As we approach the 40th anniversary of the first Gay Liberation Day March, one group is questioning the character of current Pride events. Take Back Pride is a New York City-based organization that thinks Pride should focus on activism and protesting and not just be a big street party.
As the group’s website says, “It’s time for us all to remember this is a march, not a parade.”
This raises an interesting question. What is the correct role of Pride? Is it a celebration of the LGBT community, or is it an opportunity to highlight and object to the continued injustices facing LGBT individuals? Is it a little bit of both?
According to the group’s website, the purpose of Take Back Pride is to remind the world that “we are not content with what we have.” It points out several areas where equality is not yet achieved, including Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and marriage equality. Equality NC deals with many issues at the state level, issues like workplace non-discrimination and HIV/AIDS funding.
Take Back Pride would like to see more people at Pride events addressing these problems, through chants and signs.
In the end, Pride is both about celebrating past successes and working towards future victories. Many of the developments that we’ve seen in the 40 years since that first march must have seemed impossible at the time. Still, there are plenty of injustices that continue to this day. By educating people, Pride participants can act as agents of change while still having a great time.
Pride can maintain its Mardi Gras atmosphere while also promoting education and acceptance. There’s no reason we can’t have both.