It Is Not a Celebration of Sexual Acts
It’s adorable (insert hippopotamus-sized sarcastic face here) when someone asks me why queer people feel the need to be so vocal about who they’re sleeping with. Some people have offered up the phrase, “What you do behind closed doors doesn’t matter to me,” in an apparent attempt at allyship. It’s not, and here is why…
Let’s do a quick exercise in empathy. If you’re in a heterosexual relationship, close your eyes for a moment and envision that last time someone asked you a question where your response involved mentioning your significant other. Something like, “What did you do this weekend?” “Oh, my husband and I went hiking.” Now image if their follow-up to your response was, “Listen, what you do behind closed doors doesn’t matter to me.”
What did that feel like in your insides? Shame, like what you said was somehow wrong or inappropriate? Weird? (Because it IS really fucking weird). Annoyance at the fact that they’ve just reduced your entire relationship with your love to a sexual act?
Maybe it didn’t bring up any feelings for you because of the absurdity of that. Nobody views a heterosexual relationship as just “who you’re sleeping with.” And yet, for the queer community, that is most often how our lives and relationships are portrayed. (Just ask Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to explain WHAT exactly is considered “sexually inappropriate” for K-3rd graders. Hint: It’s that the mere mention or vision of homosexual relationships are “sexually inappropriate.” Heterosexual relationships portrayed the exact same way are not).
When you ask me why I am being so vocal about who I am sleeping with, it tells me that you do not see my relationship with my partner as something similar to yours.
Pride Is a Civil Rights Movement, Not a Sexual Celebration
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I would argue that at its core Pride is NOT a celebration of sexual attraction or gender identity. It is a civil rights movement because of the discrimination we face AS A RESULT OF our sexual attraction or gender identity. Pride is our annual reminder that homophobia and transphobia thrive in silence, and so we show up loudly!
Pride started as a fight against systems of LGBTQIA+ oppression, with many of these prominent riots being led by transgender women. For me, Pride events have always had two main purposes:
- to create a safe environment where LGBTQIA+ people are allowed to show up as their full selves without fear of judgment and
- to bring visibility to the fact that LGBTQIA+ people exist in our society (and in greater numbers than many people assume), so that the next generation doesn’t have to feel so alone.