COMMENT: Pride, Who Cares?
This weekend is possibly one of the busiest on the Pride circuit for 2012, and warm ‘Pride’ greetings to you all in Brighton, Grimsby, Cardiff, Barnsley and here in Leicester.
Once again members of the LGBT community will be celebrating their sexuality in public, and cities and towns enjoying the diversity that the LGBT community gives to each of their respective locations; and this is truly wonderful and great, and reflects the time and open society which we in the UK live.
I wonder though, how many of the revelers will spare a thought for those in other parts of the world where ‘Pride’ is not a party, where sometimes it is a struggle or a fight against oppression or criminalisation; where being gay doesn’t mean a drunken party in a park, but means imprisonment or possibly stoning or death, purely because they love someone of the same sex? Sadly I suspect very few of us celebrating this weekend will even give this a second thought; if we see a stall in the ‘marketplace’ we will probably walk by and ignore it, after all £3 for a bottle of WDK is much better value than the same amount could do for our persecuted bothers and sisters across the world.
Looking through the programmes for several of the events this weekend their seems to be little or no sign of any campaigning or political speakers or messages which focus on campaigning for our rights whether it be marriage equality here in the UK or more general gay rights and freedoms elsewhere in the world.
We will be quite happy being fed the normal diet of gay ‘culture’ the jaded drag queen we have all seen a thousand times before; the second rate X Factor rejects; the D list celebrities who ‘troll’ theirway round the pride circuit trying to revive their sagging careers. Where now is the campaigning spirit and fight that once pride were about; we now have parades rather than marches; we don’t even mention ‘gay or LGBT’ in our event titles now (of the 4 events this Saturday none mention LGBT or Gay); do we really believe that ‘Pride’ is now a brand so strong that we don’t need to call it gay, or has Pride just become an excuse for a piss up on a park, devoid from spirit, fight and conscience?
In the UK, having gained freedoms and rights over the last 45 years, which older members of the LGBT community could never have imagined in their wildest dreams back in the 1950s we seem to have sat back and said thank you very much and now believe we ‘have it all’ We don’t, and neither do other parts of the world.
So perhaps, as we walk proudly on our pride parades to bemusement or applause from the city shoppers we pass by, and watch the same mediocre acts on our stages across the country, we might just think about what we have, how we got there, what we need to do to retain these rights and to gain the same freedoms for our brothers and sisters across the globe.
Visit the campaigning stalls on the park, sign their petitions, put some money into their collecting tins; remember we are as a community much more diverse than the fare we are served up at pride events, and if you don’t see any of these campaigning organisations or hear a speaker asking for your support for LGBT campaigns start asking some difficult questions of your local pride organisers ( who do a tremendous job for nothing) but who maybe don’t feel that we have any campaigning concerns or issues any more, or event better start something in your area yourself.
Most of all, have a great pride wherever you are; be safe and look after each other, be proud but remember those less fortunate than us!
James Coltham is: Sane, sorted professional, left-leaning, community activist and campaigner. Based in Leicestershire, interested in politics, art, music,s inging countryside and LGBT issues
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.