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Proud of Pride? Is Pride useful anymore?

  • 31-07-2005 11:09am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien


    With the Cork Pride events starting to wrap up and with Dublin Pride 2005 well and truly put to bed, I'm starting to wonder what gay people actually think of Pride. Do they know the origins of Pride, why it came about? Where is the "Pride" aspect of it now? Is getting drunk and adhering to over-the-top stereotypes in any way constructive?

    I've supported Pride before and given out to people who dissed the march but who turned up to the after parties, but now I wonder what is the use for Pride nowadays. It seems just an excuse to get drunk, party and bitch if straight people think you're a freak.

    After witnessing a bunch of screaming queens parade up and down the main street of Cork about a dozen times in an open top bus while most of the gay people were actually hiding under a big rainbow flag, I have to wonder how that makes me proud. It was funny hearing members of the public ask (seriously) "Are they the Lota kids on a day trip?" too. All people saw or rather heard were screams from a bus with a rainbow flag that was going up and down the street. How is something like that making people aware of the gay community?

    As the saying goes, Invisble people will have invisble rights, but is this the way for gay people to make themselves visible? I can see the idea that a pride event gets attention, so yes, someone in big heels and wearing a boa gets your attention, but then what? What's the message then? It's like that stupid thing "SEX! Now that I have your attention" but then the person just looks back to shouting "SEX" The Fathers for Justice got attention to their campaign when they scaled Buckingham Palace in a Batman suit. They got the headlines and they had something of substance after they got the attention.

    Pride was meant to make the greater community aware that gay people existed. But everyone knows there are gay people everywhere now, trouble is most of the places we see gay people are in stereotype roles on TV and in the media, oh and in parading down the street in drag once a year. My mother talks to me now and again about gay people and talks about certain gay people "Did you know such and such is gay? " what is unsaid but is implied by her without knowing it "and he's normal". I would think it is the same for a lot of the wider community too. "You're gay? But I couldn't tell cos all I know are the stereotypes that gay people adhere to and those that don't adhere to them remain silent."

    Since Pride perpetuates myths or rather makes them reality, is Pride devisive nowadays? It's not like the Gay Community is doing anything to fight for equality at the moment anyway and make us equals. Certainly now when the "Gay Community" invites the Minister for Injustice to their Film Festival and he is all down with the gays telling them he really gives a damn about their rights, yet is going to Court to stop a middle-aged Lesbian couple from getting what is rightfully theirs, and then "community" publicly congratulate his bullsh1t statement.

    I have to wonder what are the priorities for the community. The community seems more interested in putting on gliiter, getting drunk on Smirnoff ice than talking about equality.

    Also, why do people only celebrate pride one day in the year? I'm proud to be a pink triangle carrying member of the gay community every day of my life. I'm happy to let people know I'm gay without making an event of it. I don't feel the need to bring a ghettoblaster into work playing kylie and dancing to her in hotpants, yet many of the people who get drunk to go on a Pride march hide away in their closeted shells the rest of the year.

    Should pride be more about encouraging people to break away from stereotypes, about encouraging them to feel comfortable talking about their sexuality in a daily environment and about campaigning for greater equality? It can also be about partying and acting like a twat, but right now it is only about acting like a drunken twat.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,003 ✭✭✭ rsynnott


    Pride shows the general public that real, living gay people exist. And that itself is important. People who aren't seen to exist aren't seen to be important, and are very easy to dehumanise.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,379 ✭✭✭✭ Stark


    Actually I think damien.m hit the nail on the head in that Pride isn't making the general gay community visible, it's only making the small subset that has always been visible, visible.

    My fear with the "fun bus" was also that it would show a big load of screaming queens let by a drag queen, thus reinforcing old stereotypes and not allowing the people of Cork to see that gay people exist among them at all. I didn't actually get to see the bus, but by all accounts, that was what happened.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27 ✭✭✭ Swimmy


    I have to say I totally agree with what damien.m has posted. I think Pride marches were fine as a 'shock' tactic especially in extremely conservative places, but in Ireland people have a sense of humour and will just make up the strangest of ideas to rationalise what they have viewed. The fact that they didn't recognise it was a bus full of gays says it all about visibility to me.

    I also feel that pride doesn't really help the 'half in/half-out' brigade as all this projection of the gay stereotype does nothing for their confidence. I can only speak from a personal basis, but drag and all the rest seems completely alien to me and isn't what being gay is all about. If this is what Pride is all about then for me the paths of justice and rights and the objectives of Pride have proceeded in two different directions. It is as if there is even a stereotype for Pride to conform to?


