I wrote a guest post for the blog Je Ne Sais Quoi the other week (you can read it here), and it sparked some interesting conversations with some of my friends. I wrote a guide on how you can be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community , and some of my advice was that you can attend Pride.
I had some of my non-LGBTQ+ friends come to me and tell me they more or less disagreed, because they felt it wasn’t for them to attend, and that they would feel out of place. I personally think anyone can attend Pride, and I’m going to explain why. However, I do feel the need to disclaim that what I’m about to develop is entirely personal, and I am in no way talking on behalf of the whole community. If you’re LGBTQ+ and you disagree with me, then feel free to explain why.
First of all, Pride is mainly seen as a celebration, but it first started as a demonstration and protest for equal rights and visibility (you can read more about it here if you’re interested). So even though nowadays it may be seen as a party, it is still to raise awareness and show visibility of various members of the community. I guess the aim of Pride varies from country to country, as they haven’t all achieved the same progress regarding LGBTQ+ rights. I think anyone can fight for equality, regardless of whether or not it directly affects them, and therefore, non-members of the community should be able to attend.
I know some of my friends feel concerned about attending Pride because they feel they look too straight to be there, and that people will be able to spot them as the odd one out. When you are LGBTQ+, it’s not always ‘visible’; some people may have a stereotypical look, but so many don’t. Not all gays and lesbians look the same, nor do bisexuals or trans/non-binary people. Asexuals and aromantics don’t ‘look’ a certain way either, and the list goes on. I’m sure that when I attended Pride last year, I looked like a straight girl having fun at the parade. And I don’t care, I don’t feel the need to look a certain way for my sexuality to be valid. At Pride, people look like anything and everything, and that’s what makes it so awesome.
I see it as such a beautiful thing that people who are not LGBTQ+ would want to attend Pride and celebrate others. They are not discriminated against because of their sexuality or gender, yet they support us. And to me, that should be encouraged. I agree that some places should be LGBTQ+ only spaces, and some others only reserved for trans and non-binary people for example, because we need non-judgemental spaces and to feel safe and understood. I just don’t think that Pride is one of those things: it’s a public event that is welcome to everyone.
In my everyday life I don’t really hang out with many people who are a part of the community. I therefore think that if I were ever to attend Pride again (I mean, duh, of course I will), it would most likely be with my straight and cis friends. I know many people who would love to come celebrate with me, to show their support not only to me but to everyone else there. Whether it’s friends, parents, or a partner, their presence and support can mean the world to someone who is LGBTQ+. Being celebrated by the people you love is wonderful and necessary. My best friend attended Pride in New York one year, before I came out, and it made me know that she would fully support me once I did tell her. You constantly question what kind of response and reaction you are going to get from your loved ones, and with her I therefore knew it would be love, acceptance and support.
I am aware that I speak from quite a privileged position; I have never experienced verbal or physical violence of any kind based on my sexuality, and everyone in my life supports and accepts me. I am also lucky enough to live and come from countries where, despite not having achieved total equality, I am able to legally be with, live with and marry the partner of my choice. I therefore understand that there may be different opinions on this topic, based on people’s different experiences.
We can’t only fight for what affects us directly; straight people need to fight for LGB rights, and cis people need to fight for trans and non-binary people. In order to achieve equality, we need to stand united and to support one another. Love goes a long way, so let’s share it in abundance!
Thank you for reading, and do share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Lots of (gay) love,
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