Jul 3, 2011

[Technicolor Musings] A Few Thoughts On Pride

Well, this year's Pride Month is already over. Not everything went quite as planned given the less than ideal weather at the tail end of the month, but for the most part it was a great celebration of LGBT Pride and I'm definitely looking forward to next year being even bigger and better. We're still nowhere near the big Pride celebrations like we see in the US and other countries, but we're getting there.


Flickr: Brian K. Leadingham Photography - Gay PRIDE 7826
Gay PRIDE 7826
by Brian K. Leadingham Photographyvia Flickr.


And before we completely leave Pride Month and return to our regular, somewhat less colorful lives, I thought it might be prudent to post a few more thoughts about LGBT Pride and some of the bits that I feel are more important than others.

LGBT culture or gay culture is amazingly diverse. It's an aspect of our lives that is in a constant state of flux when it comes to being accurately defined. So when we talk about gay pride, what are we being proud about? Are we advocating a particular image or notion of what pink culture "is" or worse, what it's "supposed to be?"


Flickr: philippe leroyer - Lesbian & Gay Pride (181) - 28Jun08, Paris (France)
Lesbian & Gay Pride (181) - 28Jun08, Paris (France)
by philippe leroyer via Flickr.com.


One of the most important and often difficult things to remember is that the LGBT nation (for lack of a better term) is all about DIVERSITY. The evolving concept of gender identity has resulted in a wide variety of personality types self-identifying with the rainbow flag. Beyond the basic gay men, lesbians and bisexuals we also have transgenders, transvestites, pansexuals and even more classifications are being made every day. DSCN2311Image via WikipediaAs a multi-dimensional community, we need to remember to be more accepting of our brothers and sisters and avoid the horrible tendency to discriminate against sub-segments of the LGBT world. Personal preferences when it comes to dating and relationship are a completely different matter versus casually throwing out unfair generalizations about other groups. Pride is supposed to be a celebration of our diversity and remembering that if we want respect, we need to make sure we show respect in turn. And it begins with the pink community itself.

In line with the importance of diversity, there's also the need to keep an open mind. Gay culture for one person may involve casual sex, bathhouses and like but for another it means musical theater, wine-tasting and cute little dogs that fit into a hand bag. The point is that we're supposed to be a segment of the population that understands how "labels" and "stereotypes" cannot accurately account for every single person on the planet. So we shouldn't impose our world view of what gay life "should be" and prepare ourselves to understand different ways of celebrating the LGBT lifestyle whether or not it matches or jives with our own.


Flickr: Brian K. Leadingham Photography - Gay PRIDE 7706
Gay PRIDE 7706
by Brian K. Leadingham Photography via Flickr.


Celebrating LGBT pride also doesn't mean shoving it down other people's throats. In the same way heterosexuals don't constantly remind us about the values of their lives (unless they're from crazy fundamentalist sects) nor should we make everything part of the "gay agenda" or whatever you want to call it. Pride, at least for me, is celebrating what you love and being proud of who you are. You don't need to be arrogant or pushy, but you need to be able to stand up tall and clearly state that you're part of the LGBT nation and quite happy to be who you are.

And please don't make every conversation about LGBT issues. I've had friends whose every other sentence had to be gay this and gay that - even for a fellow gay guy it can get tiring. Our being gay is a part of us but it doesn't entirely define us, in the same way that a person is more than their genitalia. LGBT issues are important, yes, but so are your other interests and passions. There are so many things that make you who you are and I feel it's only right to be able to celebrate that too.


Flickr: philippe leroyer - Lesbian & Gay Pride (150) - 28Jun08, Paris (France)
Lesbian & Gay Pride (150) - 28Jun08, Paris (France)
by philippe leroyer via Flickr.


Lastly, celebrate love and the fundamental right that all of us deserve to be happy with another. Pride is about being able for those who have found someone, regardless of whether or not you're one of these people as well. It means celebrating the fact that LGBT relationships happen and they're wonderful and magical and not the dirty, irreverent things that those against us argue that they are. Celebrate the love you have for friends and your fellow queers and remember that "gay" is also another word for "happy" and not "emo".

When it comes to Pride, this is how I tend to see things. I'm sure there's a heck of a lot more to talk about, but I'd like to think these are the more important bits that really come through. These aren't "rules" that are set in stone anything - that would go against my own thoughts on the importance of diversity. But feel free to use my perspective as a guide for you to define your own principles of Pride and celebrating LGBT diversity. The exercise promises to be quite rewarding, I assure you.
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