Why I still go to Pride, and why it still matters

Happy Pride, everyone!

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This is something I heard hundreds of times today, from friends and family and from strangers.

Yet I've had exactly four non-GLBT people ask me this week if I was going to pride or otherwise mention that his week is pride week.

On my Facebook feed and in the blogs I read, I'm mostly seeing comments about how people don't like pride anymore, because it's become corporate and is dominated by "PFLAGs and churches" and lacks the grassroots community groups that were once central to the event.

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These observations aren't inaccurate. The fees to march in the parade this year (without a vehicle, which costs more) were $140 for non-profits, $40 for student groups, and $220 for other groups (if the group registered before February 28; registration went up every few months and was $875/$250/$1375 after June 1). The fees are the same regardless of whether your non-profit or for-profit runs out of your basement and might not have the resources of Children's Hospital or Home Depot. Certainly, the fees alone shut out a lot of small, local groups.

Still, I argue that pride is needed even more now that we're in a place that we more-or-less have legal rights (we still are hugely lacking, and our trans brothers and sisters even more so). People seem to have forgotten about their GLBT friends and family and coworkers and neighbors, if they notice us at all. In most of my circles, I'm surrounded by mostly straight folks. Which is fine, most of the time, but it points out to me every day that we're still largely invisible and why this "I treat queer people just like anyone else and hardly even remember that you're queer" stuff doesn't work.

As I said, exactly four non-queer people realized that it's pride week and asked if I was going or wished me happy pride. I have far more homophobic experiences in any given week. Or day, actually. And I get far more people asking about my plans for holidays that I don't celebrate or asking if I'm going to notoriously homophobic/transphobic events.

This is why pride still matters. If a bunch of giant corporations that have no major financial reason to give a rat's ass about queers in Boston realize that it's pride week and have taken the time and effort to have a presence at the parade, then surely people who have daily or weekly personal interactions with queer folks can bother to remember that we're queer and make sure they include us and are sensitive to us in their language and their worldviews.

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Look, more effort from freakin' Home Depot than from most of the people I actually know

Beyond that, it's just nice to have a day in which I actually feel community and I'm not the "other." Where my family and I go up to a booth and look at necklaces and a stranger tells me that one's really cute and I should totally buy it for my wife, when most of the time I get asked by not-exactly-strangers if she's my sister or my mom, or asked by a well-meaning coworker how anyone would possibly know I'm gay, not realizing that queers and allies actually listen and look for what someone is putting out there rather than assuming everyone is straight unless they outright say otherwise. (The mom thing seriously happened two separate times. We're both in our 30s.) It's awesome to browse tables of advertisers and chat with community groups without having to have my antennae out to figure out whether the bed and breakfast or wellness center is queer-friendly, or smile and nod politely while I make a mental note to go look on their website later to see if I can figure out if I'd be welcome there.

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Happy Pride, everyone.


2 comments:

realsupergirl said...

Also,
http://poetrypill.blogspot.com/2009/06/pride-poem.html

Iseut said...

Happy pride!