Pride started in many aspects as an act of civil disobedience.
It started as a protest and still has a dimension of that. There are still struggles towards equality for the LGBT populus in the UK and globally. Maintaining visibility in that dimension is crucial.
However, like many events it evolves in time and has become many things – there still is a political dimension, there is a clear social and party dimension, there is (in many Prides in the UK – very successfully at Reading Pride for example) a community and family dimension.
Each of these dimensions is a good reason, standing alone, for Pride.
Sure, we could organise the politicising of Pride better – and the entire organisation of London Pride this year was appalling – however, that does not mean that the choices many make to participate and their reasons for doing so are any less valid than the reasons many more have made regarding thousands of Pride events over the decades.
One of the reasons Pride evolved in the UK was because it did not become a civil diobedience – the law permitted LGBT gatherings and protests (and celebrations). This was not the only reason that Pride evolved. There is still much to campaign for – and celebrate.
Pride serves many purposes, and many make different choices as to why to participate (or not).
Maybe if all these articles back-and-forth about the relevance of London’s Pride parade stopped and remembered for just one moment that “gay” “pride” isn’t ONLY about [white] gay men…!
Then you might see how far we still have to go.
That statement isn’t backed up by the pictures I saw. Perhaps your referring to the organizing bodies and not the participants. That certainly may be true, but the participants seem to represent every race, gender and sexuality.
I agree that the broad diversity of the queer community was more-or-less successfully on show in the parade, although I personally don’t think this is down to any great work on the part of organisers.
My point was more that many of these articles have argued that Pride parades have served their purpose and should be consigned to history — but this opinion has been coming [as far as I can tell] exclusively from gay men.
I would merely suggest any ‘upper-middle-class white gay male’ who thinks we have successfully attainted equality and can stop protesting and parading now, should have a little chat with any lesbian, any bisexual, any trans* or intersex or genderqueer person, any queer of colour, disabled queer, working-class queer, asylum-seeking queer…
I hope your not suggesting that lesbians face more anti-gay discrimination and abuse than gay men.
Wealth and power or the lack thereof informs peoples’ understanding of equality and justice MUCH more than gender and I’ve seen no evidence that lesbians with wealth and power are any less guilty of what you accuse gay men of.
It’s really quite insulting, after seeing so many stories of gay men being assaulted (much more frequently than lesbians) and gay men being blamed for all of the world’s ills (much more so than lesbians), to hear people claiming that gay men are somehow privileged.
You need to turn your ire toward wealthy and powerful people, male and female, who have lost touch with life down here in the trenches and stop stereotyping white, gay men.
your = you’re
Second time today that I’ve made that mistake typing in haste.
I think the defensiveness of your comment shows more about your own preconceptions than it does Court’s. She’s given a long list of other LGBT yet you’re jumping her throat accusing her of inciting the ‘Virtuous’ Lesbian v Gay Man argument. The only person that’s doing that is you.
Just slow clap this comment out… Just slow clap it out…
Ollie McFadden is entitled to his opinion.
And the hundreds of thousands of people in attendance at a Pride event up and down the country are equally entitled to their opinion.
I genuinely don’t understand why LGBT people whine about Pride events.
If it does not appeal to you then stay at home. It really is that simple.
(And for anyone who pretends that those in attendance at Pride, are creating the wrong impression of our community, I would answer ‘You represent yourself alone, don’t blame other people for how people perceive you. Look at almost any religion in the world – whether you are a screaming queen or a ‘straight acting’ closet case, then the religions will hate you’.)
Bottom line – if you don’t like Pride then either stay at home, or organise something more appealing to yourself.
If you don’t like Pride either don’t go or contact the organising group and offer to help so that you can influence the evolution of Pride to be something that you perceive as better.
I don’t like Pride. I stay at home.
Then when I tell straight people I’m gay they wonder why I’m not half naked with a rainbow flag blowing a whistle in the ear.
Sorry, but Pride DOES affect the rest of us, whether we go or not.
I have been to Pride many times – never blown a whistle, never been half naked at one, hacve waved a rainbow flag.
I have marched in uniform, co-ordinated stalls for work and also participated in jeans and t-shirt.
Perhaps you would see your perception of pride is not entirely valid if you participated, or ensure it is more representative …?
Can you realistically complain about lack of representation at an event that you have not been a representative at?
I have been to many in the past, both as a participant and as a press photographer, and it seems the majority of ‘ordinary’ LGBT people have been slowly but surely marginalised and squeezed out by the flamboyant, mouthy ones.
