Why Pride Isn’t Just About the Rainbows

By:  Cass Clemmer

All around the country, folks are dusting off their rainbow suspenders and stocking up on glitter – all to gather together for this month of celebration for the queer community. And while we deserve the time to experience joy for our existence and survival, the month itself has slowly become more focused on parties, “trendy” activism by large companies, and rainbow flags everywhere than about the real, daily lives and struggles of queer folks. 

Pride started with a black trans woman who was resisting police brutality. That’s where our movement came from - our celebration and our sorrows all pen from that moment. And yet, in the midst of our booze sloshing and Target rainbow shopping, our white, mainstream communities have shaken off movements like Black Lives Matter and Never Again as if they shouldn’t be part of Pride month.

Too often I’ve heard allies and fellow LGBTQ folks alike say that we shouldn’t focus on the negative parts of life because Pride is a celebration. But a celebration of who? Sure, we have come a long way in the past few years, but our focus has been predominantly on those issues affecting the cis, gay, middle class, white man. 

Where is there room to talk about sexism? Where is there room to talk about racism? Where is there room to talk about suicide? 

We tend to shrug these issues on to their respective months, as if Pride isn’t intimately connected to the marginalization of all communities.
 
Pride is fragmented. We celebrated Coca Cola’s pride commercial, while failing to critique their unfair labor conditions and capitalist violence. We mourn the losses of stars who took their own lives, while failing to recognize that the suicide rate of trans youth is unimaginably high. We toss the “Me Too” movement in the wind, while I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been sexually harassed at Pride.
 
Pride is not a safe space for everyone, and we desperately need to do better. It’s time to decentralize the white, cis, gay male voice and start calling for the movement to prioritize the needs of those who exist on the margins. Because really... who started Pride again?