Monday, June 18, 2012

The Need for Pride?

WARNING - I am pretty sure, I'm going to be slightly politically incorrect somewhere in here.  I haven't written this as I write this warning, but based on what's going on in my head, do not enter if you are overly sensitive.  Or if you do, and you get offended, well, don't say you haven't been warned.

I admit that when I lived in the BIG cities where Pride is huge, I didn't necessarily feel the need to go every year.  In fact, I didn't go every year. 

When I lived in San Francisco, I'd go to the dyke parade the night before, but that was, well, simply hoping to pick up a dyke.  There were a lot to choose from, so I hoped maybe one might plop into my lap.

When I lived in the LA area, I went once or twice, and then only specifically to meet with friends who were in town.

The first year I came out, I lived near DC.  And Pride happened on Father's day.  As interested as I was in going then, I deferred in honor or out of respect for my father, who was a little anxious for my safety.  As this was back when caveman knuckles still dragged on the ground, I can appreciate his concern.  And either way, it was an inexpensive gift.

Once I figured out I was gay, there wasn't much of a closet for me.  In college, I had come out to the entire school my first year by October.  (When I do things, I kinda do them big sometimes!)

I am not a "big fan" of Pride.  This doesn't mean I'm a detractor, yet.  But I guess the reason I don't need Pride is that I live Pride every day. 

Pride provides a couple of key things.  One, it gives people who might otherwise be in a closet on occasion a chance to be out and proud and feel accepted (except by those haters on the corner telling us that our party will end in flames... but we ignore those people).  Two, it gives people a chance not to feel alone - to realize that they aren't the only gay person in the _____ [fill in the blank - world, city, etc.]. 

Both of those contribute to someone feeling proud about themselves - they don't have to hide, and they feel supported that they aren't alone.

I've never really needed it because I don't know HOW to hide (fool!) and for the most part I haven't felt so alone.  I admit, living in small town, it was nice to be amongst my people this year.

So why did I go?  To meet old friends who DO go every year.  In fact, they were some of the friends I met up with in LA that year I went.

Now understand that I don't begrudge or intend to belittle at all anyone who likes or enjoys or needs or wants Pride.  And like any gathering of people, it's a great time to people watch, and people exhibiting "Pride" also tend to "exhibit" a whole lot more (particularly, in San Francisco).  - and that can be fun to watch, too.

But as I woke up this morning, I thought about what it would be like if other groupings or "affiliations" got together for "pride" parades.

I mean, if we got together for White Pride, they'd call it a KKK rally.  If we got together for Black Pride, well, let's face it, the cops would be called, and those folks over at the White Pride parade would be scared.  Irish Pride works only on March 17th, and that's really mostly because they share all that beer.  German Pride would scare all the Jews.  (Although, if they, too, shared their beer, they might be more acceptable).  It would be silly to have a long-hair parade, or a ten-fingers-parade.

And yet, to me, all of these things are inherent qualities of who we might be as individuals.  I understand the need to not feel alone, and I understand the need to let others see us when we otherwise feel invisible.  But I pray for the day when we won't "need" a Pride parade.  When every day will be a pride parade, and everyone will know who we are and not think twice about us. 

Until then - Happy Pride season everyone.  Go hug your favorite gay person and remind them you love them just the way they are.

If you like this, stick around and read other entries.  Hit a few on the right that are favorites, or go to the home page of the blog, and read from beginning to end.  Take a moment to send me some feedback.  Thanks for coming.  Please come back soon.


  1. You've written up a storm lol! I can't go through them all because I'm following a few too many blogs :) but I wanted to read this piece since you gave us a teaser about it earlier.

    I love the point you make at the ending and it's just what was going through my head. I don't get why people have such an issue with someone being gay - and it will be a much better situation when people don't have to sort of prove who they are :)

    1. Well, thanks for squeezing me in. And for your comments on this and the other post. I do hope you come back!

      I think one of the complications, too, with the idea of 'proving' yourself, is that gay people have to start by proving themselves to themself. If you are born with brown eyes, or dark skin, or red hair, you know and see and everyone else knows of and sees these attributes. But this one lies dormant - or doesn't - and everyone assumes what they cannot see.

      And those other attributes help you to fit into your family - to help them claim you as their own because you look like them. This "attribute" does not necessarily endear you or bond you closer to your family, so "proving" yourself to yourself is even more important.

      Lots of generalizations, of course, but a start at helping others understand some of what some of us go through...

      Thanks for the thoughtful response.

  2. I hate a parade. Not matter what they are for. I like your reason for wanting them to stop, cause they aren't needed anymore. :)

    1. Thanks for the support. Yeah, parades don't do much for me, either, no matter what purpose they are for... But when I go, it is to support those for whom they do matter..

  3. My favorite gay person is too far away to hug, so I'll send virtual hugs. Thanks for the reminder. Come to think of it, she may be my only gay friend. I have lots of bi-friends. I hope this doesn't reflect badly on me. I've never NOT been friends with someone because they are gay. I just haven't met many gay people - or at least those who openly admit it.

    Anyway, I also hate parades and am happy when someone else will take my youngest to them. Although I'm imagining a gay pride parade would be way more entertaining than watching the same tractors, mine cars, and horses go down the street that we see at every single damn parade.

    My favorite lines of this post?
    (When I do things, I kinda do them big sometimes!)
    I've never really needed it because I don't know HOW to hide (fool!)

    Both of these are true in my life and cause me a few problems! :)