And let’s face it, who do people look at? The 100 people in jeans and T-Shirt, or the one mouthy one in stilettos and a feather boa?
So are you saying it is because you are not being looked at?
Yes, Spanner, nothing worse than gays who openly flaunt their sexuality. We need to get back to the good old days when gays hid their sexuality and acted like normal straight people.
We get enough hatred from straight people, Spanner, so we can do without gay people being ashamed of other gay people and saying there’s no need for them to act so obviously gay or whatever. If you want hide in the shadows, fair enough, but don’t complain that other gay people are happy to be out and proud.
Wearing Jeans and a t-shirt is not hiding your sexuality…That is a ridiculous statement BennieM.
Your sexuality is who you sleep with/ fall in love with it is not what you wear and how camp you are.
I find it difficult when people say ‘that’s so Gay’ when referring to someone who goes around with a ‘look at me’ attitude, wearing nothing but a thong and some wings, because I’m Gay and that isn’t so me.
Bennie: There is a whole difference between being “out and proud”, and being blatantly outrageous, controversial and confrontational.
I find them a bloody embarrassment, and it seriously annoys me and many other LGBT people that this small bunch are somehow deemed ‘representative’ of the rest of us.
Oh for Gaga sake Spanner Grow a pair!! lol
It seems I’d need to, to go on a Pride march these days anyway.
Why do you feel the need to tell people you’re gay? I am happily out of the closet both at work and home but I let people work out I am gay without overtly referring to it, same way I do with heterosexuals.
I don’t ‘feel the need’ unless I am asked or the subject comes up.
However, I am sick and tired of the stereotypical public image LGBT people are portrayed as, by a minority within a minority.
I suppose it’s just that the ‘public’ see this parade of scantly clad gays getting pissed and some gays are just unhappy that there being represented by that.
I for one enjoy pride, I don’t see the reason for it, but I enjoy it. I am not a fan of those walking around in a thong in front of families but to each there own I suppose.
such a shame to have to listen to the coward queers over and over again. you cannot compare LGBT people with other minorities because their “blend in” has nothing to do with ours. Ours is just a pour excuse for invisibility. As a black man, blending in still needs a constant “I’M HERE, I’M DIFFERENT you can see it in my face. My history and my oppression is all over me you cannot ignore it, so treat me accordingly”. Do you even understand that?
Pride always has been and remains a political event. Didn’t you listen to the speakers at the Square ?. The U.K, is yet to get same sex marriage equality , that requires a change in the law = Political.
Groups representing countries from all over the world marched under bannars calling for political change in their countries of origin. Many have the death penalties for gay people ( http://www.ilga.com ).
Pride was no different from other years in it’s calling for political changes to take place throughout the world how did you miss that ?. The NUS ( you’re a student ?. ) consider Pride to be a political demonstration and they are dead right.
I will concede a point that there are many who go for a party and delete the whole demonstration aspect from their minds.
Keep the march, it’s a demobstration to be seen by as many onlookers as possible.
Were are in trouble when the party seekers outnumber the demonstrators. Big trouble.
Yep, 18, sounds about right. All of the arrogance, all of the ignorance but little real world experience. We’ve all been there.
Straight people don’t have to identify as straight. In our culture it’s assumed that ALL people are straight until otherwise stated. And besides, straight people DO announce their sexuality ALL THE TIME. They talk about their husbands/wives, girlfriends/boyfriends all the time. They have pictures of their spouses/lovers on their desks at work. They wear their wedding bands proudly. They make their sexuality clear in their every word and action. And even if they don’t, they’re assumed to be straight. And they don’t face discrimination based on their sexuality; a discrimination that was made possible by and perpetuated by invisibility and silence. Even if they didn’t constantly make their sexuality obvious they would have no need to.
I think it should be two events.
Pride demo, back to its roots.
Pride party, paying event.
There is no such thing as a ‘free’ event anymore.
I’m from the American South and this “Straight people don’t make a big deal about their sexuality” argument sounds just like white people who complain about Black/Latino/Asian Pride and cultural events because WHITE people and their culture aren’t celebrated.
I’ve noticed that these anti-Pride commentaries are being written by kids just out of nappies who have NO idea of the struggle that brought us to where we are today.
The ‘kids just out of nappies’ are the ones who are growing up in the world you have fought for. We respect your fight but surely we’re entitled to change things in the way we see fit? Is it not possible that your views are now out-dated?
PN, I get where you’re going with this.
But please, stop trying to make the “Great Pride debate” happen.
I want very much to know what went wrong with World Pride. Please give us some good investigative journalism so we know if City Hall is to blame, and how future Pride committees can avoid making the same mistake.
