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June 13, 2015 8:12 AM   Subscribe

What does all of this mean to the Davids of the world, the gay assimilationists that want to, wish they could, somebody do something, there's gotta be a way we can, Dignify This Parade? The ones begging: "Can't we get our people to at least DRESS respectfully for one lousy day? Is that too much to ask of our people? " Yes, yes it is.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (58 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Good read. I like the comparison to Mardi Gras. It's a party, folks.
posted by jonmc at 8:52 AM on June 13, 2015


It isn;t a party Jon, it should be riot.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:01 AM on June 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Metafilter: it's OUR party, bitches.
posted by univac at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


That's a really good insight as to where that divide comes from. I wouldn't be surprised if the younger generation is tilted more towards the "why do we need this" than his generation simply because they didn't live through the 80s and 90s as culturally aware members of society, who lived through the AIDS epidemic cutting a huge swath through the community and the not-very-subtle message from much of society that maybe it wouldn't be so bad if AIDS killed all those nasty gays.
posted by Punkey at 9:42 AM on June 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


I suppose your reaction to the traditional, flamboyant, rhinestone-and-sequin-encrusted Pride event depends partly on what you understand the purpose of a Pride event to be.

If you think it exists for the benefit of the audience—that is, the broader, non-queer society that will be looking on curiously from the sidelines, and reading about it in the newspapers, and watching the coverage on TV—then you're naturally gonna be more concerned with how effectively it's getting the intended message across (whatever you think that message is, or should be).

But if you think it exists for the benefit of the participants—to feel a sense of solidarity and community and acceptance, to have the experience of being very publicly out without fear of ostracism or prejudice or violence, to freely express parts of yourself that you have to restrain in daily life, to provide a welcoming place for younger folks who are questioning or coming out or otherwise struggling—well, you're gonna have different ideas about what a Pride event "should" be.

It's both, of course. And probably a bunch of other things besides. And the "for the audience" vs. "for the participants" perspectives I contrasted above are really two sides of the same coin—the very act of overtly, unapologetically, publicly celebrating one's own queerness itself sends a message to the broader society. And the act of sending that message is part of the experience for the participants.

Or so I imagine; I'm straight. So my perspective is of limited value here. But, to a large extent, this seems like the same problem you always get when any group of people claims (implicitly or explicitly) to represent a larger group, whether it's atheists or African-Americans or lawyers or Muslims or DJs: you're never gonna make everyone happy; there will always be those who would prefer to send a different message, to present a different image, to emphasize a different set of priorities.

So, although I tend to agree with Lisa Simpson...I don't think it's anyone's place to tell the rhinestone-and-sequin folks that they're Doing It Wrong. They're clearly getting something of value out of it, so more power to 'em. A few rainbow streamers and queens waving rubber dicks never hurt anybody. For those who come to Pride for the solidarity and the freedom and the celebratory atmosphere, it seems unfair to saddle them with the responsibility to present a Properly Dignified, Respectable, and Politically Tactical Face of Queerness to the Media.

And if someone wants to their own Properly Dignified event, where everyone dresses in Banana Republic and waves tasteful signs, more power to them, too. (I know which party I'd rather go to, though.)
posted by escape from the potato planet at 10:06 AM on June 13, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'm a straight male so I don't really have a dog in this fight other than a general desire for social justice and equality. And as much as I support equality for all I know that I lack the life experience to ever really get it.

But it seems like pride parades are analogous to every other parade. The people in the parade are dressed in all sorts of ridiculous costumes while most of the people who come out to watch are dressed just as they would be for any other casual weekend event and maybe some of the people in the crowd dress up in something ridiculous but don't want to be or can't be in the parade for some reason. I mean, a bunch of gay people dressed in their "normal" clothes is a march, not a parade.

"I really don't understand what it is you are proud about. I mean, you all say that you are born that way, so it's not like you accomplished anything."

The author's response makes sense but I'd also say, in a more general sense, that gay people should feel proud for day they live as who they really are despite larger incentives than most to be someone they're not.

I'm sure plenty of others have more specific and more personal reasons and I'm totally prepared to be overruled but that seems to be a decent blanket explanation.
posted by VTX at 10:09 AM on June 13, 2015


For the record, though, the Banana Republic gay employees ALSO march. As do topless dykes on bikes, and little children. Everyone comes out.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:10 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


queens waving rubber dicks never hurt anybody

Clearly you missed the Dildo Incident of 1994.

But it seems like pride parades are analogous to every other parade.

Yeah, no. So much no. Big floating superheroes don't have a long and tragic history of balloonophobia. Nobody's telling Irish people they're not allowed to marry each other. Santa Claus isn't worried about losing his job when people find out he was AFAB. Mardi Gras this isn't.

