Complicated Feelings about Pride

Hello Friends, Family, and Fans,

I was raised by my mom. I saw my dad occasionally, and although he had an influence on my upbringing, he wasn’t a big one. My mom raised me and she was very much a hippy. One thing that she did, and I’m not sure it was intentional, was to instill a deep mistrust of those that have pride.

I’m sure the ADHD didn’t help. I was always asking people why, and they usually just got angry. Especially when I would question national, cultural, school, language, or sports pride. Screaming “We’re Number 1!” has always seemed silly to me. I have respect for those that came before me and for the fact that me and my country are more privileged than others, but I’d never classify that as pride.

I’m not completely sure what the feeling of pride in that sense is like. I feel proud of my accomplishments, I’m proud of my family, and I’m proud of my friends. I’m also oddly proud of people I’ve barely met but who I like. But that feeling is a warm feeling of joy and satisfaction at their success, not an all consuming emotion the way I’ve seen it in others. If someone I’m proud of does something bad, I’m disappointed, and if they turn to hate, I grieve for losing them.

The concept of pride as I’ve seen it around me and portrayed in fiction seems more like blind faith or fanatical devotion. Something that deeply disturbs me.

2021 Intersex-inclusive redesign of the Progress Pride Flag by Valentino Vecchietti

This month is Pride Month, and that is a completely different type of pride. One i can understand much better than the one that people will be showing July 1st.

As you might know, I’m bisexual, and I haven’t had the greatest interactions about it. Both straight and gay people have told me I was “confused”, that I should just admit to being gay, jumping on the bandwagon, or just trying to get attention. It took a long time for me to find friends I was comfortable around and I still don’t feel comfortable in 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces.

All that being said, the pride in Pride Month is a feeling of grim determination and joy that we as a community have survived despite the ever-present hate. The first pride parade was a riot and a demand for basic human rights. Despite all the advancements we’ve made, we still have a lot of work to do.

This month, filled with rainbow capitalism, remember that it’s still illegal to be gay in 64 countries and same sex marriages are recognized in only 32 countries. In Canada, the US, and England, laws have recently passed that prioritize the rights of parents over those of queer and trans youth. In the past year, Ottawa has had multiple protests, some in front of schools, demanding that same sex and trans not be mentioned in the classroom.

We have a long way to go, and as you watch the community celebrate, remember the Pride Month isn’t about an irrational love and devotion, it’s about survival.

Stay safe and be kind,