Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pride and Politics: Why I'm still attending Seattle Pride #LGBT

The new rainbow shoe designs are out which means it’s officially Pride season!

This year is off to an interesting start with corporate politics hogging the spotlight.  L.A. Pride is threatening to drop the LGBT and reimage their event as a music festival complete with higher ticket prices. Seattle just signed an exclusive deal with a corporate sponsor that bans all competitors from participating.

Some people are threatening to boycott the events, annoyed by the politics that have nothing to do with equality. Others saw this coming; the inevitable conclusion of parades that stopped being about equality a long time ago. They’re about product positioning, publicity, and the struggle to fund events this extravagant. 

Despite the drama over sponsors and corporate politics (Let's be honest, our community thrives on drama), I still plan to attend Pride this year. Let me explain why.

The year before last I was at Seattle Pride. (I alternate between Seattle and Vancouver). I went alone that year because you know how it is when you try to coordinate with friends sometimes. If you wait for the timing to work, you never go anywhere! Since I’m not intimidated by hordes of strangers, it isn’t a big deal for me to go stag.

Sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for the parade to begin, I met a young man. It was his first year at Pride, and he was trying to see it all on his lunch break. I invited him to sit down, and we started talking. Like most LGBTs, his path to understanding who he was and how he felt about it meandered through several stages. He suspected he’d found his real identity. That afternoon, on the sidewalk next to me, was the first time he’d ever said it aloud to anyone. 

He was a transman. 

At some point, he would have to tell his family and his girlfriend that the lesbian thing didn’t really fit. It was more than that. In the meantime, he came to Pride to mingle with others like him and find the courage to tell a stranger.  

It was a great afternoon for both of us. The haters still walked the streets with bullhorns, damning us to their imaginary hell. Corporate sponsors professed loyalty most of them don’t express any other time of year. It didn’t matter. It was an amazing day.

That’s why I go. These kids don’t know about the politics and infighting. They don’t care about the money and floats. They need what we all needed at one point: the chance to feel included and speak their truth to people they hope will understand.

That moment never stops happening. Every generation discovers it anew. For me, that’s the reason for Pride.

" beautifully written."
Readers' Favorite

1 comment:

  1. Politics come into everything. Glad you are going.