I believe that Gay Pride Celebrations are still relevant today and will not be an out-dated concept until there is true equality and one’s sexual preference and identity does not matter; and one’s sexual identity becomes irrelevant to how people with their various lenses view one another. In my opinion, this will not occur sometime soon.
Gay Pride Celebrations mean different things to different people. Perhaps for those out of the closet (openly gay), it is an affirmation of same gender love and sexual identity; and a time to hold one’s head up high and with pride. A time to openly tell the world, this is who I am and I proud to be exactly the way I am – same gender loving – GAY. I am using the word ‘GAY’ to also mean lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual. Gay Pride Celebrations obviously plays an important on-going highlight and affirmation in some people’s lives and enables them to truly express who they are – a carnival of open festivities for the world to see, literally.
During my journey of accepting and understanding my sexual identity, I fully experienced a gay pride celebration when I attended the Atlanta pride festivities several years ago. This like I said, was part of the experience of feeling liberated, accepting and understanding my sexual identity; despite the fact that I had left some destruction in a female significant others life. I was absolutely selfish and self-centred – my sexual identity came first and was of paramount importance to me. Who can claim to be perfect, the best person we can be and selfless, all the time? I certainly can’t even to this day!
Experiencing the Atlanta pride celebration enabled me to feel liberated. This was a once in a lifetime and a most fascinating experience for me. I had never seen so many black gay men and women in any one place at any one time. During this celebration I had some wonderful experiences (mainly clubbing, voyeuring and a sexual encounter) and I met some lovely people. Was it a fulfilling experience for me? I still ask myself this question to this day. It was an eye opening experience and enabled me to understand that I had lived a relatively sheltered and narrow minded existence; it also enabled to me to accept that I was not a freak of nature.
Perhaps to others gay pride is not a time of celebration, but instead a time of decadence; and a misrepresentation of what same gender loving represents. It is often a trigger for some ignorant or intolerant people in society of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders and with varying religious beliefs to say despicable things and do wicked things to gay people. Sometimes this is done using God’s name!! Some same gender loving people who are still dealing with issues and ambivalence around their sexuality and sexual identity can participate in this gay bashing. Also for some gay people who are unable or unwilling to celebrate who they openly, to become the judge and jury for those who have the courage to be whom they truly are – they would claim the celebrations are a misrepresentation of same gender loving people.
However, as I have grown older (matured) and my circumstances have evolved, I no longer openly celebrate being a same gender loving man for the world to see. I celebrate who I am every day of my life in my interactions with the people who mean a lot to me. I now only share my sexuality and sexual identity with people that I genuinely trust and have got to know very well over a significant period of time. This is partly because there is an element of fear of judgment, perhaps even shame or perhaps my sexuality is my own personal business; and why would I need to proclaim or disclose it to others unless I feel that it is necessary to do so?
I now celebrate my sexuality privately with the few key same gender loving and heterosexual people that I call my friends; those who have accepted the lifestyle that I have chosen; despite in some cases not agreeing with it.
Sexuality is such a broad spectrum and one size does not fit all, but we should all find a way to celebrate who we are with pride. In some instances this may be openly in a public celebration of our same gender natures for the world to see; at other times it may be more privately due to the fact that we think we have a lot to lose than gain by being so open about our same gender loving preferences. Often this is as a result of society, family, career etc. and the negative consequences that we fear could occur and do occur in some instances.
I take of my hat off to all those same gender loving brethren that are able to celebrate the affirmation of their sexuality and sexual identity in an open and public Gay Pride Celebration. They are true ambassadors and in some instances activists. They are the ones fighting for equality of treatment and recognition of all same gender loving people. They are the ones that are truly emancipated and free. I take my hat off to you all. Thus, pride celebrations are still relevant today and not an out-of-date concept.
Copyright © 2011 Paradox. All rights reserved.