We need to talk about how we celebrate Pride Month
In October of 2018, I attended a rally in the center of Chapman University’s campus to protest Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. “No Justice, No Seat!” I remember the cheers, the open mic where I casually announced my sexuality. I remember the scared faces of all the people who would be affected by Kavanaugh’s appointment. The Panther reported that there were over 300 people in attendance at the rally on Oct. 10.
At the end of October, a similar rally was held. This protest was an act of defiance against the Trump administration after it announced that it would consider defining gender as a biological condition determined by genitalia at birth, eliminating federal recognition of the 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender. Only at this rally, less than 50 people were in attendance.
Yet, I’ve seen your Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, rainbow outfits out in WeHo for Pride. To all my cisgender-heterosexual friends, we need to talk about celebrating Pride Month.
Being queer is more than just rainbows. Queer culture is beautiful, but now it’s also hip and trendy. Do you slay? Is your face beat to the gods? Can’t stop saying, “And I Oop!”? Congratulations, you’ve adopted queer vernacular. Do you love “Ru Paul’s Drag Race?” Do you have FOMO scrolling past photos of your queer friends at Pride?
Pride Month has suffered from the commercialization of the celebration. All your favorite brands have changed their backgrounds to a rainbow. Straight celebrities like Mariah Carey can be seen selling pride merch. But Pride is more than just a big party in the streets. It marks the anniversary of Stonewall, where Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender woman, was literally throwing bricks at cops. Pride Month is a celebration of queer people of our past, present, and future.
It is not about you.
I understand how straight people end up at Pride. You might be there to support your queer friends. You might be there to support a family member. Maybe your partner is attracted to more than one gender and to the naked (and uninformed) eye, your relationship appears to be a straight one. But I often find myself asking, what are you doing for the other 11 months out of the year? It’s easy to show up to a Kavanaugh rally. Every woman, every LGBTQIA+ person, anyone who’s ever been a victim of sexual violence — it’s easy to show up for ourselves. But when trans people ask for our help, we turn our backs on them.
Are you donating to organizations that help LGBTQIA+ people? Are you attending rallies to fight for our rights? Are you consistently involved in supporting the community outside of a Facebook post, or a cute photo for your Instagram? Is your allyship more than just… a performance?
If the answers to these questions are no, it’s time to work on your allyship. Let queer people celebrate themselves. Be in the background for once. You can support your loved ones. But let us have our month, or just stay home.
Originally published at https://www.oliviahardenportfolio.com on June 24, 2019.