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Is LGBT Pride Still Significant Nowadays?

LGBT Community Members Share Their Opinions

June 2010

Thomas DeLorenzo

Thomas DeLorenzo, Publicist, Rising Law Student and TheBody.com Blogger, Los Angeles, Calif.

In spite of the fact that Will and Grace reruns are in heavy rotation on Lifetime, and the ABC prime-time lineup loves to include gay couples, Pride is relevant now more than ever. We must always take a moment to reflect on the struggles of the past, and thank those that fought them for us. We must also thank our brothers and sisters with HIV that literally fought on the front lines so that we would be able to have our lifesaving drugs. Pride is never over. Pride is never irrelevant. LGBT Pride is our own 4th of July. Like that holiday, we must celebrate it every year and make sure that the future generations of LGBT individuals never forget what life was like before gay made prime time.

Johnny Jesus Guaylupo

Johnny Jesus Guaylupo, Intake/Outreach Coordinator, Housing Works, Bronx, N.Y.

Pride is definitely relevant in 2010. But is AIDS still the first thing in the agenda? I personally feel that AIDS has dropped down on the list in the agenda that many queers before fought so hard to put on the list from the start. We are celebrating pride and in the news we are hearing so much about "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) and marriage equality as the main two issues to work on. Many gays have forgotten that AIDS is still here and the numbers are not dropping. Yes, we have better medication than before, and yes, people are living longer. But you must ask yourself did the rate of new infections drop? No, it has not; in fact, it has increased in young men who have sex with men (YMSM). We still have people dying from an AIDS-related illness. So, why is AIDS not the first in your agenda?

Antionettea Etienne

Antionettea Etienne, Case Manager, Iris House, New York, N.Y.

The purpose of Pride today is to reinforce the needs to accept, respect and work with LGBT people on a daily basis. It is not our sexual orientation that we bring to the table, but the knowledge and skills that we possess to continue to make our world a better place. We are within the throes of a new civil rights movement regarding LGBT communities. Why should the families we have not have the same rights as everyone else?

Savannah Hornback

Savannah Hornback, Transitions Program Coordinator, St. Ann's Corner of Harm Reduction, Bronx, N.Y.

I believe Pride is very much still relevant in the year of 2010, as a result of all that has happened in the LGBT community in the years leading up to gay Pride, both positive and negative.

Pride is a time for the community to put our differences aside and celebrate a small part of who we are. It is also a way of showing the world that we are here and continuing to grow. We are humans just like our non-LGBT counterparts and deserve the same rights as they do. GAY rights are human rights -- we do not ask for special rights, just simple rights that should be a given in this country.

Gay Pride is a way for the community to stand, unite and fight for those who do not have a voice in other countries where homosexuality is against the law. People have to understand that Pride is a deep word, and that they have to search in their souls for what that word means to them.

Pride is more than just COMING OUT; Pride to me is knowing that who I am in regards to my sexual preference or gender identity is OK and that I don't have to hide behind anyone's closet door to be a successful and productive member of society.

fogcityjohn

Fogcityjohn, Attorney and TheBody.com Blogger, San Francisco, Calif.

Pride celebrations remain as necessary today as they have ever been. The meager progress on issues vital to the GLBT community from our Democratic president and Democratic Congress shows that it's critically important that we remain not only proud, but out and loud. So let's all resolve to make enough noise this June that even Washington, D.C., will hear us.

Batik Belle

Batik Belle, Washington, D.C.

My first Pride, I wore a different color of the rainbow each week. So I could be proud, but not so loud that my church, or my father, could hear. And I couldn't get into any of the clubs, but I was outside them. And I didn't feel alone. And while as an adult everyone complains about its relevance, I think it's nice to have a reason for people to come together in different cities and CELEBRATE each other. More work (outside of parties, and promoters making their extra change) needs to be done, but that's just across the board, huh?

Mik Kinkead

Mik Kinkead, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pride is an opportunity to make sure everyone in our communities and our allies can see the amazing survival, endurance and growth of our homeless LGBTQ youth communities. As someone whose life is intimately connected to this issue, I am always proud to march with the young people whose voices and needs are so often ignored or silenced when we discuss the rights and civil needs of our communities. In the midst of beer floats and Fortune 500 companies, these young people hold true to the spirit of Stonewall and the true meaning of marching for visibility and celebration. As our Pride Parades turn quickly towards an assimilationist paradise, the visibility of those in our community who are least respected gives me energy to continue working toward social justice every day.

Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett, Jersey City, N.J.

I feel that Pride can maintain relevance if we keep our hearts open. If we can strive to ask our LGBTQ community: What is missing? How can we be more informed? What is at risk? How can I be more compassionate?

The LGBTQ community is broad and diverse, but are all of our needs addressed? Are all of our voices brought to the table? I don't think so. I dare us to challenge ourselves not just during Pride, but as a daily practice. We have to do this if we want happiness for ourselves as queer people. We have to be committed to one another, not tolerate harm or any imbalance of power among us.
Devin Reed

Devin Reed, Tucson, Ariz.

The purpose of Pride celebrations should be to showcase what we LGBT folks do for the community. It would be nice to be able to invite more families of both the gay and straight communities to take part in what I would like to see as more of a diversity festival. I think many in the LGBT community do enough partying on their own time, and these Pride celebrations should be more of a way to highlight the good of the LGBT community. In other words, more education and booths on LGBT businesses and organizations, and less leather-studded men, booze and dirty dancing.

