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OrphanPip

Pride or no Pride?

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There is an obvious running theme throughout my blog post, which is gay issues. Well today's blog is no different .

So, I recently had a little conversation with a friend where I got a little uppity about the use of the word faggot. My friend responded that I shouldn't worry about the use of the word because I'm "just gay" and not "one of those faggots." Of course, I asked what the difference was. Apparently, I'm not a faggot because I don't "wear sparkingly underpants while marching in 'Gay Pride' parades" and don't "act like I think I should be treated like a God."

This isn't the first time I've encountered antagonism against Gay Pride festivities and this apparent view that gays consider themselves superior to others (I've actually heard this from Drizzy on the forum lol). While the prevailing topic in my blogs do nothing to discredit the notion that gays are self-absorbed, I think there is a great deal of ignorance surrounding people's perception of Gay Pride. Now, I don't think anyone is at fault for this. After all, what does the media ever show but men in drag dancing on floats. I hope to change people's perception of these celebrations by discussing the history of Pride celebrations, what it means today, and why I think the celebrations are an important part of LGBT culture.

The history of Pride parades goes back to the Stonewall Riots, in New York City during June of 1969. These riots marked the first time a major number of LGBT physically resisted police. A year after the event a politically motivated march was held to commemorate this important event. Similar commemorations were made in San Francisco, and eventually all over the USA. The early marches were often called Gay Liberation marches or Gay Freedom marches, they were rallying points for the gay community in resistance to the very real legal oppression that existed at the time. As a result of the subversive nature of these marches, radical aspects of the gay community, like overt sexuality and drag, were often highlighted.

Over the years, the marches in Canada, the USA, and Western Europe have lost much of their political activism colour. The need to fight against police violence and obscenity trials has subsided. Instead of being about "liberation" they changed into cultural celebrations. Gay Pride has prevailed as the most common name for these celebrations, which are still often held on the same day as the Stonewall Riots or near by in June.

The celebration of the subversive, and rather "colourful," aspects of gay culture continue to be an important part of the marches. Political activism also remains an important aspect, often with memorial floats for AIDS victims and political activism still included. The celebrations have taken on a form closer to the light hearted celebrations of St. Patrick's, Canada Day, or the 4th of July in the US.

Now, why are Pride celebrations important? Apart from the money the larger celebrations bring in from tourism. The parades are a symbol of freedom in our society, as long as the parades continue it is a sign that sexual freedom exists. The attempts at pride parades in Russia are forcefully shut down by the police, in many countries they are plagued by protest and sometimes violent resistance, several cities and countries in the less than free world explicitly ban them. Even if you're like me and don't particularly enjoy flashy floats blasting dance music, it's the fact that our societies allows these kinds of celebrations that make them great.

In many places where gay rights are only just emerging, these celebrations are still rallying points for resistance. In the West, they are a cultural celebration that commemorates a time when being openly gay wasn't possible, so once a year the community gets a little extra-gay to remind ourselves of that time.

I hope this helps people who think that the celebrations are just about gays having a big party for no reason or being "Proud" about being better than others.

Edit: I promise my next blog will be about hockey, as soon as the playoffs are over for Montreal.

