There are a lot of things that surround any Pride event these days. From pointless questioning of “why isn’t there straight pride?” to people moaning about it all being about the scene queens and no one else, it’s a time when we are either united or we are divided.
So, let’s review shall we? The need for Pride comes out of a political movement, to show that we are here, and queer and you better get used to it! It was about trying to force the hand of change so that we wouldn’t be treated as the inferiors of society, and was very much more about the march and the message compared to modern day Prides. The reason no one needs a straight pride, is because day-to-day, heterosexual people do not fear the response to openly showing their love for another or showing who they truly are. Pride is that one day in any city that allow us LGBTQ people to do the same; to show love, to show who we really are, and not be scared.
Modern day Prides now, tend to have a bit less of a march feel, and more of a party feel. They’re usually held in parks or in closed off streets, and are usually headlined by musicians who are current or fit the bill. This is where my own problems with Pride begin however. Now there is less of a political message, and more of a party feel, we are just seen as a community who parties and for one day a year, want to be able to get “day drunk” in the streets. Marches are smaller, or non-existent, and what banners are put up, and those who sponsor part of the event (usually the scene bars who totes muscled up men in their adverts). To me, there is usually a massive lack of diversity in it, and I think this is echoed in the fact that there are separate Trans, Bear and Leather Pride events around the UK. Any Pride event should aim to incorporate all of us into whatever they do.
As for who is on stage, most of the time its a money grabbing ploy, but what should be really considered is who is actually an ally and who is just using us for our disposable pink pound? Now, you’re probably sat there thinking “jeez, this guy just really doesn’t like Pride” but you’d be wrong.
Whilst I have many problems with it, I am also happy with it. Yeah, there are missed opportunities, but that’s the same with everything. You’ll find people who don’t like the scene because it’s “full of straights” or they don’t feel welcome because it’s geared towards one audience; and Pride has gone that same way. Pride is geared towards the LGBTQ community now, rather than making a fuss towards passing heterosexuals, and that’s something to be proud of.
In this day and age, whilst in most countries homophobia and the oppression of the LGBTQ community is rife, we are lucky enough here in the UK to be able, on a whole, enjoy a Pride event with little incident. Yeah, you’ll get those straight people there, but assume they are allies and they are there to support you. Yeah, you’ll see the cliques of people gathered in huddles, ignore it and enjoy your own circle of friends.
We should be united, but it doesn’t always happen, but just being at the same event makes us united. Love is love, and Pride is pride. We have these unique opportunities to help those coming to terms with their identity, or those who want to support us, and we should be inclusive of those people. We should make them feel like they belong because they do. There is a message in a Pride event, even if it isn’t screamed from the rooftops: we are here, we are queer and we ain’t going anywhere.