There are a lot of reasons not to like Pride. I've heard it described as too corporate, too focused on partying, too boring, not political enough, too political, unrepresentative, and too sexual. My big gripes are crowds, blazing sun, and a general lack of the things that I really enjoy. If Pride was a moderately attended microbrew festival with amazing food trucks (Thai street food perhaps, maybe some Korean barbeque?) and a band playing country hits, Badger and I would be there every weekend.
Despite the fact that hanging out with some thousands of my closest friends on a blazing Baltimore summer afternoon is really not my idea of a good time, we are planning to go to Pride this year-mostly because of Ladybug. I want LB to grow up knowing that there are lots of gay people in the world, but more than that, having LB has made me much more aware of how much we need each other as gay people.
Queer people/gay people don't necessarily have much in common with each other. Besides defining ourselves as something-other-than-straight and a shared history of being oppressed and marginalized, what do we share? We live everywhere, and are of every race, creed, and religion. That diversity can be a weakness or a strength. It's a weakness if we aren't willing to know each other and don't care about each other. Those differences can be very hard to bridge in the real world, for example, what do I have in common with the young trans sex workers I see on the streets not that far from my house? As a teenager living in a difficult situation, one not particularly related to my sexuality, I found gay adults to be a fairly useless lot. In retrospect, they had a lot to lose from being overly friendly with a gay teen, and they probably knew better than I did that very little they could say or do would make my life better at that point.
Even if we can't solve all the problems of other gay people, our generosity and compassion is our strength. We have a long fight ahead and we need each other for that fight. We can't let the pettiness of "I hate techno" (which I do), and "I would never wear hotpants in public" (which I would not) divide us. So we'll take LB to Pride, and hopefully we can enjoy some pit beef and snowballs while we raise a glass (of something which is sure to make Badger rail bitterly against the swill that is mass produced beer) to our proud forefathers and foremothers who partied like their lives depended on it.
|Time to put on your pride pants!|