Words by Natalie 20 VIC
“We get it, you’re gay! You don’t need to keep telling us about it! I don’t see why you need a WHOLE MONTH just to talk about the fact that you’re gay. Seems unnecessary to me.”
I remember that this was the rhetoric I had been hearing all of June in regard to the LGBTI+ community celebrating pride. As 2019 draws to a close and the 25th anniversary of the Pride March in Victoria is just around the corner in February, I can already hear the comments creeping back.
“Why do you even need Pride? You already have ‘gay marriage’.”
“Why do you gays get a whole month? I want Straight Pride!”
This rhetoric is among 100 other irrelevant arguments against a celebration of the LGBT+ community’s continued existence. But ‘Straight Pride’ this is the one, that for lack of a better word, I find absolutely fucking stupid.
We celebrate Pride month to honour those who have fought for decades to have basic human rights, the history of the community and the advances we’ve made from then to now.
There is a reason Pride began – it celebrates the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which occurred in late June 1969 in New York City. The Stonewall Inn was an LGBT+ bar where the community could go and share a drink together despite the laws that were enforced to inhibit queer people gathering together. During the very early hours of June 28 in 1969, New York City police raided Stonewall and dragged patrons from the venue. Raiding LGBT+ spaces was not uncommon for the time, but the community fighting back against law enforcement was. Riots ensued for the following weeks and the community demanded change. They wanted equal rights.
Pride isn’t just a party where people get dressed up and covered in glitter. It was and always will be a protest for the rights of the LGBT+ community. When organisations and celebrities support pride it isn’t making a political statement but making a community visible. By displaying a rainbow, you can show support to those who are closeted, especially for those whose mental health has suffered due to homophobia and transphobia.
The fight isn’t over. We’re still protesting for our basic human rights. The rights that straight people have always had.
When the entire country and every politician is allowed to drag your identity through the mud and debate your very existence for the sake of ‘politics,’ then you can have a pride month.
When you are refused treatment from health practitioners due to the fact that you’re trans, then you can have a pride month.
When you are walking down the street with your partner holding hands and you get beaten up for it, then you can have a pride month.
When you, a female queer couple, get attacked on a bus for refusing to kiss for the appeasement of men, then you can have a pride month.
When your community has been refused the right BY LAW to exist, then you can have a pride month.
When you and people like you, are murdered because of your identity, then, you can have a pride month.
There was an amazing analogy that explains my feelings towards those feeling discriminated against for not having a Straight Pride. I can’t recall who posted it but it goes as such:
The people who think that we need a ‘Straight Pride,’ are the same people who look at a disabled parking spot and wonder “why don’t I have something like that for ME?”
Those people don’t care why those spaces exist, they don’t care they get the entire car park, they’re just mad that those few spaces aren’t just for them.
Be proud that you have never had to fight for a Pride month, that you’ve never had to protest to be recognised as a human being. Because that – is what pride is.