LGBTQ+ Pride is a necessary tool for increasing equality for all humans. It’s great for citizens to recognize all of our differences and understand that inclusion, love and difference are core strengths of a community.
It also performs a really important service for youth who are struggling to understand their own sexual orientation(s) and gender presentation(s): where the community confirms our support and love for all youth, and we can (re)educate everyone on fighting discrimination and valuing consent, safer sexual practices and the multitude of ways we form our relationships and families.
THAT SAID. I am uncomfortable with the apparent pink-washing of this year’s pride festival and parade. From the “Happy [insert your cause] Pride” posters we were encouraged to create and disseminate throughout the city by festival organizers to the minimizing of the equality issues facing LGBTQ+ people in Canada and around the world (particularly those facing inter-sectional marginalization) Halifax Pride has become increasingly commercialized and depoliticized.
Maybe it’s a bid to become more palatable to politicians and businesses who may not want to alienate their constituents/clientele, so that they can “safely” sponsor and participate in the festivities. Or maybe it’s some radical post-gay approach* and I’m just being a cynical, last-gen queer who thinks there’s still lots of work to do when it comes to our rights. Maybe both and more.
I appreciate all the progress we have fought for and accomplished. I also appreciate my cis/straight allies, near and far, who have fought alongside us. I just wish the festival could better-recognize the history and challenges that we still face.
I love donning a rainbow and dancing in the streets as much as the next guy. I love affirming my freedom to be proud of who I am after years of fear and shame. I just don’t want the message to get lost amidst the partying and marketing.
* For more information and far-better analysis on the post-gay movement and identity construction, see Amin Ghazani’s “Post-Gay Collective Identity Construction” here.