Pride events. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will attend one during their life-time. But one question seems to enter my mind at certain times, as visitors to these events, have we lost the real vision of Pride?
I’m lucky enough to be a Director for a Pride event in the north east of England. I’ve been on the Board of Directors for three years, having joined as a volunteer during the early planning stages. I’ve seen the hard work that goes into these events, the dedication by volunteers, many of them doing it simply to give something back.
Dedication is one of the main reasons I’m still a part of such a cause. With the 2013 Pride season almost upon us I question what people really understand about a Pride event, and if people really appreciate how far the events have come, and why they were created in the first place.
In New York City, 1969, riots took place in the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar which catered to a marginalised group of people in the gay community such as transvestite, transgender and homeless young people. The Stonewall Riots signaled the beginning of the modern gay rights movement. It was the first time in modern history where a significant amount of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people resisted arrest, and the chance of change, began.
By the following year, New York City was at the forefront of the gay rights movement, producing the first event known as the Gay Liberation March. The first march was serious with an addition of fun, and was there to inspire the activist movement, a movement which nowadays has served to change attitudes as well as laws around the world, to make life for LGBT people easier, and more importantly, equal.
Not so long ago I sat in a meeting and answered a barrage of questions from the local community, as well as from organisations, and figures. One of the main questions that I struggled to answer was a question relating to a Pride event as young LGBT people may see more often – ‘a drunken day out’, as he described it.
I struggled to answer the question, because to many people, that’s exactly what the event is all about but, with such a positive event having been created, it makes me question why aren’t we celebrating our history, how far we’ve come, and what these events mean to us?
With more and more people expecting bigger events, bigger names, and a bigger party every year – but perhaps not offering more support to their local events – have we lost the real vision of Pride?