After buying my latest Pride T-shirt from Primark in Madrid’s Gran Via location, my friend and I sat down at a “fast sushi” place and talked about the meaning of Pride worldwide. Over California rolls and tempura everything else, we chatted about the commercialism of Pride, the “watering down” of what it means to be queer, along with what we’ve lost in an era where, in some spaces, queer is just another costume people throw on (then discard) to become cool.
I never knew that last bit was a thing, by the way. There are actually people who just pretend to be gay for cool points? I bet they don’t stay around for the “harass the gay” portion of the fun though.
At the end of the discussion, we didn’t come to any great agreements but it was still good to be able to break down Pride beyond the cost of my groovy shirt, to disagree about methods of gaining wider community acceptance, and still both be glad that Pride exists in the places that it does.
One thing my friend and I could agree on was that Pride is not perfect. Parades are still spaces where the straights come to gawk and where certain gays are only “gay” once a year. Still it’s wonderful to see all those beautiful flags, proud queers of all stripes, and the galvanized young people on the wide avenues of Madrid. Whether here or Atlanta or New York or Paris, we are truly lucky.
In many parts of the world, the people of the LGBTQIA community don’t have this liberty. The government of Turkey, for the fourth year in a row, has ruled pride celebrations illegal. In an effort to enforce this ban, the brave marchers in the Istanbul parade have been “detained” by police as well as assaulted with tear-gas. My heart is with them and everyone else struggling for basic human rights here, the US, and in the rest of this world of ours.