As the author said, Pride is a celebration of survival. It is saying "Hey, fuck you and fuck you and fuck you, I'm me and your constant grinding down of me and my people hasn't fucking worked and it never will." It's the one day of the year when, for a little while, we get to forget all the shit that straight-cis people dump on us in a thousand different ways the other 364 days of the year. The time we get to say "yes, I am that different."

In some ways I'm sad that it's become so much more about the spectacle (and the corporate sponsorship) than about the politics. Toronto Pride used to be much more explicitly political; the route used to end at Queen's Park (the provincial legislature building), because the original Pride events here were in response to massive raids of bathhouses. And we still face discrimination here; trans people are facing major problems over washrooms and changeroom facilities, especially in schools. Gay men cannot donate blood, sperm, or AFAIK organs. Kids are still beaten up for being perceived as queer. The fight isn't over.

And then I realize-- we fight the rest of the year. Our families, our neighbours, our coworkers, our government; some of them still need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. So yes, let's take a day to dance and throw glitter and wave giant dongs and just celebrate, for a few hours, our continued survival.

That said, it's important to note: as a community, we need to address and eradicate our rampant misogyny, transphobia, racism, and our own internalized homophobia. (For clarity: 'we' are the gender and sexual minorities; the internal discrimination is perpetrated entirely by cis, usually white, gay men, and it's on us to cut that shit out yesterday.) One day of supposed unity is seen by too many people as papering over the very real problems that need to be addressed tout de suite.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:53 AM on June 13, 2015 [35 favorites]


And, like, dudes... you're straight. Pride is not for you. Please stop telling us what it is, for two reasons:

1) Not for you! For, by, and about us!
2) Pride means something different for every gender/sexual minority person attending, watching, or thinking about it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:56 AM on June 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pride can be for straight dudes. My brother is a straight dude with a gay father.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:59 AM on June 13, 2015 [20 favorites]


Sure. And I'm guessing he doesn't tell his dad what Pride is. I was responding to the people saying "I'm straight and let me tell you what Pride is really about." In no way am I saying that straight people can't attend; we need and welcome the support and allies.

The key word, though, is 'support.'
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:10 AM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Thank god for the drag queens and leathermen and topless dykes. A lot of the rest of Pride is so commercialized and mainstreamed these days. I went last weekend and there were booths for insurance companies and people selling 300-thread count sheet sets (what) and all the same cheap jewelry shit you see at every other festival in Milwaukee. I hate to be all "back in MY day," but it's so goddamn boring now. OTOH, it's more than an acceptable trade-off for progress.
posted by desjardins at 11:21 AM on June 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'm all for pride parades and all that, as a queer/gay man, and have attended quite a few, but SF Pride as it exists now is completely corporatized and rented out to the highest bidder, and the list of things you can't do/wear/be as a "contingent" participant is beyond absurd.
posted by blucevalo at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


Well no, the reasons for the parade are totally different. I'm not talking about what the reasons for having the parade are. I'm just saying that calling it a parade creates an expectation in my mind that the people in the parade will be wearing costumes rather than normal clothes. So when I hear the term "gay pride parade" I think "people in the gay community (or who support that community I suppose) marching down the street in extravagant costumes." What it is, what it's about, and what it's for are none of my business. It's not something I'll ever understand no matter how hard I try. But they usually look sort of like other parades in that the people in the crowd are dressed as they normally dress (with maybe a bit of extravagance added) and the people in the parade are in costumes of various types.

If you're still saying I'm wrong, I can totally accept that, it only helps me understand it a bit better.
posted by VTX at 11:39 AM on June 13, 2015


Glad to see Joe My God is still going strong!

There have been a couple of other threads addressing this, notably this one from 2011, and this comment by sonascope has summed up my feeling ever since. I've been pretty free about emailing a link to it to any pearl-clutching gay friends.
posted by small_ruminant at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


And, like, dudes... you're straight. Pride is not for you. Please stop telling us what it is

I don't think I did that? To the contrary, I was saying that:

Pride means something different for every gender/sexual minority person attending, watching, or thinking about it

...and therefore it seems a bit presumptuous for anyone, participant or outsider, gay or straight, to say "Pride must look like this and be about this".
posted by escape from the potato planet at 11:50 AM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nobody's telling Irish people they're not allowed to marry each other.



Um...I think I need to apologize to Siobhan and Liam.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:02 PM on June 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


the original Pride events here were in response to massive raids of bathhouses
How would "David" feel about bathhouses, do you think?

There's a change going on. Being gay isn't going to be a radical thing for much longer. Being Queer(TM) is going to stay radical (and so are leather and trans and any other kind of nontraditional gender and more or less anything other than white picket fence monogamy). Frankly a lot of gay people intentionally threw Queer(TM) under the bus quite a while ago, whether for political expedience or just because frankly they don't like it.

