June is the month of national Prides, a month to remember and celebrate gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersexual people. But the Pride divide. For some it is a buffooneery full of underwear and rainbow gadgets. For others it has a multiplicity of meanings. This is why Pride is not an event for everyone. But just because it is not for everyone doesn’t mean that there is not yet needed.
Here are 5 reasons why we still need Pride.
Pride as a sense of belonging to a community
The LGBTQI community is larger than a single person or a single group, and sometimes it’s hard to remember. Having a sense of community is one of the most powerful and rewarding feelings in the world, and this is exactly what gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersex people have fought for. We are in a world where (unfortunately) there are still people who are attacked for the way they are, for the way they express themselves and for those they love.
But it is not only this: Pride means to demonstrate that you exist and create a sense of belonging for people who do not have it. It means giving hope to people so they can believe that things will always get better. Looking around and knowing that you are in a loving environment, that you are surrounded by those who, at a certain point, asked themselves “who am I?” without shame or fear of what they would discover.
Pride as strength for new members of the community
For example, Pride can be important for new members of the community; for those who are “different” is still a new thing. Without Pride, these people could be trapped in a mental and emotional condition where they believe they would be alone if they came out. Almost all of them have passed. Fear is a real thing. Shame is a real thing. And no matter how close your friends are (if you are lucky enough to have them), a gay, lesbian, transsexual, queer, bisexual or intersexual person might not believe that things will get better. The world shows us, too often, how difficult the life of an LGBTQI person can be.
Pride is a comfort zone and a place of safety for many of these people. It is a door open to new possibilities. It is a proof for these people to be loved just like others, and that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer or intersexual is not meaning being alone.
Pride as a celebration of the rights achieved
On the other hand, Pride is also necessary to celebrate those in the LGBTQI community who have fought to get where we are today. They fought for them to be able to lead their lives freely with the respect they deserve. This doesn’t mean to not fighti anymore, but only taking time to celebrate and honor the rights achieved. Pride is a powerful mean to show that these people have defeated those who wanted (and want) that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer or intersexual is something to hide or to be ashamed of.
Pride as … pride!
“Yes ok, but why celebrate it? Straight people do not celebrate their heterosexuality!” A legitimate doubt. But heterosexual and cisgender people are the most visible people on planet earth, not just because of their number, but because their relationships, sexuality and gender expressions are seen as “normal” expressions.
In practice, hetero and cisgender people celebrate their heterosexuality every day in every part of the world. And despite the ones that say that “gays are conquering the world”, for the majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersexual people is still a discomfort (at best case) or dangerous (at worst case) express themselves as they are.
In many States, rights and dignity are not completely protected by law, so there are many aggressive movements that try to oppress and marginalize gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and intersexual people and their relationships. So, as we see progress in the struggle for equality, inclusion and LGBTQI rights, the reality is that we are incredibly far from being fully equal in every area of society. And that’s why the Pride is so important.
Pride as a celebration
Of course, in the midst of all the deeper causes and meanings, Pride is also a time of celebration, relaxation and freedom in public. People of all shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicities, races and cultures will march in the streets, perhaps bare-chested or perhaps even in underwear. But this has nothing to do with being hyper-sexual or promiscuous: it is a radical exhibition of liberation and security, avoiding falling into sexophobia that both the LGBTQI community and the straight and cisgender people fight.
Pride began as subversive manifestations of light in the midst of the darkness of hatred and fear and today, for many, they still retain this important meaning and power. In the era of #MeToo and the dangerous drift that beauty is taking as an “excuse” to justify the most atrocious violence, a “naked” parade on the streets has a very important meaning.
For all those reasons, Pride is not for all. For some people, even LGBT+, it’s something too big. Others do not feel comfortable. And there’s nothing wrong with this. Continuing to blame those who do not participate to the Pride is the result of the same intolerance of those who believe that the Pride is buffooneery. But as long as there are those who need Pride, it will be necessary to continue organizing them and marching.
When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.
– Barack Obama