Legitimizing Pride

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    Jun 09, 2008 9:30 PM GMT
    In response to this thread questioning Pride I thought I'd start a debate on why Pride is *necessary* and *a good thing*. Here are some thoughts to kick it off from my admittedly infrequent blog.

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    Pride celebrations are sometimes regarded by LGBT people as superfluous or, worse, somehow counterproductive. To what? To the legitimationist project of integration and broad conformity with the institutions of wider society. In its strongest form, their argument is this: LGBT people are already scattered randomly throughout the human race in all social strata and in every occupation. They have demonstrated, even in institutions such as the military, the same professionalism and commitment to society that other people have, and so they ought to be accorded the same privileges as everyone else, the implied contract being that they have to maintain the same responsibilities.

    The festival is misconceived by them as a liberationist piece of theater, perhaps an attempt to recapture the spirit of the Stonewall riots, an act of defiance or even hedonism. It has been represented as so by sections of the media. To characterise it thus is nonetheless to ignore the effervescence and then equally swift evanescence of dramatic protest: once the point is made, only something more outrageous can upstage it. If Pride were that, why is the purportedly Foucauldian petard hoist year after year? Why does it gain in strength with time, with new celebrations in places long ago inconceivable, and not die out as all other liberationist projects seem to have done?

    Even arguing from within their frame of reference, the failures of projects such as the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell debacle ought to be apparent to legitimationists, and the consequent paradox at the heart of their ideology manifest: if every LGBT person is expected to be undifferentiated from society, the political grassroots to pursue the goal of equality is non-existent. Pride is the start to claiming genuine political power because it uniquely crosses gender, race and class; it is uniquely open to any participant at any level from those who come to those who want to march, to those who want to help organize it.

    There is therefore more to Pride than the dogma of the liberationist/legitimationist dichotomy. It is fundamentally a human event, a celebration of what in South Africa would be called Ubuntu–we are who we are because of our society–and I suspect that the majority of people go for the most human of reasons: so there are others like me. Personal beliefs, history and preferences are unquestioned, and legitimationists are most welcome. Perhaps they ought to contemplate whether the norms that they would have us all conform to are founded on such a laudable basis.
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    Jun 09, 2008 9:37 PM GMT
    I think the legitimacy of Pride can be summed up in one sentence: We come together publicly so that other gay people know we exist and straight people know we aren't willing to hide.
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    Jun 09, 2008 10:17 PM GMT
    Eloquent, TigerTim, as usual. You pretty much rock.

    To add my coupla cents: the media will always focus on the spectacle and pageantry of a Pride celebration, no matter how small an element of the celebration it actually is, because that's the latently homophobic stereotypical representation of what the LGBT community is. What the media and public choose to see of Pride festivities is more reflective of the public climate than it is of us. When the media starts looking at the entirety of the Pride atmosphere -- the good and the bad, the tasteful and the crude -- that's when Pride festivals and parades have accomplished their goals.

    In a way, then, Pride festivals and their public reception are a good way for us to measure how effectively we've changed public perception of the community the other 364 days of the year.
  • NickoftheNort...

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    Jun 09, 2008 10:23 PM GMT
    Pride serves as a counterpoint to the shame prescribed to us by an apparent (though possibly inflated) majority of human societies and social structures. Much of our world deems us unnatural, unwholesome, and a threat to good human order.

    Pride serves two major purposes for me: 1) through it, we express ourselves as beacons for more among us to gather, and 2) we invoke a direct command to our human world: listen (more specifically, listen to us).

    Through Pride festivals, we scream at those who would deny, closet, or kill us. We also scream at those who ignore or overlook the suffering of our brethren, particularly in places where the persecution against is more vile.

    For those who haven't noticed, please take a look at the struggle currently in place in the Baltic states and Russia and how our brethren there still struggle to merely hold a simple rally. Pride is a reminder of vigilance and of the yet unfulfilled promise of our acceptance and respect by our own humankind.
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    Jun 09, 2008 10:35 PM GMT
    NickoftheNorth saidFor those who haven't noticed, please take a look at the struggle currently in place in the Baltic states and Russia and how our brethren there still struggle to merely hold a simple rally. Pride is a reminder of vigilance and of the yet unfulfilled promise of our acceptance and respect by our own humankind.