I'm not sure what that means, but I suspect it means that the lines between "communities" are changing. So is there going to be an "us" left for "our party"?
posted by Hizonner at 12:11 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not everyone in a Pride parade is in costume. The costumes get all the media time of course; not a lot of camera time for unions marching, for example.

...and therefore it seems a bit presumptuous for anyone, participant or outsider, gay or straight, to say "Pride must look like this and be about this".

Good thing I didn't say that, then? I was talking about what Pride means to me, which I thought was made kind of obvious when I said it means different things to the people it's for.

It just rankles that, at the time I originally commented, there were seven comments. Three of them from straight men telling us what Pride is and how we should feel about it, and how they feel about it. It's like... straightsplaining, for lack of a better term. I mean, I get where you're coming from, I do. And at the same time, being told what things are by an outsider is just annoying; it's kind of like a man walking into a discussion about feminism and pontificating. (I am not in any way saying I am innocent of doing exactly that thing.)

From bluecevalo's link:
Your contingent must listen to and comply with all directions given by SF Pride Safety Monitors. In particular, all contingents and their participants must:

(1) not throw items from a Parade contingent into the crowd
(2) not board or dismount a moving vehicle
(3) not be under the influence of mind-altering substances while participating in the Parade
Who the fuck do they think they're kidding with 1 and 3?

How would "David" feel about bathhouses, do you think?

Probably: "ewww gross" followed by running into them at 3am in the glory hole room.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: "ewww gross" followed by running into them at 3am in the glory hole room.
posted by Hizonner at 12:36 PM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


... and reading about it in the newspapers, and watching the coverage on TV—then you're naturally gonna be more concerned with how effectively it's getting the intended message across.

I can completely understand the concern from that point of view. It's similar to the way media covers any sort of "progressive" event. Even if the event is focused on one cause, invariably anyone with a pet cause piggybacks in, and local media ends up showing the dude in the rainbow afro wig, and the white guys doing their drum circle. Media coverage of the Pride parade is always going to feature the most flamboyant and stereotypical images aunt Esther and uncle Gene can imagine of teh gayz. It can be maddening in the extreme.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:44 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Curiously, I understand that there's currently a fight going on within Pride Toronto about one of their big corporate sponsors. I think this is a board thing, but whatever.

The fight is this: TD Bank is a huge corporate sponsor. Over the last several years, part of their thing is that they have muscle dudes in tight (corporate-branded) hotpants as part of their presence. They're visible at their booths and in the parade as part of the corporate float.

Apparently some people have been asking them to dial that back because they want Pride to be "family friendly."

Well.

Arguments about corporate sponsorship of pride events or cis gay male body culture aside, this makes the Toronto Pride people advocating getting rid of the scantily-clad muscle dudes MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN A BANK.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:04 PM on June 13, 2015 [28 favorites]


The best way I've ever been able to convey to the outside skeptics what Pride is has been to point out the the word "pride" is a linguistic workaround for the opposite of shame that was the best they could come up with at the time, in the same sense that people are still using "sexual preference" as a designator thirty years after we all should have known better.

I am not proud of my sexual orientation any more than I can be proud of any other inherited or otherwise unearned aspect of my biological self from the color of my eyes to the details of my lower torso to my fuzzy-toed Fred Flintstone feet, but I can stand up and wave the flag that this thing about me, like all the others, is something that shall not be shamed. Where I can be proud is in having been an active participant in a shambling, chaotic, mixed-bag of a movement in which, when the rest of the world couldn't fathom the seemingly very basic idea that love is love and people are people, we pulled together, made spaces, made connections, built families out of love instead of just blood and law, and fought the good fight when many who would eventually figure it out were still gutlessly watching us suffer from the sidelines. I'm proud as hell of that, even at its most mawkishly mortifying, sleazily self-examining, and repetitively rainbow-clad, because we fought and we're winning.

And yeah, your Uncle Ed the Fox-watcher is going to point out the creepy stuff, and your Grandma Mary is going to tut-tut at the bare-breasted lesbian morris dancers, and your dad is going to say "I just don't know why they have to call it 'Pride'," and lots of people will get lots of unearned point-and-critique miles out of the cherrypicked local news version that follows the bleeds & leads model of crap journalism and this argument will go on for a while, but that old guard will soon do what old guards do and die. There's a whole new world in the wings that never took all that incomprehensible old nonsense as anything but incomprehensible old nonsense.

