I believe that modern Gay Pride is one of those very strange grey areas, that nobody really, truly, understands the principle or premise of. This is especially poignant for my generation, I feel, as 90s kids just missed out on the suffering of the AIDS epidemic during the 80s and thus have no real sense of commitment, of coming together as one for a common cause – that cause being the uniting in support and love for your fellow LGBT individual, be it for equal rights, health and moral support, or simply to not feel alone.
This past weekend (2nd – 3rd August 2014) saw the 5th annual Liverpool Pride take place, and it was celebrated, as it has been every year, in memory of Michael Causer – an eighteen year old man who was murdered for being gay – around the anniversary of his death.
I’ve noticed a few posts floating around the varying social networks all regarding the fact that Liverpool Pride is held in memoriam of Michael, stating that the event is a city wide celebration and should not focus on the death of one individual when there are LGBT adults and youth being victimised on a daily basis. Not just in Liverpool, but across the globe.
Whilst I can see a very distant logic in this manner of thinking, why should one person be remembered above an entire city’s LGBT community?
Let me put it in a different way…
Michael’s family, especially his mother, Marie Causer, are heroes in my eyes. Every year they have the brutal murder of their son brought to the media attention of the UK. Imagine having to relive the death of a loved one every year, not just in the comfort and privacy of your own home, but on a nationwide stage. How must it feel knowing your son is a martyr? I’m sure the Causer family feel pride in one way that this is the card they have been dealt, that they can try and make a difference through their experience, but I’m even more sure that they would rather be amongst the throngs of Pride-goers enjoying the festivities; only worrying about the type of costume they will be wearing for the festival’s constantly outrageous themes, with Michael.
The Causer family have allowed the death of their son to be a reminder to the multitudes of what is still very existent in modern day society: Homophobia. For that, I applaud and bow to them.
Pride, for me, is a reminder of the fight that came before us. The Stonewall Riots. Victims to the early AIDS and HIV epidemic. Harvey Milk. Sylvia Rivera. Craig Rodwell. Tony Dyson. Allan Horsfall. Among various others. Don’t know who or what any of these people or events are? Look ’em up.
Those who allowed for us, in the current day, to be free to such liberties. Liberties that are constantly taken for granted – to dress in a way that expresses our individuality (and that goes for everyone, not just the LGBT Community), to be able to go out of a night time and enjoy the company of the same sex – men were not allowed to dance together at all! Plus so many more!
I believe the Pride festival is also a glimpse into a future that we all wish to see. When there is no longer a need for a Pride festival. When we, the LGBT community, are able to freely love who we choose to love (Though I personally don’t believe we “choose” who to love… I just couldn’t think of a better way to word that!) and have no need to cause a ruckus. When we have the ability to kiss, hug, touch our partner, who just happens to be of the same sex, without receiving the looks of discomfort from others. (That is also ignoring the notion of Public Displays of Affection, which I know a lot of people feel uncomfortable with regardless of who is involved.)
Unfortunately, not a lot of people agree with me in this line of thinking. There are those who believe that the LGBT community is making a mockery and drawing undue attention to a situation that we want calming: homophobia and hate crime. The belief that “shoving homosexuality down everyone’s throats” will only make things worse for us as a community can be seen as valid to a very certain extent; simply put that being provocatively flamboyant in the face of someone who isn’t the biggest fan of Kyle Minogue, is just as clever as dangling a red cloth in front of a bull.
It’s just common sense and something you do not do.
We live in a society where free thinking and free speech is most definitely not frowned upon, in fact, it is encouraged. But we also must show restraint when necessary. It is all well and good being able to voice your opinion, but you must also be able to accept that not everyone will share in your viewpoint – which links in to my view that I believe the Pride festival will continue, as a statement, that the LGBT community wishes to be treated equally, legally and within society; and will only ‘show restraint’ when our past endeavours and past vitalities have been recognised.
And that’s my 10 cents on the subject… (Can I say 10 cents when I’m English..?)
’til next time!