stonewall Riots were a reaction to this violence, in which the members of the Stonewall Inn in New York refused to leave, causing 5 days of violence and riots for the right to live as their authentic selves, where many people died. If you were wearing clothes that weren’t made for your gender you were liable to a horrific public beating. Pride originated as a celebration of their lives and the poignancy of their plight, and to show gratitude and adoration to what they achieved as a result of their actions. This for me is one of the main reasons I would partake in pride, to show that we still remember them and that they will never be forgotten.
People get so confused by the essence of pride or I think they think too much about it. Like everything in life, events and situations are what you make them. Pride will be an experience that is yours and for your reasons and that’s all that really matters. As long as you’re spreading a positive message of love and pride then there really isn’t any problem with you being there. Pride for me is also something that is a way to get amazing amounts of positive exposure. People worry about coming to pride because of the exposure and the potential vulnerability, however what’s more encompassing and supportive than thousands of people marching, in solidarity and sharing a whole load of love for you and them and everyone around them. Go and BE PROUD. Show Pride. This is your month to be unapologetically yourself. You’re NOT showing off, you’re NOT drawing unnecessary attention to yourself because this is the attention and exposure that you deserve. Even the fact that you have a month dedicated to pride to be yourself on one hand is an amazing opportunity to express yourself and surround yourself with like minded people, however on the other hand, it can be perceived as patronizing and an attempt to “give them what they want so they shut up the rest of the year”. Either way use this platform in whatever way you want to because if you’re in the community, this is YOUR MONTH.
Recently I have been bombarded with people on social media complaining about pride, whether they be straight or not, there has been a lot of negative, and tonnes of internalized attention about the month. NEVER tell someone that they can’t go to pride. Even if they’re straight, never disallow someone to enjoy and participate in the event because you do not know what this event could mean to them. That random straight guy who wants to go to pride who you don’t think should go could be arriving to commemorate his gay best friend who commited suicide, you just have NO idea. Also, never tell someone who is a member of the LGBTQIA spectrum that they’re not allowed to go to pride because they appear to be in a heterosexual relationship of one woman and one man. You do not have the right. They can be gendernon-conforming, bi/pan or a multitude of sexual orientations that have the capabilities to create a heterosexual relationship. Motivations to go to pride are individual, and they create a group of people all there for different reasons, but with the same message, so never tell someone that they can’t attend because you definitely do not have the right. Whether they have the stereotypical washboard abs or are adoring their plus sized curves, never limit people from attending pride.
Nor is pride something that should be swept under the carpet, or something that should be labelled as unnecessary and attention seeking. Living as non-binary is isolating and the chance to be able to convene with thousands of other LGBTQIA people who have the same experiences as me and ideas and mindsets is something that is invaluable. So many straight, and LGBTQIA people actually, try and shame pride goers as attention seeking, and see pride as something that invites hatred and prejudice. Now let me just say this. It is no ones fault that people are hatred and prejudiced towards them, and on any other day of the year if you were to get assaulted because of your gender or sexuality then it wouldn’t be your fault, so why now when we are celebrating our individuality is it somehow “expected” and labelled as “inciting hatred” or your fault? GAY MARRIAGE DOES NOT MEAN THE WHOLE LGBTQIA COMMUNITY ARE OK. The amount of times people tell me “well you’ve got marriage equality now what are you fighting for?” or “gay people are treated equally now a days why are you still making a fuss it just rubs it in peoples faces” is barbaric. There are so many things wrong with those statements that I think I would actually have to make a whole blog post about it. Yes, rights for the LGBTQIA community over the past 30 years have sky rocketed, however mainly only for Gay and Lesbian men and women. Trans people still face daily persecution at work, where thousands of gender non conforming people face daily dismissal due to the fact that the people they are surrounded by “have never heard of that gender before”and assume it’s the current hipster fad sweeping Tumblr, Twitter and Instagram. Fuck that.
If i’m truly honest, do I think there will be a day in the future where LGBTQIA people will be able to live harmoniously and equally in society? I’m unsure. It would be the dream but being able to change everybodies mindsets to one of openness and liberalism isn’t going to happen, and I think that is just society. You’re always going to have people against you, however those people shouldn’t be your government and law enforcement agents, nor should they necessarily dictate how you love and live your life.
What i’m trying to say is, enjoy Pride. Remember why pride occurs, but make pride your own. Go to meet friends, make friends, find love, have sex, feel solidarity and proud amongst fellow genders and sexualities. Go and don’t give a fuck about the probable group of anti-LGBTQIA people that will picket against you, because this is for you. People who have just come out, people who aren’t out but want to be, people who are in love for the first time and never thought they would and want to share it with the world, people who have just transitioned or people just beginning their transition, or people not transitioning at all, JUST THRIVE. If you don’t want to go to pride, don’t, but never try and dampen the shine and pride of the people that do.