  • Moderators, Motoring & Transport Moderators Posts: 24,924 Mod ✭✭✭✭ BuffyBot


    Pride stopped having any meaning for me years ago. In fact, I'm not sure it ever had that much of a one to me anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 510 ✭✭ Amnesiac_ie


    Stark wrote:
    Actually I think damien.m hit the nail on the head in that Pride isn't making the general gay community visible, it's only making the small subset that has always been visible, visible.

    That's true. But that is the not the fault of the people who organise Pride. That is the due of the failure of people outside "the small subset" getting involved and organising events. Or a failure of the Pride organisers to engage with such people if you prefer.

    Cork Pride might not be completely relevant to me but I do appreciate that people who were involved in organising it put a lot of hard work into the week and many people did enjoy the events immensely.

    Yes I would have liked a political march thorugh Cork to highlight the real issues affecting LGB people living in the city and this country in 2005. Did I go to any of the open meetings? No. Did I volunteer to go about obtaining a permit, planning a march, advertising it? No.

    If we are unhappy that Pride is dominated by glitter and rainbows then it is up to us to get involved and bring greater diversity and meaning to the programme for next year. But do people care enough? A lot of people I know just want to get on with their lives.

    If the only people willing to donate their time and effort are screaming queens and drag artists well good luck to them, Pride is theirs to run as they see fit.

    Personally... I am proud of who I am. It's taken me a while to feel like this and it's due to support from friends (gay and straight), my Uni LGB and living away from Cork for a while. I'm achieving the confidence to live my life openly every day of the year and the week of Pride is no different.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,379 ✭✭✭✭ Stark


    Cork Pride might not be completely relevant to me but I do appreciate that people who were involved in organising it put a lot of hard work into the week and many people did enjoy the events immensely.

    Without a doubt there.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27 ✭✭✭ Swimmy


    Personally... I am proud of who I am. It's taken me a while to feel like this and it's due to support from friends (gay and straight), my Uni LGB and living away from Cork for a while. I'm achieving the confidence to live my life openly every day of the year and the week of Pride is no different.

    For me being proud of who one is and being happy as a gay man has been summed up by Amnesiac_ie. It is here where the Pride of the gay community lies.

    Yes people put a lot of time and effort into organising these events, most likely under difficult time and financial conditions, for this they must be commended.

    However running off and setting up a stereotypical Pride I think must be thought through a little more. Maybe a few articles in the newspaper about what it means to be gay and living in Cork. What rights gay people are looking for and why?

    I mean fear of the unknown is the basis for many peoples tarring of gay people as perverts etc....How dressing up as a drag queen changes this I don't know?

    Surely education, information and making people realise that gay people are no different to anyone else?

    It is only our sexuality which is different after all!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,964 ✭✭✭ Hmm_Messiah


    Not for the first time I agree with Damien.

    Though Pride has never made any sense to me other than being the opportunity for some fun. For me it distorts my understanding of gay sexuality and community. It is so far removed from how I would see myself, and want others to see me.
    Pride shows the general public that real, living gay people exist. And that itself is important. People who aren't seen to exist aren't seen to be important, and are very easy to dehumanise.

    It doesn't; mostly it re-inforces silly and unhelpful stereotypes of gayness. Has there ever ever been a pride event without some one in drag, not only present but being highlighted ? I get that this person is a constituent of the gay community (for want of better words) but to the general public it is seen as defining characteristics of gay life.

    The idea that people must be seen to exist to avoid dehumanisation is true to an extent, but would it not be better to tackle that mindset, than to feed it by visibility. People who can not have their voices heard, can they be disregarded ? Or is it a better thing to alter the mindset, so the weak, or smaller, or minority are given their rights , because they deserve them rather than because they've made their present felt.

    As it is some Pride events would suggest that the rights fought for include the right to be outrageious, crossdressing, intoxicated, loud, & melodramatic.

    Sure each of us should have the right to be and express as we see fit, but aren't there more important things? Aren't there serious issues listed every week in this forum that might benefit from the same energy and effort?

    It doesn't really concern me as I can't relate to its purpose. It crossed my mind to attend some of the Pride events, to partipate and all that, but I would of been as uncomfortable there as I was in my straight skin.

    The two women fighting for rights as partners, that I can empathise with, and encourage. A need to tackle queerbashing (inc that awful misnomer),being now denied the right to give blood, reactionary efforts to reclass homosexuality as a disorder, the RC's understanding of gayness as intrinsically wrong, this and more I could feel pride in the effort to defeat.

    Being able to hide my genitals in a leotard and wrap myself in a boa, or to drink 20 cocktails and stay standing, or molest my partner in public, these don't quite do it for me......


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien


    That's true. But that is the not the fault of the people who organise Pride. That is the due of the failure of people outside "the small subset" getting involved and organising events. Or a failure of the Pride organisers to engage with such people if you prefer.