Pieces suggesting that Pride would be better if we didn’t march, or if we barred those inappropriately attired for meeting one’s grandmother, are a waste of pixels and have nothing to do with the problem at hand.
If nothing else was revealed by the World Pride debacle, we were reminded that Pride remains enormously popular with the community (who attended in droves despite the lack of events) and that corporate sponsors remain interested, despite the “negative media coverage” (if Peter Tatchell’s version of events is accurate).
PN, please help us get to the bottom of what went wrong, and then we can debate what to put in its place.
Interesting take. I don’t think there’s any question that Pride has become less political. There wasn’t much to say about equal marriage that was of any significance among the marchers and I’d like to have seen more of that, at the forefront even.
It’s become too much of an excuse for nothing but frivolity and stereotyping in some cases and I think that’s why it’s not receiving wide media coverage or next to none.
It needs to get its act together and find a professional team of people to organise it and fund it adequately so that what happened this year doesn’t happen again.
I’ve attended several international Prides and all have done a far better job than us as well as being far more political.
This is an ill-thought argument made from a position of privilege. It was World Pride last Saturday, Ollie, which means that a little geopolitical awareness would have enriched your argument, which is intensely naive. This isn’t criticism, it’s graffiti.
““What annoys me more than anything is when people introduce themselves as ‘Oh hello, my name’s John and I’m gay’.”
I have never ever heard this in all my years – has anyone?
Still keep fighting those strawmen, Ollie!
FB, no, I haven’t either and I’m almost 62. That young man must be hanging out with some very odd people.
Having taught people in their late teens for a couple of years, I can say that it is reasonably common among those at that age who have just recently come out. Heck, I was a bit like that when I came out in my mid-20s a few years ago. I think it’s a recently-out thing, and it’s understandable in that context.
@ FB, when I first started coming out over 20 years ago, this was one thing straight people were constantly moaning about – “oh gay people are so obsessed about their sexuality! They announce it to you as soon as they introduce themselves. Us nice straights don’t do that”. It essentially showed that they were ok with gay people as long as they shut up and didn’t do anything that was going to upset their nice, safe heterosexual lives. Then, it kinda disappeared as gay people became genuinely accepted. Its interesting to see it being resurrected again – by a gay guy no less – using that same argument against other gay people. Seems to have come full circle. But, as someone pointed out above, straight people DO announce their sexuality very quickly. Within seconds of meeting a straight person, you will know all about their wife/husband/gf/bf. Yet when a gay person does it, you are suddenly obsessed with your sexuality.
I think that’s the most disappointing aspect, that this attitude is coming from a young gay guy. He’s from the generation who is supposed to be most at ease with being gay when clearly he (and the other young guy who wrote the other anti-pride article) clearly isn’t comfortable with himself being gay at all.
Pinkness have run some very odd articles relating to Pride events recently submitted by some young contributors.
People have a right to their opinions but to feature articles by individuals who don’t seem to have a grasp of the past struggle we have fought to make the gains we have and who don’t understand that LGBT equality has a long way to go to being achieved is somewhat offensive to those of us who lived through it and who continue to take note of what still needs to be done both domestically and globally!
Where are all these people who say, hello I’m John and I’m gay. Never met them!
what a silly little boy!
This opinion comes from Florida, USA. There is allot of validity in your comments with regard the validity of the protest nature of Pride.
In the UK, y’all have far more benefits than do we. You can marry throughout Britain. Us, only in a few states. And then, we are not recognized by our Federal Gov’t. with regard taxes and inheritance.
In any case, Pride is becoming more and more a celebration than a protest. But there are many more battles for to obtain equality for the LGBT community throughout the World. For this alone, some semblance of protest should remain in Pride.
Here in St. Petersburg, we just held out 10th annual Pride celebration. More than 100,000 attended. This is a police estimate, which are always light in numbers. Huge in any case.
It was indeed a celebration. It was also a protest to the Kansas Church members who travelled all that way to shout at us, bless their hearts.
Celebrate? Absolutely. Protest? You bet! We’re not there yet!
In the UK, y’all have far more benefits than do we. You can marry throughout Britain. For us, only in a few states. And then, we are not recognized by our Federal Gov’t. with regard taxes and inheritance.
It’s interesting that the writer of this article is (in his own words) a white, middle-class, 18 year old student. The writer of the other recent article against pride, Topher Gen is also a young, white student, although I have no idea of his class.
At that age I believed that I had fully accepted my sexuality when I later realised I hadn’t. I also saw no reason to antagonise straight people with gay pride marches, for example. How naive I was!
