Your understanding, dear audience, as this week we have decided not to run a Digital Debate. Not for lack of material, inn these times of caustic Internet Arguing, there are so many choice issues which we could have featured. Instead we decided to focus our efforts to positivity, bringing a some brighter color to your corner of the internet, just in time….for Pride.
Out of respect for, and celebration of, Pride Month, we have asked our staff to reflect on what Pride means to them. Here are their responses:
Lauren Amber Eleanor Evallen – “Pride to me is the continued push to walk down the street with my wife without fear, and to celebrate the steps we’ve taken along the way. And Pride celebrations to me are a way to stand together in a visible display to be present and open in a world that wants us to be otherwise.”
Malkontent Blizzard- “What is PRIDE month to me? PRIDE is (almost) equal parts a time to remember the sacrifice of those who went before me, a time when I get to cut loose with all the rainbows and glitter, and a time when I get to be an ally to the next generation.
Every year when June comes around a lot of people who really want to know about LGBTIQA history but were afraid to ask (usually people who I met in the preceding year) come to me and ask about the history of PRIDE and I can take them from the Stonewall riots, to the Florida nightclub arson murder, to Harvey Milk, to DADT. A few years ago I had the opportunity to take a gamer friend who was too young to remember the early days of HIV to the AIDS quilt exhibition and explain why so many of us who were there have trouble recognizing this world.
The second one being pretty self explanatory I’m going to skip it. How do I see myself as an ally? Well there’s that time I described earlier but mainly because when I work at the SF PRIDE Festival I get to help make a safe place for people young and old to be wholly themselves and the majority of my crew are between the ages of 18 and 25 which gives them a chance to interact with a vibrant cross section of the community they are finding themselves a part of and a chance to be an active contributor to it.
This month and especially the coming weekend are incredibly important to me and always will be.”
Lauren Harrington – “Pride, to me, means celebrating the steps we’ve made towards equality and visibility, but also is a reminder of the fact that we’ve still got a ways to go. This is the month people are encouraged to come out to their friends, family, etc, but there is still a large number of people who can’t. “Homophobic” people still run rampant in this world–in this COUNTRY, and sometimes we, who live in the so-called “Gay Mecca” of the US, forget that we are still not safe. It’s a time that reminds me that we still need to get out there and fight for safety, for freedom, to be who were are. Sitting behind our keyboards does nothing–we have to stand up and do the legwork to change opinions, to change minds, and to change legislation. Signing a petition on change.org doesn’t actually do anything–we have to take to the streets.”
Jarys Maragopoulos – “Pride means color, Pride means paint, pride means nudity, leather, and copious make up. When I was ten years younger, Pride rushed at me, inescapably loud and crowded. I was confused, gawking. I never felt that level of exuberant acceptance of joyful and benevolent variety. They do more than accept, of course, the people there celebrated each other, celebrated that they were together, and alive. And in love, often with no more than life itself.
But soon Pride took on new meanings, as I began to know myself. Pride is the opposite of shame. The kind of shame that rises at the too-long glances, the alienation, the reminders of the expectation to fit in. The quality of shame so deep and suffocating, it colord everything, even how you see yourself. You wonder if you taint others by being close to them. Or endanger them, because you are dangerous, a threat to society. Pride means never having to feel that deep shame, the pain of societal alienation, ever again.
Because we banish it this year, and every year, at Pride. Just as traditional religious festivals allow for communal optional catharsis by banishing fear and anger, Pride brings the Queer community together every year, after we have taken the projected shame, and hate, and isolation projected on to us, we lower that burden from weary shoulders and we banish it. We celebrate and enjoy our newly lightened hearts and every year, the people of the world, they see us and the humanity we express during Pride, and we warm new hearts. And every year the world gets less and less hard, we shoulder less and less shame, and the lightness of our hears last longer and longer after Pride.
Until one year, it will be Pride all year, for there will be no more of that deadly shame.