    We don't even have to look that far afield. Ask anyone living in Smalltown America why their local community doesn't have a Pride celebration and it becomes abundantly clear that the struggle continues even here.
  • MikePhilPerez

    Posts: 4357

    Jun 09, 2008 11:20 PM GMT
    Can I ask this question? Are there not gay reporters involved in the national media that would give the whole picture rather than just the negative?
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    Jun 09, 2008 11:27 PM GMT
    TigerTim has a blog! With an RSS feed! yippy skippy!

    MikePhil saidCan I ask this question? Are there not gay reporters involved in the national media that would give the whole picture rather than just the negative?


    yes. It is just too bad that house frau's in Nebraska don't read the Advocate. The sexuality of a reporter is irrelevant. Main stream media is all about making money and inclusive touchy feely diversity crap doesn't sell papers like sensationalist photos of go-go dancers on a float.
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    Jun 09, 2008 11:38 PM GMT
    An interesting blog TigerTim. IDK about big American cities, but pride in Toronto has evolved over the years becoming less interested in politics and equality (it started in 1981 following the police raids on bathhouses) and more on visibility and having a good time.

    Part of that is due to the passing of the AIDS crisis from life or death struggle to a difficult but manageable disease. Another reason is gays can now marry in Canada, so that struggle is no longer there. Also, as pride has grown corporate sponsors have started realizing how much money is to be made selling liquor, food and consumer goods.

    The party/celebration aspect of pride has brought the heteros out in droves. There a lot of straight guys who are there to get a glimpse of women's bare breasts (they are not disappointed). I am not sure how to explain the young couples with dogs and baby carriages though!

    I personally don't get as excited with pride as I once did (this will be my 22nd Toronto pride in a few weeks). The older I get the less patient I am with big crowds, and the bars are impossibly crowded, but I would strongly encourage any young gay man to go this year. Play safe, party hard and have a good time. With any luck you will meet some interesting new gay men.
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    Jun 09, 2008 11:52 PM GMT
    Ah well, maybe if I was more political I would understand, or if I cared what strangers thought of me.

    I share Robis' perspective. It's just a statement that you aren't going to be cowed, and so you make it flamboyant. It's the same thing when someone tells me not to do something, I do it quicker and with more zeal than if I hadn't been challenged.

    Human event. Any social gathering is a human event. Undifferentiated. Individuality is a defining trait for Americans, but there is also a thread of ideology that one must share in some part to be considered a member of any culture.

    I don't understand Gay Pride construed as anything other than a statement of defiance. 'We're not going to hide.'
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    Jun 10, 2008 12:04 AM GMT
    MZombieTigerTim has a blog! With an RSS feed! yippy skippy!


    Wheeeee! Lookit what I found on Le Monde du Tigre

    http://lemondedutigre.blogspot.com/2008/05/lolcatz-that-didnt-want-to-live.html


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    Jun 10, 2008 12:10 AM GMT
    obscenewish saidWheeeee! Lookit what I found on Le Monde du Tigre

    http://lemondedutigre.blogspot.com/2008/05/lolcatz-that-didnt-want-to-live.html




    Let he who has never posted an LOLcat cast the first stone. icon_biggrin.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 10, 2008 2:31 AM GMT
    Wikipedia-Freedom of AssemblyFreedom of assembly, sometimes used interchangably with the freedom of association, is the individual right to come together with other individuals and collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests.[1] The right to freedom of association in recognised as human right, political freedom and a civil liberty.
    I think if you step back and question WHY internationally this principle is so universally stressed as a fundamental human right for people to assemble you will come up with many of many reasons that "pride" celebrations are good or important.

    What is a right if not something worth expressing and asserting. It is a natural extension of freedom. So a pride celebration is both an assertion that gays should be able be who they are, AND a celebration that we do have this right to openly express who we are. It is a protest and celebration at the same time.

    In the U.S. we claim a "melting pot" where all cultures and creeds are accepted on the basis of tolerance and the notion that we can live for "Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness". Well pride is just a microcosm of that. If you want to live in a place where diversity and tolerance are prescribed and necessary, why would you not expect a "gay festival"