In time, I fear that Pride will end up as a purely historical display, like a civil war reënactment of a civil war that few noticed was underway until it was over and we'd won, but in my doddering years, give me a nice comfy seat in a convertible and I'll happily ride along in my tattered nun's habit, waving a little rainbow flag and smiling into the sunshine.
posted by sonascope at 2:14 PM on June 13, 2015 [24 favorites]


I've marched in our local Pride Parade for a few years and it's all been pretty restrained and heavily corporate sponsored. Yeah, there are Burgh Bears and Dykes on Bikes but it's mostly PNC bank , UPMC, Highmark Blue Cross, Giant Eagle Supermarkets and such. I'm guessing this year, which I'm boycotting for various reasons, will be even more boring as lots of LGBT groups have pulled out due to the Iggy Azalea controversy.
posted by octothorpe at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2015


It just so happens that today was my local Pride parade - by coincidence I had a perfect view of it out of the window of the place I was eating lunch (because I always forget when the Pride parade is.)

Kingston's a small city, so it was a fairly humble affair with some weird little Kingstonian touches - the front was a trio of Fort Henry guards with drum and fife, followed by our few drag queens - we aren't really big enough to have floats, so some cars people had gussied up with balloons and dollar store stuff, some unions marching (CUPE/OSSTF), and the various small youth groups, church groups, a contingent of furries, etc.

There was then a quite large (for Kingston, maybe 100?) group of folk flying trans flags and waving posters, pink/blue balloons, streamers and the like. I thought it seemed odd, at the time - but I don't ever really go to the parade anymore so it didn't really give me too much pause.

They were followed by Dolly the Confederation Trolley, some cop cars with bored looking cops, and an elderly minivan, driven by an exasperated looking man who seemed to have gotten caught up in the flow of things.

Turns out there was good reason for the large group. The following is a facebook posting from the page of a friend who works with ReelOUT, the local Queer film festival (which, I should say, I have been involved with in the past.) As a warning, transmisogyny.

Some members of the Kingston Pride Committee appear to think that the battle is over for everyone LGBT, and that we should no longer protest, only celebrate victories. While there have been major strides in the recognition of same-sex relationships, this completely dismisses the appalling transphobia that still exists.

ReelOut and OPIRG, two local organizations, devised an event to be held in the park before the Pride parade starts: materials for making signs in support of the transgender community and/or expressing outrage on their behalf. They composed an announcement that included several of the bleak statistics released by Rainbow Health Ontario, but otherwise was inviting and upbeat.

A transwoman, Jackie LaRonde, shared the announcement for the sign booth in several Facebook groups. She was informed in Kingston Shameless Promotion, by the Chairman of the committee, Roger Didier, that "Kingston Pride will not tolerate any anger of any kind," and that "Kingston Pride is only trying to avoid any protest at a parade that is suppose to be a celebration of who we are." A number of people spoke up to point out that the trans community is already marginalized within the greater LGBT group and support the right of the trans community to be angry and express it.

Keep in mind that while Jackie supports the ReelOut and OPIRG event, she is not directly involved with it.

This part we know thanks to an anonymous source: an email was circulated within the Pride Committee soon after regarding this issue, written by the Director of Communications, Bill Seymour. It's hard to pick out only a couple of phrases to quote, and I suggest reading the full text for yourself and drawing your own conclusions

--------------------------------------------------
[Transcribed (spelling and grammar as in the original)]:
I can't believe this woman has the audacity to place herself and her group in the parade with a total political agenda. The Village Fair and the parade is an opportunity for gay members of this community to show that they are proud of who they are without any political agenda.

This is not a platform to display ones' anger, as she so blatantly notes. It's a day(s) of celebration.

If she and her group wish to partake in the parade fine but leave your anger at home. The provincial parties are not allowed to display their political platforms during this celebration and I see no reason why this group should either.

If the wish to march in the parade, fine, but have the decency to fill out the required form like everyone else. Again this smack totally of Mr. Salten [Matt Salton of ReelOut?].

As far as I'm concerned they can hold their own damn protest parade but certainly not at ours.

Someone needs to put this individual in her place and instill in her feable brain that there is a right and a wrong way of approaching these situations and she has obviously chosen the wrong way.


I have removed some contact information at the bottom of the post.

Pride should never just be a party. Knowing more now about the situation, I wish I had gone to the parade today and marched with that group. I certainly intend to make known my displeasure at the actions of the Pride committee.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:14 PM on June 13, 2015 [9 favorites]


Ah. It turns out he has since resigned his position with the Pride committee.

http://www.dailyxtra.com/news-and-ideas/news/kingston-pride-communications-director-resigns-leaked-email-108954
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 4:26 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a very big soft spot for pride. My first one - before I came out - was the Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia. I went with my lesbian cousin in 1989. It blew my little mind. After I came out (three queer cousins in nine!) I did many parades in my hometown dressed in the awesomest costume I could find or make. I have some very embarrassing photos featuring (not all at one time!) chaps, purple velvet pants, leather hotpants, 6 inch platforms and, one memorable year, a wedding dress I liberated from a thrift store.

