All posts edited by Madeline Ricchiuto.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pride - Is It Needed Now?

This past June was Pride month in the United States and during that month Pride festivals were held all around the country. In addition, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to strike down DOMA as unconstitutional - and so this year's festivals after that decision were probably some of the biggest and most attended in a long time. This also means that they have and will get a lot of attention. There seems to be a lot of confusion on what exactly Pride is, what it stands for, and its purpose so hopefully I can explain some of that here.

The first thing that usually comes up when talking about Pride is "why?". Many opponents of Pride bring up the point that there is no official "straight Pride". This objection makes almost no sense. Pride is a day where people are free to express themselves and be surrounded by acceptance and love, despite their sexuality, gender expression/identity, etc. I don't know any day where heterosexuals or cisgender people don't have that, even during Pride festivals. Heterosexuals and 'normalcy' are celebrated everywhere, all the time. They are in the media, product placement, symbols of power and success - it pervades our entire culture. I think its very clear that there is a 'straight Pride' and it's called life.

People also seem to have trouble understanding why anyone would be proud of their sexual orientation, let alone dedicate an entire day/week/month to it. Many people say it is an inherent trait and therefore not something you can or should be proud of. The pride is not because we are 'proud of our homosexuality'. It may have started that way, and there are still some elements of that, but I think it has evolved into something else. We are proud of ourselves, both individually and as a group, of the obstacles we have all faced and overcome because of who we are. The LGBTQ community still faces lots of challenges today- just think back a few months to all the killings and violence in New York City or the many statistics on LGBTQ youth. Pride is a great place to celebrate overcoming those kinds of obstacles.

For many of the opponents of Pride, the objection to it is that they dislike the fact that LGBTQ people are vocalizing their sexuality. It usually sounds something like "I don't mind that this person is x but why do they have to be so loud about it?" Privacy to them is a priority. However, this 'privacy' as silence is a luxury that the LGBTQ community can't afford. Silence = Death is an old slogan used by the LGBT movement that still applies today. Staying silent doesn't allow issues to be addressed and can instill fear. By celebrating our triumphs we also expose the problems we have seen and experienced in society which allows them to be addressed and remembered.

So to explain shortly and conclusively - Pride is a time where people who don't fit society's standards can celebrate themselves. It's a time for them to be proud of expressing themselves despite the danger that may place them in. It's a place where we can recognize everything LGBTQ people have and are going through, and we can show support for our fellow people; Pride stands for community, strength and support. Pride goes to reinforce that being LGBTQ is okay and that you shouldn't be afraid to be yourself, which is a great message for all the LGBTQ youth around the country and world. Its a great message for anyone who is ostracized. Pride is something that is definitely still needed and I don't foresee it not being needed anytime soon.

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