I wonder what these guys will think when they look back on these articles in a few years time.
‘upper middle class’ even!
I was the exact same way. I was comfortably out when I was 17. For the next three years I derided loud queers. I thought I was more refined, better educated, and frankly a better person. I was an arrogant, ignorant little brat.
Among the people I’ve talked to, this is, unfortunately, very common.
Hopefully this guy just needs a few years of not being a teenager.
With any luck, when they look back on these articles in a few years they will show them to all the next generation of young LGBT who think exactly the same and say “look, your view is nothing new and unlike your sexual preference, it IS just a phase”.
I enjoyed the old fashioned march, there’s still something refreshing and empowering about it, even though these days the only disapproving faces you see come from a handful of religious nutters.
That said, there is something also to be said for making it more inclusive of straight supporters, maybe more of a diversity march and/or festival. We did indeed have events such as the writer suggests in Hyde Park in the past, both long in the past, and more recently ( the Royal Parks were unhelpful for a long period in the middle – hence it was shipped out to parks in more sympathetic boroughs). I have nothing against the idea of an lgbt plus straight supporters, families, children, having picnics and all sorts of events in Hyde Park, as well as a march and some sort of rally in Trafalgar Square.
As I said in another post, we have families of our own these days, as well as supportive extended families, who would love to come to a more picnicky type of thing.
Invisible enemy? Scroll down this web site and read about school bullying or homophobia in sports, the news, or try anything with a religious angle.
Or take a look at the C4EM web page. Note that 43% of conservative MPs asked will vote against same-sex marriage. Worried about the prospect of a full conservative government yet?
And try looking outside the UK.
I am lucky. I do not face homophobia daily. Not everyone is in a similar position. Gay people have a long way to go for full equality and (now this really bugs me) do not forget the rest of the community. Do you really believe transgender people only have invisible enemies?
Not every one lives in a gay cul-de-sac and not everyone can stand up for themselves. Nor should they have to. Pride is there for people that still believe we have a message to get across. If that’s not you, fine. But do not belittle those that try.
Invisible enemy? I can only assume you have simply not been looking.
It shouldn’t just be about our status in the UK, around the world gay people are beaten, abused and killed by civilians and the state. A lot of gay people in the UK don’t realise how lucky we are, think about our brothers and sisters in countries like Africa and Iran while takingpartin Pride. We still have a lot to fight for!
It’s just funny reading these articles by kids who think they know it all about pride. The comment reminded me of a youtube video…….
I’m a white, working class, gay, 21 year old, uni student.
I’d like to say that I couldn’t disagree more with this article, and to say that this writer doesn’t speak for all of the demographic. Not that he has professed to, but often we’re all tarred with the same brush.
I went to London Pride this weekend. It was the first Pride event I’d ever been to and I thought it was great, because;
I’m from a village in Wiltshire. I live in London now, but when I was an adolescent it was very much a case of being the only gay in the village. I felt very alone, and bullying was of course an issue.
What I’m trying to illustrate is that, even when we [LGBTs] finally do have universal equal rights and complete acceptance by the entirety of society [one can dream!] ; Pride will still serve a very important purpose to those of us who once felt like we were the only gay person in existence.
It doesn’t have to be political to provide a lot of people with some comfort in know they’re not alone.
The political motive should be first and foremost the homophobic bullying and victimisation in our schools , how quickly we forget or choose not to look whilst our young are on the front lines in a batttlefield every day .
RIP dominic and Roger Crouch .
Neither of which were gay.
But both victims of Homophobia
Very much so, David.
What is to stop us as individual people making our way to Hyde Park for a PICNIC as we used to do in the mid 1970′s , FREE PRIDE not PAY PRIDE .
“Pride needs a political motive or it needs a change.”
…or it needs to pack the whole thing in and call it a day. It has outlived its usefulness. Gay people have pretty much all they asked for, so let’s stop squabbling and learn to enjoy it.
When gay people have justice, equal rights and equal access in Saudi Arabia and Iran and Malaysia and Uganda and Jamaica and the rest of the world then we might consider packing the whole thing in. Until then we should continue to march in London and Paris and Berlin and New York and San Francisco and Rio and in every country, county, city, town and village we can for those who CAN’T march in their country, county, city, town or village.
Even then, why not continue celebrating who we are and our contributions to the world just like every other minority rightfully does.
Even then there will still be justification in the party and celebration aspect.
Yeah. That was my point in my second paragraph. :)
Ignored by national television news coverage as it is every year in spite of it being the 2nd largest annual gathering /festival in the nations capital.
