Happy Pride Everyone!! As a queer person of color, I wanted to do my part to celebrate everything that this month represents for LGBTQ people in the United States.
Pride celebrations have come a long way since they started a few decades ago. Big cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Fransisco have HUGE pride festivals and parades, and it also warms my heart that small towns like Cookeville and Murfreesboro in Tennessee have their own big celebrations.
This week, I wanted to premiere one of the short films I made earlier this year. It is a profile of a long-standing LGBTQ activist and organizer both in middle Tennessee and nationally. He has worked for several decades to bring awareness and respect for queer communities within secular and religious circles.
He is a friend to many and a generous soul.
Here is my film “So Am I” for all to see . . .
As Pride celebrations are becoming more ubiquitous, I want to draw some attention to the biggest way that Pride has changed over the years.
Corporate sponsorships and big money have taken over many festivals across the US. It’s one thing if companies like Walmart and Google are genuinely interested in LGBTQ equality, but is that really the case?
Do they just want the street cred and the almighty gay dollar by waving our pretty rainbow flags next to their logos? If so, is that okay?
The following clip effectively and humorously puts a lot of this in perspective:
To me, Pride celebrations have always been an act of rebellion that was founded on a grass-roots framework and ideology. The notion that big money can come in to elevate the experience feels too much like a slippery slope. It becomes a breeding ground for greed and the kind of overzealous ambition that loses sight of why Pride began in the first place.
Pride does not need to look like Disneyland.
It needs to have the freedom to have floats with leather daddy’s in bondage gear, trans women and drag queens cussing like they don’t give a shit and looking confidently (gloriously) slutty, fake tits and neon thongs with fishnet stalkings, naked people with their bodies painted in Pride colors, women with impossibly hairy armpits, laughter, and unbridled authenticity in the open air for all to see.
Pride needs the freedom to be QUEER.
Corporations who want to appeal to the masses will never get that.
Maybe I am being alarmist about all of this, but we can NEVER forget that Pride is about visibility and not conforming to what everyone else (aka straight people) dictate as “normal”.
Lastly, Pride, on an individual level, should not just be relegated to one month.
Have Pride in yourself and your life every damn day.
Every. Damn. Day.
Happy Pride and carry on in your bright and luminous colors for all the world to know and for you to love.