Published on June 15th, 2012 | by hipsterwinona0
PRIDE: An Excuse to Talk About Queer Life
I’ve always gone to Pride events to party. In New York, DC, and Baltimore, Pride was a great time to get outrageously dolled up and drunk with my best gay friends. It was an occasion for glorious people-watching and comradery and general shenanigans. Those are obviously all feelings shared by most Pride attendees, but I tended not to notice the other more important things going on beneath the bright spectacles.
Being a casual ally is just fine really. Lots of straight girls love their gay besties, and whip their boyfriends into pc shape as part of the dating process. They don’t have any problems with lesbians, even though they can’t imagine doing that themselves. Live and let live, they say. But in reality, pride only lasts one weekend, one month if you’re willing to travel. Then the glitter gets swept up, the wigs put away, and the gays go back to blending into their minority status. See, those casual straight allies don’t realize that for LGBTQ people, every day is hetero pride. I know they don’t because, until last year, I was the definition of a casual ally. I loved my fabulous gay friends, especially my best friend from high school who came out after we graduated college. I loved my gay brother and watched with agony and frustration as he struggled through coming out to our religious, Republican parents. I would always vote for gay rights. The whole argument was as ridiculous and silly to me as it might be to any reasonable person who still got to walk down the street cis-gendered and white-privileged.
But it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago when I started a new relationship (with an incredible woman) that I began to realize just how “casual” my affiliation had always been. Now every day is filled with a million images and sentences and instances where I am reminded that I’m not the “norm” anymore. It’s a very strange sensation, having to get used to this part of yourself that you never thought about much before, suddenly defining you in such a huge way. I am sure I could fill novels with my feelings about the experience, but that’s not for here.
Of course a lot has happened in the year since 2011’s festivities, aside from my personal experiences, to make this Baltimore Pride a more politically charged and exuberant event. There was the President’s endorsement of marriage equality, just days after the Vice President’s; the repeal of Prop 8 and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; the passage of marriage equality in New York and (!) Maryland; the President’s declaration that he would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. And, for the first time ever, polls are showing that support for same sex marriage in this country has passed the 50% mark. Of course every success for LGBTQ rights only brings more bigoted vitriol to the surface. There were the heated debates leading up the double outlaw of gay marriage in North Carolina; a wonderful speech by Pastor Charles Worley extolling the virtues of gay and lesbian electrified concentration camps; And, in particular, there have been some really lovely things said in the local media about the upcoming referendum vote in November, which incidentally had double the signatures needed to get it on the ballot.
I read and listen to it all, every day. I even seek it out, because there’s something very surreal about listening to yourself being talked about so abstractly by strangers on the television and radio. The anger raised by the prospect of marriage equality in this country still baffles me, as it did long before I had such a personal investment in it. But nothing can really prepare you for the experience of watching the rage and disgust wash over someone’s face as you realize its cause is you holding the hand of your girlfriend in a restaurant. I deal with my own anger issues from time to time, and I feel a lot of rage and disgust at inconsiderate people who pull in far enough to take up two parking spaces instead of just one, or block an entire aisle in the grocery store with their cart as they deliberate, or carelessly toss their litter into the street. The things that anger and disgust me about people are generally things they do, actions that reflect their character. It’s just impossible for me to follow the logic the other way.
I’m excited to attend Pride this weekend, to be surrounded by a sea of people who also can’t follow the other side’s logic. I’m excited to celebrate the great social leaps forward our country has made over the past year, and to prepare for the lead up to the referendum vote in November. I’m going to do that by continuing to sign petitions, by donating to Equality Maryland, by tweeting, and by writing blog posts such as this one.
If you make it out to any Pride events this weekend, which you totally should, I am asking you to take a moment in the midst of enjoying the party to consider what daily life is like for the people around you. You don’t have to actually wonder what it would feel like if you suddenly wanted to have sexy times with your bff, but maybe ponder what it would be like to get the head shake, or the glare, or the pulpit call for your starvation simply for living your life in a way that fulfills you.
Unicorn Le Chri started CCSNP with Hipster Winona