At the beginning of the Pride Parade in London a glorious menagerie of corporations will thunder down the road and declare that they are LGB(TQ) friendly, and also won’t you please buy are products, and also will you ignore their ethics because look everything is rainbows!
Pride is a commodification of an important riot and the beginning of a struggle for LGBTQ rights that even with the historic US Supreme Court ruling in favour of equal marriage on Friday, is nowhere near finished. Here in the UK trans individuals need their spouses signature to legally change gender or their marriage is dissolve, and around the continent are routinely sterilised against their will. Equal marriage we do not quite yet have, even before we discuss all the other issues that are yet to be properly fought.
Pride in London has issues, inviting UKIP despite the large presence of individuals who the organisation actively fights against, meaning that many of those in charge were initially quite willing to make a celebration feel like a hostile place for LGBTQ BAME individuals and especially for LGBTQ immigrants who constantly have to validate their place in British society. There are major LGBTQ organisations for whom sometimes the B and especially the T and often the Q is considered not important. And then we have individuals themselves, who think that equal marriage is the end of all issues, and that #LoveWins, even though frequently love often is not as important as wealth, privilege and connections in navigating oppressive structures. I will not start on allies who centre the discussion and celebration on them.
Alternatives to Pride are vital to continuing that revolutionary spirit of Stonewall. Mainstream Pride however has its place in creating a large environment where young queers (some at least) will fit in and be surrounded by people celebrating their existence. There are flaws that desperately need to be sorted out, but I don’t believe it is a sunk ship yet; it tells people that if they can be treated by the wider world as if they are a sin, they might as well also adopt the sin of Pride.
So I will critique it to save it, but for today I will be turning up and embracing all the joy of the moment while I can.