Pamela Neely

Pamela Neely, Co-Director, Nassau Inmate Advocacy Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Pride is still as necessary today as it was years ago. I have seen such positive changes in the way we are all received. We have opened so many doors for our sisters who are coming behind us. Pride is one of the most AWESOME events we have each year.

Mercedes Gibson

Mercedes Gibson, Program Assistant, Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center, Oakland, Calif.

Yes, I do still think Pride is relevant, especially for the youth coming up and coming out (or not). However, I think what is NOT relevant is always having Pride the same way for the same communities year after year.

Example: For years and years here in the Bay Area, it's been all about San Francisco Pride. That's cool, but what about Oakland? We got gays up the yin yang. Only recently has the city or whoever recognized that, and now we have an Oakland Pride and Dyke March. And hopefully we can get a Trans March too.

Pride is only relevant when communities are not made invisible by the events themselves. That means differently-abled folks, black folks, poor folks, Oakland folks, all folks!

Scott Simpson

Scott Simpson, Triathlete and TheBody.com Blogger, Toronto, Ontario

To make life easier for LGBT peeps -- now, tomorrow, forever. For each day respect, pride and progress we reap -- now, tomorrow, forever.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: Dr.WIL (Sacramento, CA) Wed., Jun. 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm EDT
Sorry to say I have to agree too with Christopher (Dover, DE) and last weekends Sacramento PRIDE was something that did not make me too proud to be gay.
Between the clowns in Nun Habits, way too many drunks, sex in the johns, boob-flashing, TV media and other public video cameras and booths that showed the negative sides (to the public) of the community all done on the grounds of the state Capitol with many straight & religious out of town, state and country visitors and the $10.00 entrance fee - I just must say they put on a really good show of what the whole LGBT community is turning into.
Kind of made me, my partner and friends sick inside thinking that people see this stuff and think we are all like that.
We decided then and there that would be the last time we attend Sacramento's PRIDE events that really show little to be proud of.
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Comment by: Christopher (Dover, DE) Tue., Jun. 22, 2010 at 12:45 pm EDT
Pride used to mean something when the gay, lesbian and trans folks got together to network, renew enthusiasms and become educated about issues affecting progress towards equality. Now, sadly, I see a big booze fest, sponsored by lube makers and a large fee to enter the festivities. No one seriously talks except to bash. Even issues like marriage equality are ignored, and it is near impossible to raise interest. It seems that since there are so many 'public' out gay folks, (Ellen, Neil Patrick, Chastity) that everyone thinks we are mainstream. We are not. We get fired from jobs, lose our housing, get bashed outside of clubs, get bullied at schools. Yet, pride is now party. The world sees the drag queens still on the floats and thinks that is who we are. I suspect if you asked most gay people who thier congresspersons were, who thier senators are and who wields the power over thier lives they would be hard pressed to answer. Until we become politically involved, we can only expect the condition of the people at pride will slowly deteriorate. Pride needs to be more than one day a year--it needs action every day of the year. Pride is not something you get from a festival or parade, it is what you get when you accomplish positive changes for yourself and others and improve the condition of all of us.
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Comment by: Jack (Chicaog, Il) Tue., Jun. 15, 2010 at 8:50 am EDT
Pride is knowing who you are not not willing ever to compromise your idenitly! Your sexual oreintation should not matter to your family,freidns or your employer. You are who you are! Like me or dislike me. Would you stop liking a friend because they changed their hair color? NO. So why should a persons sexual orientation make one bit of differance.

As a man now 48 and living with HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years. I know what true love is from your partner, family and friends. I also know what hate is all too well. If youare not willing ot accept the person that I am then I have not time for you.

Pride is beleiving in yourself and loving yourself and allowing others to love you also. Pride is always holding your head up high! You deserve respect, and love just like eveyone else does. Pride should be everyday. not just one sunday a year.

Have pride in who you are and what you do in this world.

That is what pride means to me
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Comment by: Sab (Ontario, CANADA) Mon., Jun. 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm EDT
I agree with Devin. As a queer person dwelling in a christian household that is in a town in which a gay community does not exist, for many years Pride just seemed like a huge LGBTI party weekend; It never once showcased the struggles queer people face or the lack of rights they need to have. All I got out of it was that they are doing fine, happy as can be. It needs to have a more serious front if it is to be taken seriously by those ignorant of the community.
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Comment by: Jarrell (Reston, VA) Fri., Jun. 4, 2010 at 10:19 am EDT
Pride is still important because there is still a push among many religious organizations to dehumanize LGBT people, or to simply say being gay is no worse than any other sin. So the most positive message most of them can bring is 'Yes God loves you, but you're still messed up and need help.' Pride counteracts this imposed low self-esteem which leads to suicide, or to feel like lives have to be lived in the closet because of a constant feeling of shame. In a world where there was no oppression for sexual orientation or gender identity, we wouldn't need pride.
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Faces of Pride

Shawn A. "Capri'Quarius" BastianShawn A. "Capri'Quarius" Bastian

Shawn's sign: "The 5 IMPORTANT factors that I live by when it comes to what LGBT PRIDE means to me!"

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What's Your Opinion?
Do you celebrate LGBT Pride in your city or town?
Yes! I'm out there every year with my rainbows on.
No! I'm over it -- Pride is for tourists, politicians and the newly out.
I would, but there are no Pride events or celebrations in my area.
What's Pride?