It is June and another Pride month is upon us. There are many in our community who don’t think we need this celebration. I’ve heard them argue that we’ve not only assimilated into the majority culture but that our insistence on this annual ritual of parades and festivals actually pulls our movement backward when those videos of drag performers, ass-less chaps and Dykes on Bikes are shown in middle America.
I think they couldn’t be more wrong.
I see Pride as showing our power. Being seen matters especially in the political realm where having a visible presence is a prerequisite for gaining any kind of power.
Slipping out of our minority status for even a day can be incredibly empowering. I just returned from a literary conference put on by the Golden Crown Literary Society – a group that supports and promotes lesbian literature. We took over part of a hotel in Minneapolis, Minnesota and it was wonderful to no longer be merely ten percent (or less) of the population. From the conference rooms to the elevators, from the pool to the bar, we were the majority. Women who had been marginalized for reading and writing about lesbian lives found welcome in our numbers and it was good.
And we can all experience such moments. For the short time of the Pride, we are no longer in the margins or hiding in the shadows or living in our closets. We are out in the streets and claiming the public space as our own. It can be incredibly liberating.
Suddenly, surrounded by the people of our tribe, no one can deny we exist. We don’t have to look to the few out celebrities for our role models. Our neighbors, our coworkers, the other parents at our kids school, our classmates are all out there with us. Seeing so many of my LGBTQH* brothers and sisters, walking around and being happy fills my heart with gladness and recharges my will to fight for those other 364 days when I don’t.
So, I hope I will see you out there – marching and carrying on – because we are many and we are beautiful!
*LGBTQH – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, HIV affected