On a few occasions I burned down the highway from Vancouver to San Fran for pride with one or more friends or a lover, loving the crowds and the energy. I abandoned pride for dyke matches for a few years, horrified by the corporatization of pride.

After I got married and we had kids we went back to the parade and marched with the kids in slings, then strollers, then scooters, then bikes. The children are getting older now and less thrilled about the whole thing. It's too hot, it's too long, it's too boring. They are not shocked or impressed by men with their bums hanging out or drag queens with elaborate hairdos. So we bribe them with ice cream and face paint and dancing and whatever else will work for another year. Soon they'll be too old and they'll demand to stay at home with their friends. And my partner and I will still go and hold hands and kiss in the street and I'll love it because no one will pay attention to me, no one will do a double take and one middle aged woman kissing another right in the middle of the city will, for one day of the year, be totally unremarkable. This is the gift of pride to me - not standing out, but fitting in. God it is such a relief.
posted by Cuke at 4:33 PM on June 13, 2015 [22 favorites]


Maybe sometime we can have a pride thread where the straights don't come tell us about how we don't need it. That's a day I would love to see.

It's the ONE day of the year that I can dress as myself and feel confident I won't get bashed in broad daylight. Fucking tell me again how it's meaningless.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:59 PM on June 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


The fight is this: TD Bank is a huge corporate sponsor. Over the last several years, part of their thing is that they have muscle dudes in tight (corporate-branded) hotpants as part of their presence. They're visible at their booths and in the parade as part of the corporate float.

Hey, last year they had a lady in a tight green bikini! Okay, they had one lady, and three men, and she wasn't especially muscly.

I hadn't heard anything about the TD thing specifically. I know many in the Dyke March are all about stressing the community and protest, over parties, sponsorship and entertainment. We have handcrafted banners - knit, crocheted, even a bit of chain mail! - and an art project about missing and murdered indigenous women. They also want to keep it as a march; floats are banned.

I do wish that space was more clearly reserved in Pride events for specifically queer organisations and groups. It's wonderful that all of our local unions (and health charities and shopping chains etc) support LGBTQ rights, but they are so much more visible in the parade and the fair than the queer groups for whom this is their only time to raise awareness of their existence. (My friend and I spend hours trying to find the queer Deaf group, and there was no map to the community fair whatsoever).
posted by jb at 5:27 PM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Okay, this is sort of a self-promotion: but all TO people, so come see the Dyke March and the awesome banners CraftActionTO has made. Last year's banners with also be shown at Nuit Rose (all night queer arts festival on June 20). I wasn't involved with last years, but they were cool. The Dykes on Bikes is especially beautiful (one piece crocheted, with great colour work).
posted by jb at 5:30 PM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Cuke: Toronto now has Family Pride, which is in the shade and has lots of stuff to keep kids happy.

Also: maybe they won't want to stay home when they are teenagers, and all their friends (queer or straight) are at Pride having fun and celebrating diversity.
posted by jb at 5:33 PM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


This was a pretty great essay. This is going to be the first Pride in several years that I haven't worked at, and I'll say that one of the more uncomfortable things about canvassing LGBT people for civil rights as a straight man is when you get praised for not making the community look bad by being flamboyant.

I do think it's interesting how the tension between assimilation and liberation has always been part of pride parades, fer ex: Frank Kameny rejecting any position on the Vietnam War for one of the first gay rights parades to use the word "pride," specifically aimed at ending the ban on gays in the military.
posted by klangklangston at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2015


That is a good essay. Pride should be fabulous. Pride should be a chance to get your awesome queerness on, and throw a big party because we're here. (Cue the float with several drag queens singing "I'm Still Here" while dressed as Elaine Stritch.)

I do like that Boston now has a Youth Pride celebration in late May, run with BAGLY (Boston Area Gay Lesbian Youth, a youth-run group that I hung out with for a while when I was a young little dykeline sneaking into clubs while underage and it warms my middle-aged heart that they're still going strong.)
posted by rmd1023 at 5:51 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's the ONE day of the year that I can dress as myself and feel confident I won't get bashed in broad daylight. Fucking tell me again how it's meaningless.

SO MUCH OF THIS

and jb, I can't attend Nuit Rose due to a prior obligation. I'd love to be at the Trans and Dyke marches if a cis gay man is welcomed. (I don't mean that in a 'you better kowtow to me' way, I mean it in a 'will my presence make things unpleasant for other people' kind of way)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:52 PM on June 13, 2015


Sadly, I too have a prior obligation (very cute toddler's bday in another city). As for Dyke March (can't speak to trans): while marching is for self-identified dykes, everyone is welcome to watch. I'll be on the side, too, as I have other things on when they are marshalling, but I'll be sidelines cheering my letters on (I made the D Y K and both Es in "Dykeversity").
posted by jb at 6:15 PM on June 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hey, escape from the potato planet, as a gay guy I think your comments were in good faith and relevant to the thread.