Then there are the teenage suicides ,bullying, assaults; violent physical , verbal and emotional causing countless psychological problems. Yes it sure has outlived its usefulness and purpose whilst it is merely used to fill the cash registers of central London and in particular Soho and used by participants merely to preen themselves and parade their million dollar wardrobes..
When 2 men or 2 women can walk down any road in the UK Without being bullied, abused and threated with violence or actually suffering violence I would say maybe but stop being so, so very naive to think everything is perfect and rosy… it isn’t!
It’s also very naive to think that it will ever completely stop, and even more naive to imagine that a bunch of mincing nancies waving flags is going to change anything whatsoever. Pride has become a hollow sham of what it was originally set up to achieve and represent and frankly, as a gay man, I find the whole thing a total embarrassment and an insult to those that were first inspired to march and demonstrate their public feelings.
Does that include putting up with the offensive bulls**t from Carey and Cardinal O’Brien? Or being hesitant to consult my GP about issues health issues unique to me as a gay man? Or the fact that homophobic bullying is still rife in our schools and most educational authorities do nothing about it? Or the fact that there are still a lot of places in the UK where showing any sort of affection to another man would means we’ll both get hassle from bystanders? Or….another 100 reasons.
sure you are intitled to your own opinion… but really? if you dont like pride then dont come but there are people out there who have not been accepted, who have been kicked out by their own family for being gay, murdered for being gay, beaten up, threatened, not just in england but all around the world. Pride is showing you do care and that you love who you are and its about celebrating that. and yes pride is political in every sense… you may be ok and well off but alot of us arn’t.
i dont believe you also said about gays saying “hi im … and im gay” iv never met anyone who does that, ever and i highly doubt i ever will.
as for “This is gay Pride, no straights allowed” <<< ITS CALLED A JOKE! i said something similar to my str8 mates when i bumped into them.
you are 18!!! go out n have fun.. jeez lol
I read both this article and TopherGen’s with a sense of nostalgia. Because I can remember being around their ages, in the late 90s/early 00s and thinking exactly the same thing. The “Hello, I’m X and I’m gay” moan is about feeling pressured by much more up front gay piers that you have to tell everyone you’re gay, I know because I was using that one 10 years back. There are certain parts of both articles that I can agree with (to a very limited point) but boy am I glad no-one allowed me to publicly record what I thought in black and white for time immemorial. In ten or so years both these young men will have realised that the enemy is still there it’s just more camouflaged a lot of the time. But for now they’re both too busy trying to tell themselves there isn’t an issue anymore because that would mean they have to face the fact that there is something about that’s different (like being non-white) and there are people who have a problem with it who do effect their lives…
I was thinking about Pride and wondering what it means to me. Certainly it is fun to partake in the parades and festivals that celebrate the historic Stonewall revolt. But for me gay pride goes much deeper. Not that the fun and frivolty should be criticised – we just need to understand more. Gay pride means staying informed about the issues that impact our community, overcoming the complacency that things are okay the way they are and not giving in to inertia by standing up for our rights rather than waiting for somebody else to do so for us.
Gay pride means making sure that the next generation has an easier time in school than we did, has families more accepting of their sexual orientation and gender identity than our families were. Gay pride means changing laws so that same–sex couples receive the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples and that gays are safe from bashing and can’t be fired from our jobs. Gays have made tremendous progress since the late 60s but we still
have a long way to go. Pride is continuing the process of coming out to friends, family, and coworkers. Straight people who know gay people are more supportive of our rights than people who don’t.
Pride has other benefits it can be a fundraiser for campaigning, HIV research etc etc – the fundraising can be great fun. It can be a community gathering event. It can raise profile of issues. It can do many things.
True; Pride CAN do many things, but it has lost its way, and does none of them except promote stereotypes and put the majority of LGBT people in a bad light.
Where is your evidence that this is all Pride does?
Here are a few examples of outcomes of various recent Pride events in the UK:
“a petition to implement an anti-bullying policy of LGBT people in local schools”
“This years Manchester Pride raised a total of £105,000 [for LGBT organisations and charities]”
“This year’s theme for Birmingham Pride – the UK’s largest two-day LGBT festival – is It Gets Better. The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people who’ve been victims of abuse and bullying as a result of their sexuality that life does indeed get
better. Growing up as a young LGBT person isn’t easy, especially when they don’t have openly gay adults and mentors in their lives. As a result, they often hide who they are, for fear of bullying and harassment.”
“Northern Pride have an overall mission to reduce homophobia, promote awareness of equality and to unite LGBT communities across the region. We do this by staging a series of events to bring LGBT people and their families and friends together in an environment where they can feel at home, feel safe and ultimately be themselves.”
