Every year, an article comes out from a queer person bemoaning that Pride is nothing but problematic for the queer community now. I can understand some of the sentiment like the big Pride parades are all corporate tools for marketing; that gay inc is selling us out to the highest bidder. This may be true but it doesn’t matter as much as getting together with your friends and having a wonderful time does. Having fun is only part of the story though. To me, Pride is about us living our lives to the fullest and being fully realized people. As a transperson, this means being out and proud about my past, my present, and my future.
I remember my first pride experience at 24 in Spokane, Washington. I went with some friends and I had no idea what to expect. What I experienced will live with me for the rest of my life. I was overwhelmed with emotions. I could not fathom how amazing it was to see all these people both in the parade and watching it be themselves. I had no idea that being out could make someone happy. I know others have had the same experience. It made me strive to be the best person I could be.
So, why Pride? Why do we need to have this big extravaganza every year? Aren’t the slow equality gains enough? The answer is no and this is why Pride matters so much.
Because in most states, you can be fired for being LGBT.
Because in most states, you cannot marry who you love because is it enshrined in states’ constitutions.
Because my trans sisters are routinely killed for who they are.
Because gay bashings still occur in supposedly safe cities like New York City and Seattle.
Because suicide rates amongst LGBT youth are four times the rates of their heterosexual counterparts.
Because nearly half of trans people have attempted suicide.
Because the more people know someone who is LGBT, the more likely they will begin to fight for our rights as well.
Because marriage equality is important and everyone deserves the rights given by governments to married opposite sex couples.
Because trans people have the right to be themselves under the law.
Because of the great work that activists in places like Russia and Israel are doing.
Because places like Argentina are awesome, passing both marriage equality and having the best laws regarding trans people in the world.
Because It Gets Better.
Because we have an open elected US Senator who kicks some major ass.
Because we defeated major attacks on our right to privacy in Arizona.
Because we ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell for LGB soldiers and that ending it for transpeople is surely on its way.
Because it’s an excuse to post this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2P2MEbMs5Ns
Because a song about same love climbed the pop charts.
Because Pride let a 24-year-old confused person understand that its OK to be who you are.
The spirit of Pride is one of love and acceptance, something we all strive for. LGBT are disproportionally shunned in our society and with Pride events it is making it easier to show that we come from all walks of life, from the homonormative gay financier to the leather daddy dyke. We are a great cross section of society, one that is finally starting to hit its stride. HAPPY PRIDE, Persephoneers. Go get a Unicorn and ride a rainbow.