LGBTQ+ Leaders questioning the purpose of Pride
As a lot of LGBTQ+ and supporters enjoy pride month parties and parades, most people may have not have given much thought to the actual validity of Pride month celebrations. But for some LGBTQ leaders, 2019 Pride has served as a time to share how Pride is not living up to the entire communities' expectations. I don't profess to be the brainchild behind the title question of this post, and in full transparency I was probably as content tending to my own pride rituals. But then, a riveting call out on Facebook Live from a trans-rapper, Foxjazell, claiming that Pride is not helping LGBT people..... check out the video to see her protesting vlog.
Just in case your co-workers are looking over your shoulder and you had to mute, here is a quick recap; The clip begins with Foxjazell protesting "I don't need any fucking Digital flowers!" and she then denounces the pride social media likes and shares as insufficient. "Oh.. oh I support you for pride..! Pride?! What the fuck is there to be proudful about!?! The fact that I have these middle age white men in my inbox... asking for dick... on Grinder!" after crashing glass is heard as she slams against objects not in view of camera. Foxjazell then exclaims "My black trans life doesn't matter!" Leading into the clip the trans rapper expressed feelings of being overlooked and discounted during Los Angeles pride festivities.
Pride festivities typically trigger images of fun and enthusiastic celebration accompanied by rainbow flags, parties, and drinking. This is also the time when corporate sponsors throw millions of dollars at LGBTQ organizations to show solidarity with the community during the month of June. Month + $$$$ + Solidarity = Happy Community right!? However, Foxjazell's passionate outburst evoke the question; Is the parade enough? Is the party enough?
Fozjazelle finishes her Pride slam with frustrated references to her neighbor, a SAG actor and member of the LGBTQ community, who allegedly made a fake police report about the trans-rapper.. Check that story out here: https://www.iconcity.net/post/guy-uses-grindr-uber-to-cheat-trans-rapper
To answer Fox Jazelle's charge against Pride, a glance into the history of Pride would be appropriate. For that take a look at this news clip from DC reporter for WUSA9, Michael Quander, explaining Stonewall and the beginning of Pride.
Considering the beginning of Pride and the importance of the historic moment of the Stonewall riots, then in fact Ms. Fox Jazelle we must admit is right! The parades and digital flowers are definitely not enough to honor a people with a history of such. Particularly in a time where these newly acquired rights are in danger of being striped away everyday. One month is not enough and drunken parties aren't enough. Further more we are constantly faced with reports and statistics showing less inclusion and participation from LGBTQ+ communities of color. As other participants, in efforts to support, end up alienating and/or scaring away already oppressed people of the community. How do we rectify this injustice? Why are Pride events not as welcoming for some parts of the LGBTQ+ community?
What do you think? Do you agree with Foxjazell? Share your opinions and remember community answers can only come from the community.
At Icon City we believe in Pride 365 and host a 100% LGBTQ+ Hip Hop playlist. Awesome way to show support to community artists on a daily basis. Check out #FunnyMoneyRock streaming playlist clip. For other ways to support LGBTQ+ 365 go to ICONCITY.ORG
Pride Supporter? Below are some helpful Pride Supporter Rules
If you are looking to attend this Pride as a supporter, Rachel Deitch from The Humanist lays out the ground rules for this.
From The Humanist:
1. Do your research. Before partaking in any pride activities, make sure you are well acquainted with the history of Pride. Understand the police violence and corruption that led to the riots. Get to know the transgender women of color activists who were repeatedly arrested for their refusal to stay silent.
2. Put your body on the line. Cishet attendees are the some of the greatest resources for keeping hate and violence away from Pride events. See something going down? A religious lunatic yelling slurs? A reveler getting too jostled by the crowds? Put your body between them and step up. Protect LGBTQ people. This is the single most important thing allies can do during Pride and beyond.
3. Pride isn’t about you. Recognize that you are going into these events as a guest and act accordingly. Don’t get exceedingly drunk. Don’t try to draw attention to yourself. Don’t bring offensive signs that you think are funny in an ironic way. And don’t wear a flag unless you are prepared to explain how you are supporting LGBTQ people every day. Instead, offer to take photos for people, cheer on performers, hand out water or snacks, and give up your prime viewing spot to others.
4. Don’t assume. There’s a reason this phrase has become a cliché; because it can and should be applied to how we interact with others on a daily basis. Don’t assume people around you are gay, bisexual, or straight, cisgender or transgender. If you need to know someone’s pronouns, ask. (This is the one educational question allowed and encouraged, see below.)
5. Pride isn’t a spectator event. Historically and today, LGBTQ culture is pushed to the margins of social acceptability, to the detriment of so many. Pride, however, is a moment when people get to be unapologetically themselves. If you show up at Pride events, be aware of that. Gawking or judgement are not okay.
6. The cops aren’t there to be your friends. Don’t thank uniformed cops for showing up and don’t take pictures with them. A lot of LGBTQ people don’t want cops at Pride, and allies should follow the lead of impacted communities.
7. Patronize LGBTQ-owned and -operated businesses. If you are going to partake in the capitalist side of Pride, put your money to work by supporting LGBTQ businesses.
8. This isn’t an educational moment. Don’t ask invasive questions ever, but also not today.
9. Don’t call yourself an ally. Allyship is a lifelong process, not a title bestowed upon you. And it’s not up to cishet people to decide we are allies; calling yourself something doesn’t make it true. Who is your allyship for? Does it actually support LGBTQ rights? Does it lessen violence against LGBTQ people? Are you making sacrifices (to your comfort, to your wallet) to support LGBTQ people?
10. Do the work before and after Pride. Pride comes and goes, but allyship doesn’t. Cishet people all have to do the work every day. Actively support politicians who support LGBTQ communities, be an active bystander on the bus or with your friends and family, and take your lead—year-round—from those most impacted by LGBTQ inequality.