All seem to me to be events that are doing great things for their LGBT
communities – and each of these events is doing much more in terms of protest, workshops, community based activities, fundraising and creating a safe space. Many other events such as Cornwall Pride, Scottish Pride etc etc are also doing fantastic things.
Those who choose to see one unifocal aspect of Pride choose to stigmatise and have a blinkered view.
Continuation of prev. comment:
they just don’t know it yet. I was in the march and as we went down Haymarket there was very visible and audible ‘God Squad’ on the other side of the road misquoting the Bible through loud speakers and telling us all to seek salvation. On the other side was the march and the all the pride spectators cheering, clapping and blowing on whistles as loudly as they could to drown them out and show they weren’t going to just stand by and let them spout their poison. It reminded how important is that we still march, that we still get the roads closed and take to the streets. I never did when I was Topher and Ollie’s age, I was oblivious to the fact that at that time s28 and unequal age of consent still existed because I was too busy trying not to upset all the straight people by not being too ‘gay’.
Everything in this world is like endless and very powerful suggestion: ‘ people are just straight. Of course. No discussions’. Every response on this can be just political – and very human.
I’ve got to say that I disagree with quite a few aspects of this article. Firstly Ollie, nice use of ad hominem. It’s been used quite a bit recently ever since the Laurie Penny / David Starkey ‘disagreement’. Nice to see it being used yet again. Clearly an attempt to put yourself above the readers / commentators. Now – the “My name is John and I’m Gay”. I’m shocked that this is being used by a gay man against other gay people. This was an argument used by straight people against gay people to get gay people to shut up and get back in their closets. Then, gay people genuinely did become accepted and strtaight people stopped saying that. Now a gay man is bringing up that tired old argument and using it against gay people. I don’t need to go into just how wrong that is. Ollie, I suggest you research this aspect a bit more. Or, when you meet new people, simply listen to them and you will find that the straight people will let you know in no uncertain terms that they are straight within….
….seconds. They will refer to their gf/wife/bf/husband, or point out people they find attractive. Seriously – why don’t you do this when you meet people? Just observe them. Stay quiet and observe. I can guarantee you that the straight people will identify themselves first. Also, you will of course know that people will always asume you to be straight unless you say otherwise. So, even if people did say “hello, i’m john and I’m gay” then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. John is completely accepting, and indeed proud of, his sexuality to announce it. If it annoys stright people or even other gay people then they are the ones who are at fault, not John. Now onto the whole Pride thing being a protest march. Well, as far back as 1992, people were talking about how it was such a great thing that Pride was no longer a protest march and was a celebration of LGBT life/culture etc. It was about then that straight people started going to Pride events to have a good time…..
so, I really don’t understand the whole thrust of your argument in your argument. LGBT people in general have been apathetic about politics for a long time now. I would estimate the apathy really set in around the time the age of consent was equalised, but, even before that when it was reduced to 18 for gay men (even though it was still a discriminatory age). In the UK, have you actually seen a gay political rally / march? Probably not because they don’t happen anymore. Lastly, I applaud your great wish for full integration. But don’t berate LGBT people for holding it back. You will see that it is still straight people holding it back. However, if full integration means that I have to become a safe ‘will ‘n’ grace’ type character that middle england accepts, with my pseudo hetero lifestyle, then i don’t want it thank you very much!
Seriously – is there no one who can write an article for Pride that stands up to any inspection? A person from a privileged background – presumably with liberal and well educated parents – considers himself to just “happen to be gay”. McFadden should consider himself very fortunate if being gay is not a big deal for him. For those of us of an earlier generation and for many people from less enlightened families and communities, being gay can be a very, very big deal indeed.
It can be a big enough deal to be murdered in the street. It can be a big enough deal for some teenagers to be bullied to the point of suicide. It can be a big enough deal for some people to be thrown out of their homes and disowned by their families.
McFadden echoes the hackneyed old cry of the homophobe that “People don’t run around introducing themselves as straight!” No, they don’t because the assumption is that they are straight. My sexual orientation is important in society not because I’ve made it important – because other people have made it important. My sexual orientation is important enough to other people that laws had to be put in place to protect me from being fired for being gay.
My sexual orientation is important enough for some people to want to deny me the right to marry the person I love and who loves me. My sexual orientation is important enough that there are people who would like to see me imprisoned or dead. McFadden might think that sexual orientation isn’t the most important thing about a gay person, but for those people who disown their family members, who discard their friends – to these people a gay person’s sexual orientation IS the most important thing about them.
