Pride Is More Complicated Than Ever
What comes to mind when someone mentions LGBTQ Pride? A political protest rooted in counteracting oppression and toxic heteronormativity? A rainbow-colored parade dominated by gay men in angel wings? A month-long opportunity for crafty corporations to rake in queer dollars with Pride burgers, Pride lattes, and even Pride mouthwash? (Frankly, there are much more obvious ways to celebrate your sexuality orally.) These days, Pride is probably all of these things, but it’s also, well, kind of a lot. As queer people, we can feel immense pressure to glitter up and go all out as a show of solidarity, even when the prospect of actually attending Pride fills us with a gnawing sense of dread.
“Pride can be pretty overwhelming the first time you go,” says Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Shura, whose music already graces Pride playlists around the world. “There’s a lot going on and really huge crowds. I have social anxiety, so I know from experience that this can be a bit of a nightmare. My first Pride was with my twin, and that made things a lot easier for me, but I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a gay twin.”
Shura’s advice is to arrive at Pride with someone “you love and trust.” “Make sure you pick a meeting spot in case you get split up,” she adds. “And remember that the most important thing is to have fun. So when one of you has had enough, go home and go with them! You know, there’s always going to be another Pride.”
Along with a preordained meeting space, it’s worth locking down some other Pride practicalities ahead of the big gay day. Like: Do you know where to find bathroom facilities—especially gender-neutral facilities—on the parade route? If you’re marching in a rainy city like London or Seattle, have you checked the weather forecast? And do you have enough water and snacks to keep yourself from flagging? On a related note, you’ll probably be tempted with all manner of colorful cocktails throughout the day, but remember that Pride is a marathon, not a sprint.
It’s also sensible to accept that your take on “what Pride even stands for in 2019” might not correlate with the views of your queer brothers and sisters. When I ask Christeene, a punky drag queen and performance artist from Austin, she fires back an uncompromising e-mail that she makes me promise to quote verbatim: “Pride ain’t about makin’ da most of sum corporate male-driven outdoor horned up office party covered in harnesses bought frum outlet stores with rainbow-covered heteronormative paraphernalia. U better understand dat outside of da fukkin an lovin, Pride is Gay Shame is Queer Rage is POC elevating and respecting and protecting is Dyke Marches is Trans Marches is gathering an including tha collective energy of all races genders souls an holes to challenge, stand up to, crack da whip in da face of, an take down all forces out there that would have us wiped out, persecuted and erased.“
Christeene’s right-on energy is infectious, but some members of the LGBTQ community believe that a certain amount of corporate collaboration is no bad thing. After all, seeing rainbow-colored mouthwash in your local store is the sort of visibility (however feeble) that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. “Pride is a time when LGBTQ communities come to the forefront of the public’s attention. So even though some people complain about corporations making Pride collections, I think it’s really important that this visibility comes from all places, even ones you necessarily wouldn’t associate with queers,” says Le Fil, a queer pop artist who’s performing with Spice Girls member Melanie C and drag collective Sink the Pink at this year’s WorldPride Closing Ceremony. “It shows public support and highlights the growing acceptance of our community to people we wouldn’t normally reach, in small towns and beyond. It’s about taking our message of love and acceptance to conversations that don’t belong to us, and in a way that type of rebellion is what kickstarted Prides in the first place. The streets didn’t belong to us, but now they do.”
Source : Nick Levine Link