And I'd just like to say that pride celebrations are contentious in a lot of different ways and there's no way to say it better than sonascope's comment.

I'll also say that I have straight friends who are so militantly supportive that these are some of the people we want showing up to the celebration. And that is the victory in a way.

There's still a lot of work to do.

When I first attended Toronto Pride in 1999, I almost lost my mind. "It can be this big?"

And yeah, it can. But other people have it harder.

Let's not jettison allies, shall we?
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:05 PM on June 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


From soup's copy and paste:

This is not a platform to display ones' anger, as she so blatantly notes. It's a day(s) of celebration.

READ
YOUR
FUCKING
HISTORY


When I'm awaker and soberer tomorrow I'll write about how our local pride committee fought for months against the trans community over combatting harassment in bathrooms. Yes. Trans people were (are!) getting harassed at LGBT pride.
posted by desjardins at 8:51 PM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


i have no energy to maintain allies anymore, can i say that outloud--i don't need them, and they d more harm than good.
posted by PinkMoose at 9:51 PM on June 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


An "ally" today sucked a ton of my energy and time up with a joke that was so heternormative, transphobic, lesbophobic and reinforcing of rape culture that it made me need to not go to an event. So, yeah. I generally haven't got a whole lot of time right now for allies that think they belong in queer spaces. If you're gonna come and be supportive, great! Shut UP while you do it. You have the entire rest of the world to be heard in. Don't take up space that doesn't belong to you.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:19 PM on June 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


My decades of queer activism have not been in the cause of the obligation to be normal.

While I would prefer trans participation to be more seamless - like queer people in the mundane/het world, we've been here all along, just invisibly. I think outraging the queer establishments is a good thing when it leads to greater inclusivity, more fabulosity and stronger ties among the emerging groups. Every generation, every iteration, every variation has its own struggle and new allies. Pride without pissed-off people is just another dress-up day at the park (not that there's anything wrong with dress up in the park!).

When we're comfortable, we don't fight for positive change.
posted by Dreidl at 12:30 AM on June 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Apparently I've lost touch with what Pride means. Not to belittle anything anyone here is saying, at all. I just haven't seen it, so it strikes me as strange. This is just me.

I came out in 1983. Met a fine fellow and went homebody. We lived in a one gaybar town. We all partied together, and it was the best damn time. No-one was up in anyone's face. Transgender wasn't even a thing, at least as I knew, and I knew very little, and forgive me.

My first Pride parade was in Portland, mid '80's. I was quite taken aback at the spectacle, and it was fucking awesome! Streets lined with people, huge parade. We could duck in to Slaughter's for a quick one and be back on the corner, and a fine time was had by all.

It never occurred to me to see a division, a difference, of the queer folk in that parade. It was Pride. It was a representation of all the people like me, that weren't straight. I'd been out for a few years. I'd told my family, I'd told my employer (thanks, State of Oregon!), that wasn't an issue for a cis gay normie like me. I'd done drag a few times, just for laughs. When our house burned down, my gay bar did a benefit to help us get back on our feet. My late husband put together the first walkathon in Salem to benefit the local AIDS organization. I was very, very lucky to have such support from so many people and our employers that we didn't really didn't have to think about it, you know?

So it was easy for me. To not see the trials and tribulations of others, who didn't have it like I did, during our worst crisis. I lost my man. I thought the world had ended, and I tried to end my world.

I have nothing on you. You, who have to fight these daily fucking battles. You, who have to face this increasing hostile world, with no money, no support. You, who have to explain to just a normal old queer like me, what your world is truly about. I'm blessed, and I thank you. This isn't hyperbole. It's quintessential MetaFilter. I have learned so many lessons I needed to learn, by listening. There are depths of "us" I couldn't hope to have ever come across in my daily world, if not for so many of you, speaking out and telling your stories, your truths. Thank you.

I say very little, here. But I had to say this.

Pride. It doesn't mean you're necessarily proud to be out & loud. As noted above, Pride is an artifact of the movement. Am I proud of being gay? No, of course not, I'm just a man that is attacted to men. Am I proud of coming out in 1983? Sure! At that moment in time it was the thing I had to do, a decision I'll never regret. I had to rip my heart of out my chest and prepare for the worst, when I told my Mom, standing in the kitchen: "Mom, I'm gay." She embraced me. Something so many of you didn't get to experience. I am so truly sorry, you have no idea. I thought I would be ostrasized, and I'd prepped myself for it.