It becomes the ONLY thing about them.
If McFadden had bothered to attend this year’s Pride parade, or if he did as implied, if he’d bothered to open up his eyes he’d have seen that the people on the march did, indeed, represent the LGBT population across every social and ethnic group. The Pride march was diverse and inclusive – straight people marching with their gay friends, colleagues and family members.
McFadden’s claim that he heard someone say “This is gay Pride, no straights allowed”, if true only goes to show that, like mainstream society, “the gay community” isn’t free from bigoted idiots. On the other side of the coin there were a group of Christians holding up signs saying “Jesus loves you.” And shouting “We love you too.”
An absence of chanted slogans and confrontation doesn’t rob a demonstration of its political message. The political message this year was loud and clear: We care enough to march even when everyone was telling us it was all over and we shouldn’t bother. And, just as important, there were onlookers who cheered and smiled and waved and gave their support.
The collapse of the organised corporate shindig meant that we weren’t walking along behind floats advertising alcopops and then listening to people who didn’t make the grade on the X Factor mime along to a generic pop song. Instead we walked, we talked, we smiled and laughed and celebrated.
In spite of it being painted as a disaster because of monumental screw ups and political sabotage – we were there. So were people from other countries where gay people are murdered by their families, imprisoned and executed by the state, raped to turn them straight, denied employment.
This wasn’t just a protest against oppression. It was a display of solidarity and a celebration of our freedom. Freedom that has been hard won and fought for every step of the way over the past half a century. For McFadden to feel that he can dismiss these so nonchalantly is really quite sad.
‘kin ‘ell David!
Stop holding back, and really tell us how you feel.
Yes, and dancing around in a thong is not helping. The very people that commit these crimes are conservative so we need them to see we are just like them not different.
Forty-two years ago we fought back. We said we had had enough, and we weren’t going to take it anymore. That was the message of the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Bless those gay men and lesbians of yesteryear; those queers and benders; and especially those drag queens. What would we have done without those drag queens? One year later, Gay Pride marches occurred in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles to commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall. That began the tradition of what we celebrate as Pride.
Today, Pride is celebrated the world over. You can find it in every big city from New York to Paris to Rio.
Each year, we reflect on how far we’ve come as a community, and how much further we need to travel down that path toward full equality.
The celebration of Pride is a time when all aspects of our community can come together as one. But Pride has a different meaning to many people.
The dichotomy that is Pride boils down to this: Is it a party or is it a protest? Generally speaking, the
answer to that question will depend on the age of the person responding.
Pride can, should and needs to be both! While we will most certainly fail if we attempt to be too many things to all people, we must certainly have a variety of activities that span the cross-section that is our community. This means not only dance parties and happy hours, but also educational and cultural events.
Gay society is changing. Pride celebrations need to reflect that. We are no longer confined to the gaybourhoods of Soho, Brighton, Vauxhall and Manchester. It can’t just be about “the scene”.
Many of us who grew up and came out more than a decade ago have a different take on what Pride should be than some who are now coming of age. That’s not to say one group is wrong or right.
Many of the younger generation look to Pride as a celebration — a party. And that’s fine. Those who are a little more “seasoned” often view Pride as a protest – perhaps aware of the riots in the US and other significant
issues in the UK including police brutality etc
It is extremely important that we show our youth, especially in small towns and throughout the UK and beyond that it does get better. Though we may face hardship and ridicule from our peers, we can become anything we dream of being.
Do we fck.
We all go out and get drunk, get drugged and get shagged.
The politics wore off a long time ago.
Do we fck.
We all go out and get drunk, get off our tits and get laid.
Oops. Sorry for the repost.
I thought the non-PC Mrs Whitehouse potty-mouth detector had caught me.
I will put my comment below as the first comment box seems to limit words…
I will put my comment below as the first comment box seems to limit words
I must say I enjoyed the article written, there are some valid points but while valid they only provide a short sighted synopsis of the LGBT issue in Britain.
First of all, contrary to belief we do not live in a full democracy. We live in a monarchy with parliamentary representation, in other words we have the toys but we play with them under adult supervision. We are not like Switzerland.
Secondly, there is life outside London and that life can be very dismal for working class LGBT persons (I wouldn’t bring in ’class’ unless I really felt it mattered) and the conclusions the author reaches are very LGB orientated but not T, I am not attacking the author when I say money and circumstance DOSE help you be accepted to some degree. After all your more likely to discriminate against a homeless gay man for being gay than a multi billon pound tycoon who is gay.
