“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value…” – Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
You are probably wondering what in the heck does this have to do with anything I ever post on, well the short answer is A LOT!!! Like the famous towel from Hitchhiker’s, your Pride is a “massively useful thing and has great practical value.” Not just to yourself but for the Community as a whole. The Pride events are about celebrating the fact that we have survived the events of our past and can now be much more open and free. The history that has lead us to this junction is part of that Pride and we should always carry it with us. Let it wrap around us and offer us support and strength. But there is more…
In the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the towel is functional in every situation. It can provide warmth, support, the ability to hide, and allows you to filter out the toxins in a given environment. The Pride we carry is very similar. It can be a shield, for us, against the toxic world we live in. It gives us the strength to combat those toxins and keep us going. As we start to come out, find our community to belong to, we start to develop our own Pride. It comes from the courage it takes to come out to those around us. It comes from the strength we develop because of the adversities we live through. It comes from the Communities we belong to and how they help us find identity and the will to be a part of and possibly fight for better causes.
I am fond of regaling my readers with tidbits of our history and how we have made our advances at the expense of spilled blood and standing up to insurmountable odds. We have been marching for acceptance since the early 1950s. We have fought with civil disobedience at Compton’s Cafeteria and Castro, used retaliation at Stonewall to stand up for our rights. Continued to march and fight through the 70s and 80s, during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic. We continue to fight and march the current legislation and administration for our very survival. These acts are what makes us prideful in our LGBTQ people and they should be celebrated. Our sexual freedom is part of the very nature of our struggle and while it may not be what some like, it is no less important.
Denigration of our own people is counterproductive to forward momentum. You are welcome to not like how some celebrate Pride or what they feel is okay, but you should not be judging the for being different than you. That is, in its very nature, why we are fighting for our acceptance, because we are different than our heteronormative counterparts. Acceptance and agreement are not always mutually inclusive, each person has the right to live their lives how they see fit without causing direct harm to another individual.
Pride is more than just a month, it is something we should be carrying with us everyday, everywhere we go. When heteronormative cisgender caucasian culture tells us that they need a parade and we should be ashamed of who we are is no different than the same group spouting that “White Lives Matter” or that room full of the same heteronormative cisgender caucasian older group has better knowledge of how a female should deal with her body. No one has the right to make these statements or choices but those they effect. Our Pride should be what provides us the strength and weapon to fight these challenges, just like a wet towel in Hitchhiker’s..
Yes, even in times of distress we can use Pride as a defense mechanism and to signal to others we need assistance. The Pride we create in ourselves often times is the fuel we need for our sarcastic side to fend off the negativity we face on a daily basis. We all hear the slurs “faggot,” “cocksucker,” “carpet muncher,” “freak,” and many others on a daily basis. Our Pride allows us to deflect those hurtful remarks and deal with them in our own stand up fashion. This alone can be a signal for others to aid you in comfort or chorus of voices against the darkness. Strength comes in numbers, after all.
The only downside is the hiding aspect. Hiding will not further our cause no more than will assimilation. There will always be those that tell us we do not fit in and that we shouldnt make waves. We should do what we can to “survive.” Why should we have to tone our actions down when our heteronormative counterparts flaunt who and what they are daily? Why should we hide behind our towles in hopes that we will ‘fit in’ to the rest of society. If survival is equal to going back into the closet then we spit in the faces of Harvey Milk and Marsha P. Johnson and the fight they went through. We send all who have stood up for who we are a collective “FUCK YOU” by saying we should just fit in.