    As I replied on another forum to this same comment, the excuse that it is the fault of those that do not like Pride because they were not involved in organising it is silly. Blaming a sh1t and irrelvant Pride as a failure for those who did not like to get involved is disingenuous. If something classes itself as "Gay Pride" and bases itself on the first Pride marchs which grew out of the events at Stonewall then it should take note that the gay community is not all about a few narrow aspects of a very diverse community.

    I guess it is far easier to put on heels and hotpants and get plastered to advertise ones sexuality than to educate the masses about the likes of non-stereotypes like Harvey Milk or Jeannine Gramick who did a lot to advance the community on equality issues. We still don't have the right to marry our partners, we've had the right to drink together in bars and dress two sizes smaller than we are and have haircuts like parrots for years now. I'm sure people take pride in that.
    Cork Pride might not be completely relevant to me but I do appreciate that people who were involved in organising it put a lot of hard work into the week and many people did enjoy the events immensely.

    I have no doubt that a huge amount of preparation went into this. One can see from the pics that matching the boas to the makeup was no easy task.
    If the only people willing to donate their time and effort are screaming queens and drag artists well good luck to them, Pride is theirs to run as they see fit.

    Nope, not if they are basing it on something that is meant to reflect an entire community.


  • Registered Users Posts: 887 ✭✭✭ wheresthebeef


    i agree with damien.m

    i dont think pride looks great for the gay community at all.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 5,500 Mercury_Tilt


    This post has been deleted.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 42,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Beruthiel


    damien.m wrote:
    Is getting drunk and adhering to over-the-top stereotypes in any way constructive?.

    only a complete idiot would consider that to be the extent of any community

    Why not look at the parade and be glad that it has become somewhat frivolous and not that important anymore.
    It means things have come a long way for gay people that they can do this, no?
    Surely that is a celebration in itself!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,964 ✭✭✭ Hmm_Messiah


    Beruthiel wrote:
    only a complete idiot would consider that to be the extent of any community

    Why not look at the parade and be glad that it has become somewhat frivolous and not that important anymore.
    It means things have come a long way for gay people that they can do this, no?
    Surely that is a celebration in itself!

    You have a point :) nice way of looking @ it too.

    Still think much of what I've seen of "Pride" is far removed from anything I relate to. All the other points have already been made.

    And I think you've gone to the other extreme, oversimplifying things if you don't think there are people, lacking understanding, who do accept what they see as being what "gay" is all about.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien


    Beruthiel wrote:
    only a complete idiot would consider that to be the extent of any community

    I'd disagree. Not an idiot, but an ignorant person. You know, people that watch the news and believe it. Accept soundbites and headlines to be correct. Someone who is not aware gay people exist and all they see of them are their hairdressers, Will and Grace and news reports of Pride Parades.


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 42,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Beruthiel


    oversimplifying things if you don't think there are people, lacking understanding.

    oh it certainly is an oversimplification, but that doesn’t make it not true, as in, the community has come a long way.

    And yes Damien, there are many, many ignorant, closed minded people out there, however, at this stage in the whole proceedings, I’m not sure what the gay community could do to change their particular mindset.
    I am also aware of the fact that there is still much to do, especially when it comes to having a family and marriage.
    I think that it will happen though, it’s just a matter of time, perhaps even in our lifetime.
    I take it you're not a hairdresser then Damien? :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,316 Talliesin


    In fairness, a lot of the veterans of the Battle of Christopher Street were drag queens and were involved in the fighting precisely because they were so identifiable ("you've got the wrong guy officer" isn't going to work when you're in high heels and a sequin dress), so it's not entirely fair to get annoyed at their visibility (besides, being visible is what drag's all about, isn't it?).

    I do get what damien.m is saying though, and it's beginning to feel like a Gay St. Patrick's Day (which I never did feel meant anything to me as an Irishman, it's an Irish day for going to mass and an American day for partying).

    In a lot of ways it's great that we don't feel the need to be political. I was talking to someone a good deal younger than me about various political matters and the Garda LGB community liaison officers were mentioned. It was great to see that he couldn't comprehend the idea that there once wasn't any (I remember the meeting where the first post of liaison officer was created by one of the Gardai at the meeting simply saying he'd do it). Hell, it was great to see he knew about the liaison officer's at all given that he's straight.

    At the same time, I do agree that there does seem to be less of a point to Pride than before. I'd hoped that was just because I hadn't been on the scene, and wasn't really linked in with what was going on.
    damien.m wrote:
    I'm proud to be a pink triangle carrying member of the gay community every day of my life.
    An increase in the number of pink triangles compared to rainbows would be a good thing IMO.