There is no transgender judges, no transvestite news presenters, none sit on children’s youth panels, none hold major positions in government. In fact the CPS tried to fire a prosecutor in England for coming out transgender, however she managed to sue them and keep her position. Unless you are a very convincing trans person (even then you can still be discriminated against see the miss world competition) or have a lot of money and clout you are resigned to the margins of society. I speak as somebody who volunteered at a CAB and was told not to come back two days after I announced I would come in female in case ‘I upset clients’. In fact there is a woman with HIV right now fired from a CAB in middle Sussex
simply for having HIV, you’d think under legislation this would be unlawful but its not, the government have given the pink man many guarantees but the small print invalidates them. The employment tribunal, county court and high court upheld the right of the CAB to ask her to leave. I will not bore you with the facts but this is being fought by top members of HM council in pro bono along with the same majesty’s equality commission in the supreme court on her behalf. You’d would think this was a stubborn judiciary that was slow to change and the supreme court will rule in her favour that the government would pull a few stings in the name of morality in fact the opposite is true. The home sectary who purports to crack down hard on homophobic crime is battling tooth and nail to uphold the CAB which is funded by the department of business, innovation and skills. And you thought they were independent.
You can read about this case which will be heard I the supreme court on September by searching for the case X v Mid Sussex CAB.
There is still much work to be done. Granted it is not the way it used to be when gay people could be arrested on the spot, yet I don’t see a fully accepted gay MP do you ? Last time I checked parliament called him a ‘ferry in a pantomime’ . I do agree immensely however that politicians, businessmen and the media have milked the LGBT we don’t need floats and money making gimmicks, in fact it is chasing the pink pound that is lead to gay people being kicked out of gay bars for appearing ’too camp’ but we are still not taken seriously, if you are honest. This is not our fault it is not our fault this happens it is society’s.
To give up civil disobedience, keep clam and carry on to make the country look as if its tolerant is wrong and dangerous. LGBT phobia may be off the street but its not really dead its just went underground.
The acid test is whether a gay or lesbian coupe can walk down their main street or their own street hand in hand without heads turning or lips pursing (let alone outright abuse or violence). Until this happens there is still a need for these annual Pride events. As someone with involvement in gay rights since 1965, I can say things have greatly improved but my acid test is still not passed. The Mach should be free, the party paid for. And my preference would be for less silly exhibitionism in the march and more of an attempt to engage with the half million bystanders. Yes let it be colourful and jolly but there’s no need to convey that we’re all into leather chains and non-stop sex. It is about relationships too.
Thanks for this article and your reporting. What you do is appreciated.
I posted it to my LGBT Group on LinkedIn to spur members to read your article and to make comment. I also scooped it at Scoop.It on my LGBT Times news mashup.
Link to group >> http://www.linkedin.com/groups/LGBT-Gay-GLBT-Professional-Network-63687/about
All LGBT+ and community allies…. please come join me and 14,500+ of your soon to be great friends on LinkedIn. The member base represents 80% of the world’s countries. As well as the down stream in my LInkedIn personal connections that reach over 22 million potential live stream viewers on LinkedIn.
The group is strictly professional office friendly dialog, posting and profiles / profile images. I’ve been told by many that it may well be one of the best run / managed groups on LinkedIn.
You can be as out or private as you like and I provide instructions on how to set those preferences.
Im young and white, so im totally clueless about pride. What is it for exactly? And how does all the semi nudity and drag shows help to achieve it?
Why does being young and white matter?
Why are you bothered about semi nudity or drag? Would you wish to restrict this freedom of expression because of your own sensitivites?
I wish I knew the answer.
Seems to me that either the people writing these articles all live in a city like London or live in a “performing arts or creative bubble”. Equality is not won in the UK, the political support does not rech much outside of metropolitan areas and does not extend its arm into the schools even within those areas. What the parades do is show is solidarity to those whose local community or family are homophobic which for all intensive purposes is just as rife as its ever been.
Coming from South Africa I tend to agree, we have complete legal equality but the society needs to catch up with the law. The problem is that gay pride parades are hampering this. The impression is that gays are sex obsessed disobedient individuals.
I recently realised my sexual preferences and have simply got on with it – I told my family and friends I would be dating guys then when I fell in love with a guy I spoke openly in the office of my boyfriend. Absolutely no one has an issue but people privately do say, oh but why aren’t you effeminate? Do you sleep around etc. It’s pretty sad but the eccentric gay came out first because well it’s in their personality to be front of the crowd now it’s time for the rest of us just day to day guys to come out in our daily lives and teach others that ANYONE can be gay, and this is what pride should be about.