Either way that'd gone, I was liberated. And I stood up for myself. And I was Proud of myself. It's a living hell to think that you are different from the rest of the world. My friends kept looking at their watches, waiting for me to confront myself. I did.

I'm not putting myself in your place. Difficulty is a spectrum. I had it easy, I just didn't realize it. I'm still here. If I hadn't had to work today, I'd been in Spokane with my hippybear, dancing in the sunshine and counting my many blessings. At Pride, cause that's what it's called, for better or worse or who gives a fuck about a celebration in the sunshine.
posted by wallabear at 3:03 AM on June 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


Hey, Shepherd and I marched in the Kingston pride parade yesterday! It was a great vibe because the asshole who was transphobic--and his "sorry not sorry" apology was horrible--got the complete opposite of what he wanted. There were chants of "hey hey ho ho! transphobia's got to go!" and "what do we do when trans people are under attack! STAND UP FIGHT BACK!". It was lovely.
posted by Kitteh at 5:29 AM on June 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


Photos from Spokane Pride 2015.

I really love the Pride held here every year. Over the past 12 years I've watched it grow from an unpermitted group walking nervously along the sidewalk and disbanding quickly once a few blocks had been marched to being 10 days full of events covering a wide spectrum [pdf link], culminating with events on the actual Pride Saturday with a fully permitted parade and a rally/celebration in the park right across the street from City Hall.

It's a Pride event that feels like community in all the best ways.
posted by hippybear at 8:09 AM on June 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


you know, I don't have the emotional energy to write a post about the difficulties between the local trans community and the pride committee.

So, unrelated, I'll just mention that there were a very surprising number of furries in costume at Pridefest. Is... is that a thing now? Are they including themselves under the LGBT umbrella? I'm down with any sort of weird costumes, but not sure I'm up for them glomming onto groups that have historically faced legal discrimination in all areas of life. I don't think there's any restrictions on people in horse costumes marrying each other.
posted by desjardins at 10:07 AM on June 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


this makes the Toronto Pride people advocating getting rid of the scantily-clad muscle dudes MORE CONSERVATIVE THAN A BANK

TD has been a major sponsor for years. As a bank, they're pretty progressive; a friend of mine has worked there for 15 or 16 years, and he's told me that the corporate sponsorship of Pride isn't just marketing, they walk the walk internally and have the entire time he's worked for them.

That said, the Toronto Pride board is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, really. I mean, it's really basic: you're throwing a week-long series of events, the culmination of which sees something like a million people in the streets. It's the second-largest Pride in the world AFAIK, after Sydney. Gajillions of tourist dollars slosh into the city over that week, it's impossible to get a hotel room anywhere near downtown, restaurants and bars and clubs and bathhouses have lines snaking out of them. And yet somehow you're losing money? Incompetence or idiocy, I have no idea. The most obvious idea would be to work with the hotels to capture a tiny percentage of Pride revenue:
Pride Toronto, the non-profit organizer of the festival, estimates that the 2013 economic impact was $286-million, and that this year will be significantly bigger.

“It’s a huge event economically,” said Sean Hillier, co-chair for Pride Toronto, citing a study commissioned from market researcher Research House that indicates the festival created 3,470 jobs and generated $61-million in tax revenue in 2013.*
Seriously. That is a lot of money wandering around. How the fuck are you people going broke?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:18 AM on June 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Pride parades, at least the ones I've seen are happy and fun for the performers and most everyone watching. It'd be a shame to see something that's so full of positive energy go away in the name of button down respectability.
posted by Ferreous at 11:26 AM on June 14, 2015


So, unrelated, I'll just mention that there were a very surprising number of furries in costume at Pridefest.

Apparently,

... We furries are already accepted within the LGBT community to a large extent, which is at least partly due to our own gender and sexual diversity. But I think that there is a strong argument that the entirety of furry can be recognized as a queer identity, a Q, including the 30% or so (according to the 2012 Furrypoll) of us that are heterosexual and cis-gendered.

And I would guess that the 30% that doesn't identify as queer runs heavily queer-friendly.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:18 PM on June 14, 2015


For me one of the big appeals of Pride has always been the fabulous queens, awesome leather daddies, and dykes on bikes. The idea that somehow eliminating these people in the name of being "family friendly" is appalling to me - as a kid I was totally isolated from the idea of gay people, and finally seeing everyone out and doing their thing let me imagine the world I wanted to live in.

I also really wish that straight people would let us have our own space this one day and get that the event isn't about welcoming them and giving them a cookie for being allies, but that's probably another issue.
posted by bile and syntax at 12:49 PM on June 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


So, unrelated, I'll just mention that there were a very surprising number of furries in costume at Pridefest. Is... is that a thing now? Are they including themselves under the LGBT umbrella? I'm down with any sort of weird costumes, but not sure I'm up for them glomming onto groups that have historically faced legal discrimination in all areas of life. I don't think there's any restrictions on people in horse costumes marrying each other.

