Proud of Pride? Is Pride useful anymore?

I just posted the below on Boards.ie. I’m sure it’ll get a few people all riled up. :)

With the Cork Pride events starting to wrap up and with Dublin Pride 2005 well and truly put to bed, I’m starting to wonder what gay people actually think of Pride. Do they know the origins of Pride, why it came about? Where is the “Pride” aspect of it now? Is getting drunk and adhering to over-the-top stereotypes in any way constructive?

I’ve supported Pride before and given out to people who dissed the march but who turned up to the after parties, but now I wonder what is the use for Pride nowadays. It seems just an excuse to get drunk, party and bitch if straight people think you’re a freak.

After witnessing a bunch of screaming queens parade up and down the main street of Cork about a dozen times in an open top bus while most of the gay people were actually hiding under a big rainbow flag, I have to wonder how that makes me proud. It was funny hearing members of the public ask (seriously) “Are they the Lota kids on a day trip?” too. All people saw or rather heard were screams from a bus with a rainbow flag that was going up and down the street. How is something like that making people aware of the gay community?

As the saying goes, Invisble people will have invisble rights, but is this the way for gay people to make themselves visible? I can see the idea that a pride event gets attention, so yes, someone in big heels and wearing a boa gets your attention, but then what? What’s the message then? It’s like that stupid thing “SEX! Now that I have your attention” but then the person just looks back to shouting “SEX” The Fathers for Justice got attention to their campaign when they scaled Buckingham Palace in a Batman suit. They got the headlines and they had something of substance after they got the attention.

Pride was meant to make the greater community aware that gay people existed. But everyone knows there are gay people everywhere now, trouble is most of the places we see gay people are in stereotype roles on TV and in the media, oh and in parading down the street in drag once a year. My mother talks to me now and again about gay people and talks about certain gay people “Did you know such and such is gay? ” what is unsaid but is implied by her without knowing it “and he’s normal”. I would think it is the same for a lot of the wider community too. “You’re gay? But I couldn’t tell cos all I know are the stereotypes that gay people adhere to and those that don’t adhere to them remain silent.”

Since Pride perpetuates myths or rather makes them reality, is Pride devisive nowadays? It’s not like the Gay Community is doing anything to fight for equality at the moment anyway and make us equals. Certainly now when the “Gay Community” invites the Minister for Injustice to their Film Festival and he is all down with the gays telling them he really gives a damn about their rights, yet is going to Court to stop a middle-aged Lesbian couple from getting what is rightfully theirs, and then “community” publicly congratulate his bullsh1t statement.

I have to wonder what are the priorities for the community. The community seems more interested in putting on gliiter, getting drunk on Smirnoff ice than talking about equality.

Also, why do people only celebrate pride one day in the year? I’m proud to be a pink triangle carrying member of the gay community every day of my life. I’m happy to let people know I’m gay without making an event of it. I don’t feel the need to bring a ghettoblaster into work playing kylie and dancing to her in hotpants, yet many of the people who get drunk to go on a Pride march hide away in their closeted shells the rest of the year.

Should pride be more about encouraging people to break away from stereotypes, about encouraging them to feel comfortable talking about their sexuality in a daily environment and about campaigning for greater equality? It can also be about partying and acting like a twat, but right now it is only about acting like a drunken twat.

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4 Responses to “Proud of Pride? Is Pride useful anymore?”

  1. Fiona says:

    You should republish this at the top of the site – it’s worth a discussion it looks like it never got on the blog (maybe it did on boards.ie). I guess the first thing to say is who is to say what pride is meant to be about? for some people dressing up in drag and parading down the street proclaiming that stereotype is a very in your face act of defiance to those who tell them they have no right to do so, and I think that’s an important part of being proud. I also think that we need to be proud of the members of our community who might be what the stereotype tells us we are, not because they want to reinforce the stereotype but just because that’s how they are. At some stage we have to ask – if I’m cringing when I walk down the street at the drag queens and the lewdness etc… if it because I’m afraid that people will think I’m like that and if so what does that say about me?

    Pride is about, I think, the freedom to be proud. However that pride might manifest itself. And pride is challenging, not just for straight people but also for us queers. We’re all there in our different guises and we see just how diverse our community is and how strong that thin string of sexuality is that holds us together as a group of people who suffer and celebrate together.

    I feel those kinds of discomfort too myself, but then I just remind myself that it’s me being uptight and I just relax and try to enjoy myself and marvel at the confidence and PRIDE that these people have to express themselves like that in O’Connell Street on a Saturday afternoon!!

  2. [...] I’m totally cynical about gay pride parades. (See my views about the Pride parade in Cork last year.) To me it’s a once a year spectacle where all those afraid to leave their hairdressing salons and gay bars come out in force and let people know that gays exist. Like people didn’t know this. To me it’s quite insulting that the parades use the idea of furthering gay rights when it’s just another excuse to put on mascara and glitter and get drugged and drunk. How many that partake in those parades have ever actually campaigned for equal rights? Fiona is a tiny minority. [...]

  3. Aaron Long says:

    Well done for saying what most of us genuinely feel. I have aired this view many times only to viciously shot down for my supposed ‘internal homophobia’. Integratation cannot be achieved through segregation, which is what the Irish gay scene seems to actively encourage. As for the Pride Picnic in the Park, it was like viewing exhibits in the zoo. Well done for a thought provoking article !

  4. James R says:

    Very well put together series of thoughts, that really do echo the views of a number of people I know who missed pride for the first time in years this year. Your breakdown of the term “community” is very apt. Its always struck me as absurd that a such community can allow a gang of pissed young lads walk through that alley beside the George and watch them randomly lash out at anyone in their path in a vicious homophobic attack, yet this same community hinges its annual celebration on the Stonewall riots. McDowell speaking at the opening of the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival really articulates a myopic vision on the side of the institutions of the Dublin gay community, that was taken as a remarkable insult by many left campaigners and evidence of a community that has clearly forgotten its own history as an oppressed minority in favour of a new ghettoisation in an increasingly visible Dublin gay scene isolated around the pink pound in venue froms Georges St to Upper Capel St. It should be noted that none of these venues had anything to do with sponsering or organising Pride events prior to de-criminalisation in ‘93. The remaining cob webs of that history are ever more being brushed away with the subtle name change to the Dublin parade this year and last. No more a legacy of pride going back to the original militancy of ‘69 but now just a two year old Dublin International Pride event. Personally, I think it would be good if you wrote up your thoughts on all this for Indymedia.ie – it’d be a nice articulation of something that a lot of people may share.

    http://www.tao.ca/~limpfist/index.html