Friday, May 21, 2010

Pride essay

Wanted to share my submisson to Q Salt Lake's "What Pride Means to Me." If I'm chosen as one of the top five, you'll see this printed in Q's upcoming Pride Issue. Wish me luck. If anyone else would like to submit, you have until Sunday May 23 at 12 noon. Submit to .


Day Without Pride

The first Pride I attended - let’s just say several years ago, and leave it at that - was in Sunnyside Park. There were no booths, no beer garden, no corporate sponsors; just softball, watermelon and soft drinks. It was a way to come “out” a little farther than I was at the time. I’ve tried to stay directly or indirectly involved in Utah Pride every year since. It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s almost always a good experience.

I have my favorite Prides, like the first year there was a parade. I marched front and center with some of the proudest fags I’ve ever known, carrying the huge rainbow flag you still see in the parade today. Another year a friend and I marched with a banner for Radio City Lounge. My absolute favorite is the year Tyler (an “ex”) and I walked down State Street holding hands.

Opinions regarding Pride are mixed in GLBTQ communities. Its relevance and effectiveness are being challenged. Some think it has become too political; others not political enough. Many think Pride presents queer people in a frivolous light, and do not want to be represented by flamboyant fairies or quixotic queens on colorful floats. Still others think Prides have become too commercial, and are suspicious of how funds are used. Sadly, too many have been indoctrinated to believe they have nothing of which to be proud.

Most just find it a great excuse to party.

Dissent is to be expected when trying to affect progressive change. Sometimes egos or agendas get in the way, personalities clash. Still, every year, a dedicated team of volunteers makes Pride happen. That’s one testimony to the relevance of Pride – Teamwork: overlooking differences to promote a common goal.

It’s much more, too. Freedom: to kiss, hold, love whoever you wish, wherever you like, without fear. Visibility: having the courage to be out, establish our right to exist, and show the world we are not ashamed of who we are. Diversity: gathering people of different ilks – race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity – under the same umbrella to forward the same cause – the most important reason for Pride - our struggle for Equality: a day when queer folks will be treated like everyone else under the law.

On that day, there will be no need for Pride.

But we’ll do it anyway – for the party.

photo courtesy of Utah Pride

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