Comment: Another year, another Pride, another hangover
For many of us waking up the next morning, any sense of pride has disappeared long ago in a heady mix of sunshine, cheap cocktails, and naked flesh.
This is something to celebrate. A hangover fades much quicker than the scars of those brave enough to march the streets of Moscow, Riga or Warsaw.
At the same time I cannot help thinking that Pride has the potential to mean something more to more people than just a nice day out once a year.
Today young gay and lesbian people often care passionately about their rights, their freedoms, and are often more clued-up than they are given credit for on the history of the gay rights movement.
Yet they do not feel much affinity or understanding of Pride. In a fast-moving world, Pride cannot stand still and expect to people to engage out of duty.
It must make than active engagers rather than passive onlookers.
It does not have to be a highly charged political event, but it needs a stronger, clearer message to resonate with more with the younger generation of gays and lesbians.
It is not their fault for not engaging, it is the fault of the Pride movement for in many cases failing to communicate a message or a theme that resonates with them.
Is it a political rally, is it a party, does it mean anything at all? I do not think these questions are asked enough, or certainly rarely answered.
Pride is the gays’ big day. Whether it was the intention of the pioneers of the movement, it has become a strong brand that has the power to engage young people, and to reach out beyond the community.
In a world where people, gay and straight, are bombarded with competing causes and campaigns, Pride needs to be clearer about what it stands for and define their messaging more carefully, and then communicate this a gay and straight audience.
Sao Paulo Pride this month took on a broad theme of fighting homophobia, racism and sexism to appeal beyond its core audience.
A theme, whether universal like this one or highlighting a specific issue in the gay rights movement, provides a focus for communications whether this is directly to those attending or through the media.
Taking a step back from the day-to-day to identify a theme and build a set of messages is what companies and organisations do all the time.
Pride should do this more and use it as an opportunity to bring the community together, and make the “community” something real for everyone and not the preserve of activists.
At the moment Pride is too passive. It must get out there and tell a story, just like any cause.
If it does that I think it will attract more active participation and do more to build the community, bringing young and old together.
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To do that it should start a conversation about what Pride does mean, and what it should mean in the future.
An honest debate would be healthy. It might mean we can identify more with what the festival is about, and not just attend in a passive just because we always do.
This is not meant to be a criticism or attack on anyone involved in Pride. There is too much of that within the movement.
The scenes in Eastern Europe show that it can mean something and is a powerful force for change, and we need to recapture that spirit.
That doesn’t mean a return to the days of protest, but to decide what Pride means and communicating that more effectively.
Eddy Evans is a British media professional currently working in the USA. He got his hangover at Washington DC Pride.