A month-long celebration of Pride is counterproductive. I say this as a gay man who, at one time, was very active in the gay rights movement and organizing Pride Festivals. Over the past several years, I have rapidly been drawn to this conclusion. After 30 days of rainbows, the world is not a better place for the LGBT community, nor are we more unified with society. Likely, it is the opposite.
The goal of Pride Month should be to make life better for LGBT folk and to unify humanity as a whole. We should enter July feeling that our neighbors and fellow citizens have a deeper respect, acceptance, and tolerance for LGBT individuals and their lifestyles. But that is not what happens.
Today’s LGBT rights movement began with the Stonewall riots in New York City on June 28, 1969. The next summer, the first Gay Pride Parade took place in New York City. Other parades also were done in Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Eventually, it became a tradition that June was a month of Pride.
The goal of the Gay Pride movement was to acquire equal rights for everyone in the LGBT community and to assimilate into the population. Today the movement and its activists wish for society to rebuild itself around them. And further, this has gone beyond a forced acceptance and has become a forced celebration.
Activism has become part of LGBT culture. And although there are always things to improve, from a systemic level, the LGBT community has the same rights everyone else does. The fight is now within society. The vast majority of the population has no issue with LGBT people. On the other hand, there are a small number of individuals we would still regard as homophobic. So the job of activists and community leaders should be to work at changing those hearts and minds.
Does a month of Pride accomplish this? No, Pride Month makes things worse. Come July, most people, no matter how they feel about the LGBT subject, even allies and LGBT folk, suffer from rainbow exhaustion! Individuals who are homophobic are not less homophobic, humanity is not more united, bridges have not been built, and hearts have not changed. Instead, things go the other way. There are more homophobic people, humanity is more divided, bridges have burned, and hearts have hardened.
Another part of the problem is Pride goes beyond June. Pride Celebrations continue in July, August, September, and October. And throughout the year, there are multiple LGBT awareness periods. We have LGBT history month, Bisexuality Awareness Week, International Asexuality Day, Intersex Awareness Day, Intersex Day of Remembrance, Agender Pride Day, Lesbian Visibility Day, Non-Binary Awareness Week, Pansexual Awareness Day, Trans Awareness Month, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Trans Day of Visibility, Trans-Parents Day, Pronouns Day, and so on. All this is on top of the never-ending rainbow messaging the public endures from the media, entertainment, politicians, and even sports. We need to give people a chance to miss us.
The delivery of Pride is also problematic. Black history month is commemorated by remembering heroes of the civil rights movement and people who overcame adversity to make it to the top of their fields. The month has a sentiment of dignity. Pride, on the other hand, is celebrated by parading every stereotype of the LGBT community down the street for all the public to see. Not to mention children are now being brought into the sexual celebration. This representation of the community adds fuel to the criticism and negative comments from outside opposition, making it harder to defend the movement.
However, there is a place for observing the freedoms and victories won in the battle for LGBT rights. It should be memorialized and celebrated. But it should not be for an entire month. Nor should it be a non-stop sermon shouted at the public all year round. It should be a day to remember the Stone Wall Riots and the fight for human rights that followed, one day to commemorate the battles, honor those who fought, and celebrate the victories.
The rest of the year, we should live our lives assimilated into our communities as living proof of the value of our diversity. Community leaders can reach out to people and have empathetic and understanding conversations. This approach will create a culture of mutual respect that will benefit everyone, including the LGBT community.
If the goal were to effect change, this would be the strategy. But the adjustments will not happen because there is more happening behind the scenes than the facade of noxious activism.
Pride month is saturated with political undertones. Politicians and agendas use victim narratives to their benefit. Pride, as the name would suggest, should create a feeling of empowerment, not victimhood. Be that as it may, the political world will not give up opportunities to gain votes.
Further, Pride means money. It represents money for corporate sponsors, money for organizations, money for politics, and money for municipalities, which is not necessarily wrong. But in some ways, the commercial insignia eclipses the true meaning of Pride. And who would limit a money maker to one day when it can go on for a month or a whole year?
Pride is also a time of unbridled jubilation. Every nightclub has to outdo the other with the most over-the-top party, every festival has to outshine the others to attract a crowd, and everyone has to be seen at the hottest spots in town looking fabulous.
And there is nothing wrong with that. The freedoms we won over the years are worthy of celebration. However, when the extravagance of Pride outweighs its significance, it becomes a problem.
If the LGBT community, its activists, organizations, and community leaders want to improve things, they will think deeply about their game plan. Because what they are doing now is not working.
The criticisms made in this article are not in anger or hatred but with a sincere desire to make things better.
Some things can be improved when it comes to LGBT issues. But these changes must be made by transforming hearts and minds at a community and individual level through a personal connection. The advancement will not happen through divisive victim culture narratives, attention-seeking shock campaigns, endless lectures, extreme persecution exaggerations, mandatory language, unending acronyms, bizarre tantrums, abusive name-calling, virtue signaling, or bringing children into the conversation over sexual diversity.
Are the people who overreact to Pride just as culpable? Yes, but I am talking to my fellow LGBT folk today. Until we are willing to make necessary adjustments to the LGBT movement and put the greater good over personal feelings, money, parties, and politics Pride Month will continue to be counterproductive.