Updated 08-13-2010 at 07:58 AM by OrphanPip

Categories
LGBT Issues

Comments

  1. DanielBenoit's Avatar
    I agree. I think it may be hard for straight people to understand the prevailing necessity for these "Gay Pride" celebrations. It's not a way for gays to simply just show off how positively gay they are (though that is a part of it lol), but to try to bring to society the concept that it's okay and normal to be gay.
  2. Virgil's Avatar
    I agree with you, though I think the over-the-top flamboyancy of some of those parades does give gays a bad perception. If you ever really want to enjoy such a parade you'll have to attend the Holloween parade through Greenich Village in NYC. It's a blast. I bet if you youtubed it you might find some clips. Now in the context of Halloween, I think whatever bad perception exists disintegrates.
  3. OrphanPip's Avatar
    Ha, rereading this makes me think I should have edited before posting. I'll leave the mistakes up lol.
  4. Niamh's Avatar
    Hi Pip. Great entry. I thought you might be interested in this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_ri...lic_of_Ireland
    It's about gay rights in Ireland. Its only legal in Ireland since 1993, and this year their co-habiting has legally been recognised. This is good because it means that if one parthner dies they ae seen as the legal parthner and intitled to the same as a Married couple. (This is also the case now for unmarried couples, but they slipped that in at the end of the bill) Gay marraige and adoption is still not legal here, but i say it wont be too long.
  5. qimissung's Avatar
    It's too bad we can't have something like that in the states. Apparently a Texas couple married in Massachusetts, now they want a divorce, and they can't get one. Personally I just think legislators like toying with the common people, gay or not.
    Updated 05-23-2010 at 09:06 PM by qimissung
  6. JuniperWoolf's Avatar
    I'm on my way to work so I just had time to read your first two paragraphs, but I just wanted to quickly say that you should watch this episode of South Park:

    http://www.108tours.com/108tours/ima...ry-blossom.jpg

    It's about how the usage of the word "fag" is inconstant (plus, it's hillarious).

    I'll read the rest when I get home tonight.
  7. OrphanPip's Avatar
    There's a case in courts in Saskatchewan on whether or not a government employee can be forced to perform a gay marriage. Personally, I think they should since civil servants work for the population. I, of course, support the right of clergy to refuse to perform marriages.
  8. qimissung's Avatar
    Well, no one wants to be forced to do anything, but it never ceases to amaze me how this issue still has the power to draw such strong emotions from people.

    Now if someone asked me, as a civil servant, (just hypothesizing; I suppose, as a teacher, I am a civil servant, just not the kind that can perform marriage ceremonies ) to marry two women to the same man, I feel sure I would react like a scalded cat. Just my own personal bias.
    Updated 05-24-2010 at 01:14 AM by qimissung
  9. OrphanPip's Avatar
    I just think that a justice's involvement in a marriage is merely to make it legally binding, and his opinion of any individual marriage is irrelevant because he is paid to perform a civil service not to moralize. He has a duty to the public to serve everyone equally.
  10. qimissung's Avatar
    Well said, but oh, the human need to moralize!
  11. Maryd.'s Avatar
    Well I am not one to question the gay society. I was under some scrutiny when I was part of my son's sporting committee, over 3 years ago now. On the committee was a gay woman who openly showed she was gay wearing, what some of the straight parents' claimed, was gay attire. And let's not forget these parents who claimed her haircut was gay. Anyway when it came to the nitty gritty of the committee, she put in 99.9% of her time, the other time she devoted to watching her son play the sport. A member of the committee complained to the head office and wanted her thrown off the committee due to her forwardness. They needed everyone on the committee to agree. But your's truly disagreed, due to the fact that she wasn't doing any harm and she was the only person on the committee that put in most of her time and effort. Needless to say she stayed on the committee and I wasn't loved much after that. Se La Vie... Such is life.
    Updated 05-24-2010 at 10:58 PM by Maryd.
  12. Heathcliff's Avatar
    Haha I just learned about historical stuff...

    I think it is an awesome reason for a party. But if colourful boats don't appeal... Yea... What Pip said.

  13. OrphanPip's Avatar
    You're a good egg Mary, . It's hard to understand what goes on in some people's head. What is normal everyday behavior for some is over the top for others. I could never understand someone getting upset over clothing, let alone a haircut. You might as well ban a Jewish person for wearing yarmulke or a Catholic wearing a crucifix, because it identifies them culturally.
  14. papayahed's Avatar
    One of the first times I was in NYC I happened on parade, it was weird because it was at like 2 am. I think it was impromptu but then wouldn't they need permits and stuff?