I got into a nasty argument with a friend of mine, who was basically screaming at me for joining the “crowd of stupid, crazy people that get naked and have sex in the middle of the city”. Seriously.
Just FYI, I’ve never seen anyone publicly have sex during pride. Neither did he. He just doesn’t like pride celebrations, so he used every stupid argument he could think of to justify that.
His whole angry rant could be summed up like this: we shouldn’t celebrate, because there’s nothing to celebrate. Nothing, really?
Sure, it’s still not a fairy tale for many gays around the world. Not only in places like Uganda or Saudi Arabia, where those innocent people are being prosecuted, jailed or tortured, not only in places like Poland or Ukraine where they’re not getting any official recognition and are facing homophobic society. Even in the countries with full marriage equality, there’s always more to do. There are some anti-discrimination laws missing, the situation of trans people could be way better, etc. etc.
But let me ask you this – if you won a silver medal at the Olympics, would you really think there’s no reason to celebrate? Of course it could have been the gold one, but it’s still an amazing accomplishment! You certainly deserved to party, to celebrate, to have fun! And the next week you’ll start training even harder than before, to get the gold medal in four years.
And exactly the same goes for the LGBTQ issues. Our community should be proud of what we have accomplished! Even the fact itself, that we can go out on the streets, all in rainbows, half-naked, without fear, holding hand with our partners – is amazing and totally a reason to celebrate! And it doesn’t conflict at all with still fighting our fight for equality. We can have some drunk fun on Saturday, but organise a demonstration for anti-discrimination laws in front of the Parliament on Monday.
Even better, we fight our fight during pride. Yesterday and today I visited the SchwuLesBisches Stadtfest in Berlin with my fiancé and some friends. It’s a huge fest in the gay village, where many organisations, companies and political parties put out their stands to promote their agendas, point out issues, collect money for charities etc. etc. One stand will sell you booze and play loud techno music, while the other will collect funds to help gay refugees. One will sell some hardcode BDSM-related art, while the other will educate about the STDs. Those approaches don’t contradict each other at all.
“Gay” means “joyful”. And being joyful is better than constant martyrdom. Yes, we do have job to do. But also: we already have done an amazing job. Let’s celebrate that!