...

... We furries are already accepted within the LGBT community to a large extent, which is at least partly due to our own gender and sexual diversity. But I think that there is a strong argument that the entirety of furry can be recognized as a queer identity, a Q, including the 30% or so (according to the 2012 Furrypoll) of us that are heterosexual and cis-gendered.

And I would guess that the 30% that doesn't identify as queer runs heavily queer-friendly.


Furries are perhaps the most generally open and accepting group of people I have ever been around, and there are an extraordinary number of Queer folk in the fandom. Whether you want to try to make Furry Identity a queer identity is another conversation altogether, but certainly any population that is as heavily stacked with people who identify as somewhere within the LGBT alphabet soup should have a presence at any Pride celebration and be welcomed.
posted by hippybear at 2:11 PM on June 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


The people trying to... Disappear the campy & sexual elements of Pride in the name of "family/kid friendly" are within our queer communities. The calls for exclusion are not local governments or corporate sponsors. As in the Joe My God piece, or the communications fail in Spokane, or a dozen others, the censors are (some faction) of US.

I've heard every variation of who/why Some People Are Too Weird since the 1979 March on Washington (wear pantsuits and no leather?!), Northampton MA Pride (ewww, what if a lesbian sees a faggot peen?!), Boston Pride (Dykes on Bikes support DV because they're all in leather & do BDSM - too bad the director of the battered women's shelter was riding her bike with a blacked out helmet visor so as not to lose her job), NYC Pride (Act Up is too confrontational!), Denver, Portland OR, Seattle (leather people o noes, not political enough) blah blah blah

Don't like the drag, afraid to explain it to children, get over it. Drag queens, trans people and perverts started Pride. Not pantsuits and A-gays or the kids playdate collective.
posted by Dreidl at 2:28 PM on June 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Pride is the refusal of shame, and these days the shame seems to be of each other and therefore ourselves. I have huge feelings around Pride, I've stayed away from all but the Parade here in Stockholm for going on 20 years because of the commercialisation and ghettoisation of it. It's $100 dollars to enter the gated "festival area" for the week, and even if you only want to come in on the Saturday for the speeches after and the music, that is $55 for a day ticket. The bushes outside this area are full of picnic rugs wtih kids and immigrants and single moms and other less shiny queers, while a pretty homogenous group of people and their straight friends sit inside. It weirdos me out something fierce to hear straight people ask each other what they are doing for Pride, it's like me asking you what you are doing for Iranian New Year. At the same time, I've thought for years that a parade where we all came like we dress on a m on day morning would be an excellent and subversive politics action. Let the entire city turn out to watch the show, and see a happy bunch of dentists, teachers, divers, hairdressers and whatevers marching along. Completely impossible of course, but I still think it woud be a cool shock and make the spectators readdress their view of why they go to Pride.
posted by Iteki at 1:22 AM on June 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Related: the Boston Pride parade was disrupted by an eleven-minute sit-in focused on bringing attention to marginalized people within the queer community, particularly trans women of color.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:18 AM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Iteki, I am absolutely stealing "less shiny queers."

Last night at the (all cis gay male, 6/7 white, one guy who is Hispanic by ancestry and has self-described in my hearing as white) Game of Thrones party I was at, we were as usual hanging out in the hot tub after and drinking. One dude started making racist jokes, and it was fucking gratifying for a change to hear everyone shutting him the fuck down.

"Oh come on racist jokes are funny."
"No, they're not. Cut it out."
"Bah I hate PC shit"
"It's not PC shit, it's about not perpetrating racism"
"But it's just a joooooooooooooke"
"Who gives a fuck? Stop it."

etc.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:29 AM on June 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


Clearly you missed the Dildo Incident of 1994.

In Canada, the Dildo Incident is widely recognized as having occurred in 2001.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 7:03 AM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


In more CorpPride news, PrideTO is now claiming to have copyright on "Pride" (you know, the word) and doesn't allow any vendors in their Streetfair to use the word "Pride" on any merchandise.

Are they trying to come off as evil?
posted by jb at 8:19 PM on June 15, 2015


Are they trying to come off as evil?

They took a swing at that during the great Condom Incident of 2014.

This must be the next installment in a series, I guess.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:06 PM on June 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


We requested some of the Trojan condoms to give out, but they never gave us any.
posted by jb at 8:26 AM on June 16, 2015


In more CorpPride news, PrideTO is now claiming to have copyright on "Pride" (you know, the word) and doesn't allow any vendors in their Streetfair to use the word "Pride" on any merchandise.

the fuck
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:58 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


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