Has Pride lost its meaning? After the recent Joburg pride debacle, I’m starting to wonder.
For those who missed it, a group of (Black) feminists blocked the procession and demanded a minute of silence for Black lesbians and transgendered victims of hate crimes.
I’ve written about my own experience at Cape Town Pride (check out the “Gender and Sexuality” category and go way down to earlier this year) and I am starting to worry about the community.
Being part of the LESBIAN GAY BISEXUAL TRANSGENDERED INTER SEXED QUESTIONING ASEXUAL (LGBTIQA) acronym makes you an activist whether you like it or not. It is my opinion that, as long as you are alive, you should be standing up in your own way.
Is it possible to separate the personal from the political? I think not.
Last year I met someone from a University in Johannesburg who told me that they try to balance it out by hosting parties and signing members up at the events. This is a good idea, however, if the members actually come back for the not-so-fun bits is the question. They usually don’t, not en masse at least.
I believe that one must never care what others think, however, is the image of the gyrating man on a float, oiled up and in thong the only image we want of a community comprised of so much more?
Have we lost the message? Is there even a message anymore? Did CT Pride have a message?Is it even possible to balance the political and serious aspects of this world with the partying and celebration?
Many people I know who despise Pride still attend bars and clubs and live this side of their LGBTIQA selves. Does this make them hypocrites or do they then just not have Gay Pride per se? Like I always say, to each their own.
To me there is still great untapped potential in the idea of a celebration and herding everyone together to show that we are here. However when it becomes a cattle call of the hottest and fittest of the herd, then we start losing the plot.
Whatever happened to unity?
Some of us are living great lives, far from the hate crimes that others experience, so why bother? That is the exact sentiment that I get from people who claim to be out and proud. But what happens when it happens in your backyard? When a friend or family member gets hurt or killed for being what they are, does it become your problem then?
This was the issue that many feel the JHB Pride committee is still not getting. Until we are all free and equal, there will always be a struggle.
For a more comprehensive view on the event, check out this link:
And furthermore, for writers and bloggers, here’s a lesson. Always do it before others get the chance to. As I wrote this post this past week, the Director of the Unit where I volunteer posted this quote. I don’t mind though. You can see where I earned my wings! This is the quote via FaceBook:
Gender Equity Unit director, Mary Hames:”It is with deep shock that I have read and heard about the Johannesburg Pride (?). Pride has always been a political movement. When Bev Ditsie and Simon Nkoli organised the first Johannesburg Pride it was done out strong political belief and when Theresa Raizenberg and Midi Achmat organised the Cape Town Pride march it was because they were influenced by the Johannesburg one. The personal is political. I applaud the bravery of the 1 in 9 Campaign. There is indeed a consistency in the demands of the campaign. Aluta Continua. Stop the neoliberal behaviour.”