With June (the gay pride month) just around the corner, we can’t help but commence preparations. Some of us pull out our gay pride flag and let it soar in the sky. Others whip out their trans, bisexual, pan, ace, demi, and other regalia, and get ready for the party of the year.
With the typical gay Pride parade being more about having fun than rioting (although political activism is still deeply embedded in our community), we can’t help but look at Pride as an opportunity to let our freak fly. And it is.
There are LGBTQ people and members of other communities who resent this. Some think we should keep the Pride as tame as possible. However, those people need to realize that it took years of activism and fighting tooth and nail for every inch the government ultimately gave to get where we are today. That gives us the strength, comfort, and the feeling of safety and trust to finally let that freak fly and stop hiding behind lies or live “in our four walls.”
Why Pride Parades Matter
Being queer isn’t always something we are proud of. It’s a hard burden to bear. Many people still struggle with not only being their authentic selves but also being glad and honored to be a part of this particular group.
Pride events and the LGBT Pride parade always had one purpose — to unite those who have felt different their whole lives and give them the strength to be who they are. Unapologetically being yourself is the goal many of us are still working toward. Pride celebrations make it just a little easier for those who attend and those who don’t.
When we feel like we have to stay silent or lie by omission, it’s easier to speak up when amid hundreds of people who are just like you.
What Does the Famous “Gay Pride Parade” Fight For?
Some people might wonder why pride matters, especially now when same-sex marriages are legal nationwide. Those people need to realize just how many societal and systemic rights and privileges the LGBT community is yet to enjoy.
Last year was the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riot. Fifty long years have passed since that first brick was thrown in front of the Stonewall Inn. That brick marked the beginning of fighting for civil and human rights. If some of you might be wondering, the fight is still ongoing.
For Justice in the United States and Against Blatant Homophobia
Just because we can legally wed, that doesn’t mean all is well. Did you know that gay men cannot donate blood in the USA if they had sex with another man in the previous three months? The FDA relaxed its rules, given that the timeframe used to be a year!
Even with HIV testing and treatment getting where it is today, the bigoted government still upholds the letter of the law written at the peak of the HIV scare. This blatant discrimination and homophobia are ongoing and are some of the reasons we still need Pride.
In fact, it’s one of the reasons we need Pride more than ever. We need to irradicate this systematic display of homophobia and the stereotypical view of gay men that remains the law only because the society still treats gay men as less than and gay sex as something that’s potentially disease-ridden.
For Equality, Raising Awareness, and Normalization
That’s what we fight for. We fight to stop discrimination, to end stereotypes, and to let our people breathe without fearing for their lives, jobs, homes, and communities. We fight so that everyone can feel comfortable in their skin.
Lesbian, gay, trans, and all other members of the LGBTQ+ community have been dehumanized, prosecuted, discriminated against, beaten, and killed for being who they are. We fight to end that and to bring visibility and equality for all.
Pride Parades — A Chance to Speak Your Mind and Have Some Fun
Many cities around the world organize elaborate Pride parades. These are not only a statement for the LGBTQ community but also tourist bait. Huge parades include marching and cute banners, a full musical and entertainment program, and booths and activists that speak to the masses.
We’ve come a long way from rioting, but political statements are still the entire point of Pride parades. Celebrating ourselves while also making a statement that we still don’t have equal human rights, even though we’re a huge community that’s ready to stand up for itself, is what Pride month is all about.
An Opportunity to Learn From Those Who Fought Before You
Many of us didn’t have a gay community to show us the ropes while we were growing up. That’s why many of us didn’t even know what to expect from pride events. And we all remember our first Pride parade. The culture shock and the overwhelming feeling of joy and giddiness are something that many remember from their baby queer days.
Seeing all those people unafraid to show their true colors, all of them, and finally feeling like we belong somewhere is an almost indescribable feeling. Pride is also a chance to honor those who came before us. It’s how we remember those who fought so valiantly so that we could have today’s freedom of expression.
