Written by: Jennifer Winters
A couple of months ago I was asked by a friend what is the purpose of the pride parade, and for the first time in almost 5 years, I was stumped without an answer. As a proud member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited community, it just seems to get a little much and I lose the purpose of why I march.
I had to sleep on the question that my friend had asked me, and I started to think about why I had marched in the first place. For me it was about finding acceptance, holding my head high and not being afraid of whom I was. When I found out there was a pride parade for all of these things I had jumped on it, and wanted to be a part of “my own kind”. The fact that I had to Google the correct terminology I found ironic.
Does it really matter what sexuality you are, or what gender identity you have? The word pride means a feeling of self-respect and has satisfaction with the achievements you have made or striving to make in one’s life. Being proud of yourself for accepting who you are is one of the hardest things to do, but do we really need to parade all of our bits to everyone to see.
This year I had made an executive decision to skip pride this year, due to all the politics that have been involved with protests and “making a statement”. It is my understanding that pride isn’t about making a statement it is to be proud. There are still some countries where women are not allowed to have their face seen, we are in the year 2010, and that is still happening, until we are all equal there shouldn’t really need to be separate parades for different sexualities. I completely respect those who do the march for those who can’t, and if that was that I would be right there with them, but it has gotten drug and booze infected as the years go by, even though there are clean spaces available it just doesn’t feel the same. This is not to say that I won’t go in years to come, but a year off to gain some perspective of the reasons why I march is something that I am willing to take a look at. For some, it is just one big party, but the politics of it just don’t seem ideal in my opinion.
This could be me just being bitter and I can certainly accept that. Some of my friends including myself got a lot of flak for “not standing up for our cause”, may cause is to make sure we still have what we always wanted, freedom. The freedom is to be whoever we want to be, and be successful, freedom from within, and having a choice. Going back to the original question that was asked of me “the purpose of a pride parade” I had to tell her it is no longer about what it once was. As long as I have my rights, and I am proud to be who I am, I do not need to march about it, straight people don’t have a parade, and do we really still need one? That is the question I have for you.