Day 9 – What do you think about LGBT Pride? Is it helpful or hurtful? Encouraged or unnecessary? 

I’m not entirely sure what is meant by “LGBT Pride.” Are they asking about the concept of having pride in being LGBT, or are they asking about the festivals and events called “Pride?”

I don’t think it’s really “being LGBT” that we are proud of, so much as the accomplishment of coming to build a healthy identity around it, when society in general tries to degrade us.  I think that we are a bit unique among the various other oppressed minorities who develop a sense of pride in their identity because they were born into the minority culture, while we have to discover our “otherness” in a way they do not, and then become a part of that minority culture.

As far as the Pride festivals, as much as I wish they weren’t still needed, they still are.  We still need a time to rally together and make our voices heard.  We still need a place where we can gather together in a visible way so that those who think they are all alone see that they are not.  I think the need has certainly diminished, with the rise of the internet, since the time of my coming out.  It’s much easier for queer youth to find each other and our community than it was in my time. but there is something very different about going to your first Pride parade and seeing this ocean of people who are like you in this specific way.

I think that the commercialization and the push to “clean up” pride to be more family friendly is to our detriment.  Pride has become just another summer festival when we need to remember it is the commemoration of a Riot.  Assimilationist groups like the Human Rights Campaign water down what Pride really was, and by trying to “be like everyone else” try to rob us of our power.  A power that we need now more than ever.