And to Explore Your Sexuality
Of course, for many, Pride is an opportunity to explore your sexuality. It’s a chance to see what’s out there in the world. Many revelations happen at Pride because there’s no shame, no expectations, and no discrimination. You can be yourself, no matter what that is. More importantly, you can find others like you and explore the endless opportunities with them.
That’s why Pride and sex are so connected. Some would prefer Pride to be a family-friendly event. And, in many ways, it is. However, many people out there have fought for sexual liberation and think it’s vital that we show precisely how liberated we are.
Now, we aren’t just talking about leather daddies who walk their partners on a leash come Pride parade. No, we’re also talking about that scared gay couple who can’t hold hands in public due to fear of public rejection and prosecution. We’re talking about those anxious lesbians who don’t know if the girl they are talking to is hitting on them or is just being friendly. We’re talking about all those people who repressed their urges and desires and who finally have an outlet.
So when you finally have the option to let loose without any worries, it’s only logical that many do. That’s why Pride and sex go hand in hand.
Why Safe Sex Is Vital
Sexual health is one of the primary advocacies of most Pride events. Because the entire point of sexual liberation is to be sex-positive, Pride organizations often give out pamphlets that urge people to engage in sex responsibly. They also give out free condoms, dental dams, and other safe-sex paraphernalia.
That is one of the most critical aspects of Pride. We’ll never be able to forget the devastating effects of HIV and AIDS on our community. The HIV scare meant an increase in an already alarming level of prosecution of members of our society. More importantly, it also meant that we lost brave, lovely people because the government discarded the disease as not worth their time, given that it affected such a marginalized community.
Although that’s behind us, and the HIV treatment has come a long way, we mustn’t forget the struggles of those who came before us. We also can’t fail in protecting ourselves.
Sex Toys and Other Pride Goodies
If you need a sex toy, there’s no better place to find one than at a Pride event. Many sex toy manufacturers have embraced the LGBTQ community. They have acknowledged our contribution to not only the sex-positive movement but also their sales.
That’s why you can find plenty of sex-toy booths as well as other means of entertainment and sexual exploration at any Pride event. It’s as beautiful as it is raunchy, and we love it. Casual sex at Pride and after-pride parties is at an all-time high, which is why awareness is vital.
Awareness and Normalization
Casual sex isn’t something to be ashamed of, nor is it something to keep secret. There are a lot of stigmas following casual sex at Pride. But, realistically speaking, Pride is no “worse” than other large-scale celebrations. People let their inhibitions go, lower their guard, and do something they only ever dreamed of.
And that’s fantastic! We should enjoy sex with whoever and whenever we want, as long as all parties can and do consent. However, that doesn’t mean we should throw caution to the wind.
We have to protect ourselves and others. In the heat of the moment, that can be difficult to remember. We might just slide in raw without meaning to. That’s why various booths, even those that offer food and drinks at Pride events, hand out free condoms. It has the goal of normalizing safe sex and keeping it at the forefront of our minds.
Plus, you can’t use the we-didn’t-have-a-condom excuse when you’ve been handed dozens of them. Pride is all about keeping the community safe — even from themselves.
Party But Know When to Stop
Another vital part of Pride is knowing not to get carried away. The liberty, sense of community, and overall sex-positive attitude can get intoxicating. That’s especially true if we went into Pride ready to put all our guards down and let all our inhibitions go.
So, it’s essential that we pace ourselves and not let ourselves get swept away by a fleeting moment of giddiness and excitement. Pride is a time of celebration and acceptance, and there’s no room for regret. So let loose, but know your limits.
A Few Parting Words
If you’ve never been to Pride, you’re missing out. Everyone is welcome, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity, and personal preferences. It’s a wholesome event that betters human relations, makes us more understanding of each other, and builds up a community that the society has been systematically tearing down for decades (and centuries). Be proud, and party with your peers, or show support to those who need it!