The NYC pride parade this year (which took place on June 28th) was extra-special for two reasons: (1) it took place just days after the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal nationwide, and (2) it was my first pride parade!
I have only been out as gay for the past two years. Although I live only an hour outside of the city, I didn’t have anyone to go with last year. This year, my boyfriend and I had planned to go months in advance, and I was extremely excited. To me, the landmark SCOTUS ruling days before the parade was just icing on top of the cake (note: this became literally true since there was a last-second parade float of a giant wedding cake with a same-sex couple atop it). After hearing the decision I was so happy, and even more excited about going to the parade, which was now expected to be one of this biggest in history.
However, a lot of my friends did not agree and said so quite plainly on social media. A significant number of students at my college are Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) and subscribe to the Radical Queer Theory. Therefore, they did not celebrate same-sex marriage. They did not support the pride parade. Instead, they posted tirades about how violence against trans women of color was what we should be focusing on.
Although I do not consider myself a radical queer or a full-out SJW, I do often support the causes they rally for (I agree that trans woman of color face significant violence and as a community, we need to respect, support, and protect them). However, when same-sex marriage was legalized, I wanted to celebrate. When the annual pride parade was happening, I wanted to celebrate.
So I celebrated. So I put that rainbow filter on my profile picture. I spent time thinking about my imaginary wedding. I went to the pride parade.
If you are wondering, no I am not sorry. I recognize that things are not perfect. The world has a VERY long way to go in terms of acceptance and tolerance of the queer community. But when there is major progress made, like legalizing same-sex marriage for the whole country, I am going to celebrate. When there is a massive parade and gathering of queer people, planned for the sole purpose of showing pride, bonding, and creating visibility, I am going to celebrate.
I loved pride. It was so much fun. It was rainbows and glitter and spectacular outfits. It
was so magical to see so many beautiful and proud queer people acting however they wanted, wearing whatever they wanted, being their true selves.
I wish that queer people in the world felt more comfortable to act and dress the way they do for pride parades every day. The NYC pride parade was amazing and beautiful and I loved every minute of it; I loved celebrating same-sex marriage and being with such a great group of queer people. But I can recognize that as a community we have a long way to go. This world still does not fully accept us. Until everyone can live freely, safely, and proudly our fight is not over; this world is still intolerant of so many people, from gay men to trans women to intersex individuals and more.
It is important to celebrate progress. It is important to show pride (especially at major pride events like the parade). It is also important to continue the fight. Contrary to what some say, I do believe it is possible to both; you can celebrate progress, go to pride events, and still continue the fight.