Firstly, let me preface this by saying that this isn’t your typical “things to do on a weekend to keep your kids entertained” post. Pride month is upon us and with all the hooha this week thanks to a few utter bellends who felt that “straight pride” needed to be a thing (because goodness knows that these poor cis, straight, white men are discriminated against all day every day – someone start a go fund me), I wanted to write about why I think it’s a fab idea to take your children along to your local pride event, regardless of whether you are a member of the LBGT community or not.
Pride events are there to support the LBGTQIA+ community, they are more important than they have ever been thanks to a rise in homophobia and discrimination – let us not forget the utter melt down that happened recently when a headteacher started to introduce LBGT issues into lessons or the “drag queen storytime” shit storm that saw protestors moaning about how it was an abomination to have children exposed to drag. Pride marches started because of the Stonewall Riots (which you can and should google) and they continue to this day, but in a much more family friendly fashion that emphasises that love is love, no matter who it’s between and celebrates our diversity as a culture. Every June you will see pride events up and down the country and this year I thought it would be wonderful to take my family along to our local one (weather permitting!). The last 3 years we have been away or had other events but I’m super stoked that tomorrow is York Pride. The march will start outside York Minster at 11.45am and will aim to get to the Knavesmire for around 1pm. The Knavesmire is where the main event will take place and you can head over there without doing the march if that works better for little legs, enjoy the music, immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the stalls.
So why do I, a cis hetero woman, feel that it’s a great idea to take my family to Pride and is it appropriate to go?
Well it’s simple – supporting my local communities is important to me, and I feel like pride events are a wonderful opportunity to do just that, show support and come as an ally (and with that comes a huge responsibility to understand that these places are not *for* me and I come as a guest to someone else’s community to show my support). I love the fact that Pride events are marketed as family friendly (as they should be) and I love that they are so welcoming to allies, people like myself who want to head along to show support. Is it appropriate to go to a pride event if you are not a member of the community? Well, that’s something that I have discussed with numerous members of the community and the overwhelming response has been yes – providing you’re there to support and not gawk at half naked men in rainbow sarongs or throw judgement around with your confetti. If straight, cis people weren’t welcome at these events, it wouldn’t make sense – what about the parent whose proud of their gay child, or the wife of a bi person, the child of a trans person? The gay community has always been so welcoming and accepting of other’s within their community, it’s an absolute privilege to be welcome to head along and show support.
For me, pride (York Pride anyway) is marketed as a family friendly, all welcome, event for a reason. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going to these things to show support, but there are certain things that perhaps aren’t for those of us that aren’t a member of the community and it’s our job as allies to keep out of those spaces and remain respectful, after all, straight cis people are not the minority or the ones facing discrimination. There are marches and spaces organised for specific marginalised groups at Pride events and it’s everyone’s job to stay out of those spaces so that people feel completely safe to be themselves.
I want to show my children that love is love every day of the year and we talk about it frequently, so being able to go along and show our support of the community would be amazing. I want my children to understand that when they are older, whatever path they choose in life is theirs to choose and however they identify then that’s none of my beeswax and they will have my full support. This isn’t about entertainment, members of the community aren’t there to entertain you, it isn’t about invading a space that isn’t yours, it’s about showing support.