Why We Need Pride

You may have heard about yet another proposed “straight pride parade” proposed for August in Boston? Responses are making the rounds on Twitter, late night television, You Tube and so forth. On their Facebook page, this is why they feel they need a “straight pride parade”, “straight people are an oppressed majority. We will fight for the right of straights everywhere to express pride in themselves without fear of judgement and hate. The day will come when straights will finally be included as equals among all of the other orientations.”  The thing is and what they truly don’t seem to understand… They speak from a place of privilege that so many don’t have. As a cis female, sometimes, the best thing I can do is listen and learn, ask respectful questions and be an ally.

Stonewall Riots

The Stonewall Riots happened only 50 years ago, lead by trans activists. Stonewall Inn was a gay bar in New York City that was regularly plagued by police raids and brutality. The bar and patrons also experienced regular abuse and harassment just for walking inside.  June 28, 1969, the patrons had reached their breaking point. They decided to fight back against the police as a united force for the first time. They wanted a space to be themselves without fear of violence and harassment. It wasn’t asking a lot. What they did was spark a movement, sparked hope, that one day, they could live and be themselves and feel safe.

Pride is an act of hope

Pride raises awareness. Pride is fun. Pride is floats, wild outfits or no outfit! But most of all it is an act of hope. Every day a LGBTQ person faces realities that many of us cannot imagine. In our western world we have made some advancements, but there always seems to be someone who wants to take it away. Or to suggest, you’re asking for too much! If you are LGBTQ, suicide rates are three times higher. Trans people will be subjected to more violence, especially trans women of colour. Their average life expectancy is 35 years old! In Ontario, our progressive Sex Education plan was quickly tabled by a newly formed Conservative government and now we are back to a dated 1998 Sex Education curriculum. The simple concept of consent and body autonomy is no longer discussed. It also fails to mention or answer any questions about sexuality or gender identity. We can do better than this!

Meaningful ways to effect change

There are many countries in the world where being openly LGBTQ is actually illegal. This is government sanctioned violence and in many cases death. Rainbow Railroad helps vulnerable citizens escape dangerous countries and brings them home to safer ones. There are lots of local faith groups and other collectives that work together to sponsor a refugee. Private sponsorship’s are usually the most effective way to help integrate a newcomer as they have a big network of support. There are many meaningful ways that we can effect change.

For a young person or a newcomer experiencing Pride for the first time is truly a moving experience. I think it might just feel like home, like you belong and are accepted for just being you. You don’t need to put up any barriers or pretend to be anything but who you are. You feel loved and supported by your fellow LGBTQ peeps and allies. You’ll see Pflag Mom’s asking if you want a hug from Mom. You’ll see Rainbow and Trans Pride flags flying everywhere. There will be politics, wild and fun costumes, drag queens and just simple wide eyed wonder. You might even experience a little joy.

We need this, we all need this. We need to be who we are and be celebrated for that. We need to keep fighting for those who cannot. This June, I encourage you to attend a Pride event, start a conversation, get a hug and be hopeful.


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