Do we really still need pride? It’s a question that I’ve seen people ask here and there every now and again, usually by people who view pride just as an excuse for a load of gay people to have a party, get drunk, and hook up with strangers. I’m not going to lie, they do kind of have a point, I definitely fall in to the ‘have fun, get drunk, hook up with strangers,’ category. But hey, I’m only 23 so I reckon it’s alright to have a little fun.
Despite the fact that it does feel like a party and a lot of fun, there is also something else special about it, something deeper. Originally it started as a protest, a fight for rights, and to be free from discrimination. A lot has changed since then, and equal rights has become a thing, gay people can marry, adopt, have a family and a life and just exist. Things are better right? So why on earth would people still need pride?
Just because the law has changed in the UK, and people’s attitudes have changed a great deal as well there is still bits of discrimination out there. I know I’ve ben lucky, everyone I know has been accepting of who I am, and I haven’t really faced any major harassment or discrimination.
Except perhaps for that time a guy called me a “f*cking dyke” in a gay bar because he was pissed that I didn’t want him filming me kissing another girl. No offense but if you want to film me kissing another girl then I want paying for that shit. I don’t go around filming straight people that I see kissing, because that would be weird, and I’d probably get arrested.
So yeah, I’ve been lucky, because if that’s the only harassment I’ve had in the 4 years I’ve been out I will take that. Not everyone I know has had it easy, I’ve heard stories of people getting kicked out of their house for being gay, of people with parents or grandparents that haven’t accepted them, people who have lost friends, people who have been bullied at school. I mean just this week there was a story on the news about a 9-year-old boy who killed himself after being bullied for being gay.
The biggest one that ever struck me was when I was at a convention for LGBT women, and one woman there couldn’t be in any photographs or videos because she couldn’t risk people she knew back home finding out that she was LGBT. It made me realise there’s a lot that I take for granted. Even in 2018 there were still anti-gay protesters outside of the pride event, something that I was unaware even fully existed.
We have better rights, sure. But there’s still a way to go. However, pride for me at least, is important because it allows me to meet up with a ridiculous number of other gay people and just talk, exchange stories (and occasionally saliva as well). It’s one thing I struggled with moving home, because at Uni I’d always surrounded myself with other gay people, people who just got things. Coming home I didn’t really have that anymore.
I’ve noticed it a lot more recently, when I’ve made friends with other gay people who don’t have that many gay friends and hearing them say “man, you don’t know how nice it is just to talk to someone who actually really gets it.” So being able to surround myself with other people who just get it for a weekend is something that’s special, something that means one heck of a lot to me. And to a lot of other people as well.
If I’m being honest I think that’s why most people I know go to pride. It’s one of the main reasons I know I go to pride, well other than to get drunk and hook up with strangers of course.
P.s. Dear anti-gay protesters, if all the gays are going to hell I can live with that, it will be one hell of a pride party down there.