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien


    Beruthiel wrote:
    And yes Damien, there are many, many ignorant, closed minded people out there, however, at this stage in the whole proceedings, I’m not sure what the gay community could do to change their particular mindset.

    As my meandering initial post ranted on about, there are still many out there who have all these views of what gay people are from stereotypes on television and from coverage of things like a Pride parade. My parents were such people. I wouldn't have called them closed minded but they were unaware of the real community because they didn't know anyone from it and only saw one viewpoint.

    To change their mindset gay people can make themselves more visible, not by walking around with a dragqueen on a leash but in getting on with their normal lives like everyone else but being confident and happy to talk about their boyfriend or girlfriend or partner or that they went to a gay bar last night.

    I take it you're not a hairdresser then Damien?

    Want a free perm or something?


  • Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators Posts: 42,408 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Beruthiel


    damien.m wrote:
    but in getting on with their normal lives like everyone else but being confident and happy to talk about their boyfriend or girlfriend or partner or that they went to a gay bar last night.

    this happens damien, maybe not to the point you would like, that's down to how confident the person is in their own skin though and I understand that there are many in the gay community that feel they can't do this just yet.

    Want a free perm or something?

    perms are so 80's :p


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ PaulinCork


    Isn't there room in our communities for people of all shades of butch and femme and neither?


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien


    PaulinCork wrote:
    Isn't there room in our communities for people of all shades of butch and femme and neither?

    Are they all represented at Pride? The issue is that only certain shades have been given visibility.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 32,971 ✭✭✭✭ Annasopra


    damien.m wrote:
    Are they all represented at Pride? The issue is that only certain shades have been given visibility.

    I don't think that's true that any group/shade is given visibility - it is more that because of the particular characteristics that that group will stand out more thereby being more visible and grabbing peoples attention in general


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,379 ✭✭✭✭ Stark


    I remember UCC LGB did a fantastic rainbow week last year. Maybe that could be used as the model for future Prides.

    www.rainbowweek.tv


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ PaulinCork


    I'm all for both being visible,

    Its important that it doesn't become unnaceptable to be anything other than fitting into a traditional gender role

    And its important for people who don't fit the stereotype to be accepted, too.

    We need to break out of an "its either or" way of thinking into "lets have both and". Harvey Milk and the Stonewall queens

    Maybe we could ask Loafers, the Other Place or LINC to show that film about Harvey Milk in Cork soon?

    I'm a queen, and I'm political

    Could you post some info on Jeannine Gramick ?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,163 Boston


    I think some people are missing a point here, Damien's rant, (if I may be so bold to speak for Damien for a sec) is more a response to a question that is being asked more more lately. That is, why do so many people feel disconnected and disassociated from pride? Cork nearly didn't have a pride march this year by all accounts due to the low level of interest. Pride just won't work as a party, people need to feel it means something to them, and there's relatively allot less people on the fringes then there used to be.

    So this whole thing is less damiens problem or why problem or the problem of all the other disenchanted people, and more the people that see pride as still be relevant and useful.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ PaulinCork


    There's never been a Pride March in Cork.
    I'd love there to be one.
    Plenty of people go up for Dublin Pride.
    And even Waterford's got one, goddammit,like. :rolleyes:


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,163 Boston


    confused, what was the thing that happened last weekend.


  • Registered Users Posts: 27 ✭✭✭ Swimmy


    I think it was the case that there were pride events put no actual march.

    A bus packed with drag artists drove up and down and all around city I think instead.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,764 shay_562


    Not to be defeatist, but from an exposure point of view I don't think it really matters how many non-flamboyant gay people take part in a pride parade. If there's one OTT drag queen in a parade of 1,000 guys in normal clothing, the papers will print a picture of that one drag queen because, for better or worse, the cultural image of gay people is of camp men who like to dress in women's clothing, and it's easier for the media to perpetuate a stereotype than to alter it. Hell, I remember complaints in the papers last year because in the women's mini-marathon, they managed to find three drag queens and printed a picture of them instead (something about gender bias), I really can't see why it'd be any different with a pride parade.

    If pride to you means dealing with important social issues (like that high court case about gay marraige or giving blood or whatever) then there are numerous ways of dealing with that outside of a parade. I think we might as well accept that the parade itself, much like the Paddy's day one, is now nothing more than an excuse to get very drunk. Which is fine, but not exactly desirable from the event that ignorant people look to to learn more about the gay lifestyle.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 63 ✭✭✭ PaulinCork


    Pride marches used to be to mark the anniversary of the Stonewall riots,
    Carnval was originally to mark the anniversary of the end of slavery.

    Now they're both big parties for everyone and involve over the top costumes.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,290 ✭✭✭ damien




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