As I am sure many of you know it is officially June, which means Pride season is upon us! While I think pride is very important and it is something I make a point to attend, I still have my critiques of it.
Firstly, let’s start with the history of pride. Gay pride has been a staple of queer culture for decades, however, as LGB people saw more and more progress in their favor, the community shifted. Although pride was started by trans women and other queer people, the movement turned into a white, middle class, cis and gay exclusive club. In the Netflix documentary about the life and death of Marsha P Johnson, the viewer explores this through real footage of Silvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson. Trans people and lower income queer folk alike were pushed to the back of the movement.
This was at first clear to me during the battle for marriage equality or “gay marriage”. Such an issue actually does not just impact LGB people, as trans people with partners that have the same gender marker were also barred from marriage. Lucy Hick Anderson was a trans woman who was charged with fraud because she married her cis male partner. The promotions occasionally felt as though they were shaming single-parent families, with slogans like “two moms are better than one”. And above that, in my personal opinion, the tactics and promotions used to gain marriage equality were often cissexist, classist and forming to a cisnormative view of family. This is not to say that I am unhappy that I can now marry my partner, because I am grateful for that, yet the posts made by allies and community members makes me feel somewhat uneasy.
It is so vital that the LGBTQ+ movement does not forget its roots again. Our roots are the activism and efforts of trans people, queer folks, and people of color. Although the current view of the community is often images of two cis gay people holding hands, saying “Love wins”, the truth is that LGBTQ+ (especially trans folks) of color are not being represented. The image of trans people is often post-op, straight, passing trans women, which is a good start but trans men are also under-represented in the media. The issue of representation could be another post all together. The LGB community seems to have abandoned their trans brothers, sisters, and siblings, which cannot happen when trans women of color are being murdered and trans people are still facing employment, housing, and other types of discrimination.
Pride is not trans-inclusive, in fact, I attended a trans pride recently, and while it was great to see so many resources for trans folks, I was upset by the separation. Trans pride is needed, but it is also vital that our cis allies (LGBTQ+ or not) see us for all our diversity and for our unique experiences and challenges. I felt the use of the word pride was a betrayal to the only history the trans community has to hold on to, our founders. The trans people who sparked a movement before having the word “transgender” to describe themselves.
I find this topic conflicting because I do not always feel safe or included in spaces created by people like me, and while I enjoy pride, it does not make my uneasiness fade. I have other issues with pride which I will get into in other posts.