Taking Pride in your union

Apparently during Pride in Toronto you can take tours. These tours include things like witnessing a same-sex marriage. Is it just me or does this feel like it’s one step away from reducing gays and lesbians to attractions at a themepark, or worse, a freakshow? How is making, literally, a spectacle of same-sex unions going to help? I suppose you could argue straights taking these tours are already converted to the cause, but it feels to me like anyone taking a tour of LGBT culture is coming at it from an “us and them” standpoint. Perhaps I’m unfairly imagining the tour being like something at Disneyland with people in costume performing skits of “everyday life in Gayville” at various stations the train stops at. Mr. Gay’s Wild Ride — take a swing through the happiest place on Earth!

This is the problem I have with Pride from a purely strategic standpoint. One hand is trying to convince the haters that gays and lesbians are just like them while the other is throwing a party that celebrates every negative (at least in the minds of homophobes) stereotype associated with the lifestyle. There’s a mixed message being communicated to the straight population. We want to be integrated in mainstream society with all the same rights, sharing the same values; and We’re nothing like your so-called “mainstream” society.

I feel changes in negative attitudes could be achieved quicker with a more unified messaging. But I also understand we’re not talking about a small, specific regional population with a unified identity such as Quebec. There can be no consensus about what “gay” means to everyone who identifies themselves as living somewhere under the rainbow.

But surely making same-sex marriage a fairground attraction is the wrong way to go about it.

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9 Responses to Taking Pride in your union

  1. Mandi says:

    If you have to change who you are to get equal rights, then those aren’t equal rights. Besides, homophobes don’t have any actual, valid, non-crazy reasons for being homophobic. Since the homophobes are gonna be haters no matter what the queer community does, why not have a giant party?

    Pride tours seem like a whack idea, especially since everyone is meant to be welcome at Pride. Maybe they’re intended for the small town queers, you know, ease ’em in to the big city gaybourhood?

    • mrdapper says:

      I agree. No one should change who they are. But how they market themselves, as a group, to a hostile audience is an important issue. It depends what the goal of Pride is. If it’s a celebration of a distinct and separate culture, it is fine the way it is. More than fine. But as a propaganda tool to build bridges to the straight community, it’s flawed. Basically my point was:

      This guy’s fun weekend

      Is why these women

      can’t get married in California.

  2. Mandi says:

    Yeah, I guess there are probably people out there who hope/think that Pride is a big gay PR event that will win over the haters, and you’re right, it won’t. But, no matter what that guy does on his weekend, there will always be people in California who don’t want those women to get married.

    The queer community can advocate for itself all it wants, but, being a minority, they’ll always get screwed unless a lot more heteros starts standing behind them.

  3. Mandi says:

    Also, I think I might need to go on one of these tours.

  4. mrdapper says:

    I don’t think there will always be enough people in California on the hate train. And I think change could be achieved faster without perpetuating the “us and them” that Pride does. What’s even more effective than heteros standing behind gays is heteros standing beside gays and not even thinking about the fact they’re doing it.

    • Mandi says:

      Pride only seems “us and them” if one is afraid of feeling like a minority.

      And yes, “What’s even more effective than heteros standing behind gays is heteros standing beside gays and not even thinking about the fact they’re doing it.”, I agree. 100%

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