In this blog post, I want to share my thoughts on whether Pride should be a protest or a party – because I honestly believe that we can’t have one without the other. I believe this because I think that they are both equally important, and I can’t imagine having a Pride event without one of these aspects. Additionally, I think I do have a solution as to way to solve this problem – we could have protest / activism activities during the day, and all the celebration events during the evening / night time – this would mean that the individuals could come and leave Pride whenever they want.
But Pride is important – no can deny that. This is because Pride began as protests against police brutality towards LGBTQ+ people – from rioting transgender women of colour in San Francisco in 1966 ino the infamous Stonewall riots. In addition, the first Pride Parade was in New York City and took place in 1970, which was one year after Stonewall. So while Pride did start as a protest, it has turn into a more pinkwashed affair. But that doesn’t mean that the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is over – for example, in the UK today, a third of employers wouldn’t hire a trans person. Furthermore, in the last year, hate crimes based on a person’s sexuality rose by 27%. When you also face institutional discrimination, especially if you have intersectional identities, then it runs the risk of having your many identities being ignored. This is due to the fact that Pride is often associated with white, cisgender, gay men – though a solution to this problem would be to include events which are more catered towards intersecting identities, or to have educational resources being published. Either way, no one should feel left out of Pride.
Intersectionality is important for any political movement, because no one person fits into just one box – you have to consider how all of your identity affects how you experience oppression. So highlighting racism, for example, within the LGBTQ+ community, is a part of why Pride should be more focused on being a protest – to backup my point, Stonewall research published in June showed that LGBTQ+ members who were POC were more likely to face discrimination within the LGBTQ+ community.
But that doesn’t mean that Pride should just be limited to what we still have to do – because it is also important to celebrate how far we’ve come. For example, Dream Nails set up Queer Prom, which is an event that takes place every year, and the weekend after Pride. On year, the event raised money for Action for Trans Health.
In addition, we should celebrate how far we’ve come because – and I know this will sound cliche – it really does get better. This isn’t to say that be part of the LGBTQ+ community is all rainbows and sunshine, because it isn’t – but once you’ve decided to come out, you will hopefully be welcomed with open arms. But obviously everyone’s coming out experience is unique, and not everyone chooses to come out, which is also completely fine. Furthermore, Pride should be a celebration because it could inspire someone to come out – for example, this could be to a family member, or a friend – and even if you are unable to come out, it could give you a spark of hope that it does get better.
Moreover, and like I said before, we have earnt the right to party our butts off – after everything we have fought for, we deserve to have a bit of fun. But let the parties be intersectional and inclusive, because the LGBTQ+ community is more than just cis white gay men – and the parties should reflect that. Though this raises the problem that Pride has become equated to alcohol and glitter – this is a valid criticism, especially from a booze perceptive, because a). it fails to take into account those who are not old enough to drink alcohol (so for example, in the UK, this would be individuals who were under the age of 18), and b). it fails to consider those, who by choice, choose not drink alcohol (which is perfectly OK). A solution to this would be to simply supply non-alcoholic drinks.