Friday, May 13, 2011

Pride and Prejudice

A rant, if you will.

This past weekend was our local Pride. I've gone to it nearly every year since I've known S., and it was in fact the first Pride I ever attended - even before the big hoopla that is NYC Pride. I remember how happy I felt the first time I went--seeing others like me, seeing women with babies and dogs and being so happy together. It felt blissful there being with my (then) girlfriend, pondering the future when we would have kids of our own to shuttle to and show off at Pride (insert lesbian stereotype here).

Then I got old. And had kids. And quite frankly, Pride is not my thing anymore. I more often than not feel myself being annoyed by Pride instead of being "proud" at Pride, and I am usually left wondering why I bothered fighting the traffic to find a far-away parking space, only to sit for a short parade and go walking around a glorified parking lot looking at people selling gay crap I will never buy. I will also add that we honestly do not have many gay friends. We have a couple we hang out with sometimes who I work with and who have similarly aged children, and we often see their gay friends at their house, but that is it. We love when we do hang out with them, because it's important for us to have our children see families like ours.

But I often feel like a minority at Pride. I feel like I have no big gay rights agenda, that I don't own a single item of rainbow or HRC clothing, that I have somehow assimilated into straight culture and feel like an outsider amongst the many wonderful gays and lesbians who live in my neck of the woods. Part of this is my own doing--lesbians love drama, and I do not, so I guess unconsciously I tend to stay clear. The other part is--I guess I just feel like a woman who happened to fall in love with another woman. Is it part of my identity? Sure. I knew as a teenager I was partial to women. But, is gay even a top-five adjective I would use to describe myself? Nope. S. feels the same way. She once told me she'd say she was a "gardener" or a "flea market junkie" over a lesbian.

I'm sure next year I will be at Pride again-for my kids. It is important we let them know how many other gay families and gay people live amongst us. I feel lame sometimes, knowing that people elsewhere don't have the option of being so blase about their gayness, or their "alternative" family, and that I probably take for granted that our families and friends and state are for the most part so supportive of us that we never have to feel like outsiders. And I guess in the end, I am grateful for that.


10 comments:

zunzunbobo said...

i. hear. you.

i'm glad pride exists, because there are people who need and love pride.

i'm also glad not to go, that i'm privileged enough not to need that space, that i'm lucky enough to have a drama-free existence where my self, my relationship, my family are all pretty alright.

we might have to rally for it, too, for the kid. maybe not. i guess it depends on how many 'alternative' families we can round up in daily life...

metalstork.com said...

you know, i used to have a freakin blast at pride, in my early 20s, in nyc. when i try to recreate that now, it doesn't come close. but i will say, red never had any pride parades so it's been really cool seeing her reaction and we might have to take a day trip down to nyc so she, errr, feels the unity in that magnitude.

Laurie said...

I've gone to NYC pride a few times when I was younger and hated it. Way too many people crammed together for my taste. I do, however, LOVE Long Island Pride. It's much smaller and low key. The parade is followed by music in the park with everyone having picnics on blankets. It's wonderful! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this. I know that Pride is still needed by some people but personally I feel we're "doing our bit" by just living a "normal" life and hopefully showing people that our family is just like theirs and nothing to be afraid of and personally I don't need a parade to do this. What worries me about Pride marches is that I realise to the people marching it is to celebrate and be proud of who they are but to some this could unfortunately just reinforce to some people their concept of LGBT folk as being different and even a little wierd or to laugh at / be afraid of. I know there is still such injustice in the world (Uganda at the moment, marriage inequality for you guys over in the US) and that we need to be out and visable and educating people. I suppose I'm just more comfortable celebrating and being out as me and my family how we do it day to day and as we say over here in the UK "it's horses for courses".
Nic

Jude said...

Girl, you are speaking my language.

We go every year. But we just walk in the parade with some group or other (this year it was Dakin), and then never even make it to "the parking lot." Unless it's to get ice cream. ;)

I don't feel particularly "proud" and I think honestly that's one of the privileges we have in this area where more straight allies walk at Pride than queers.

Let's get together and be visible for our kids. xo

jessie said...

I keep wanting to take HP to pride but never manage to get around to it. Aside from the fact that I'm married to a woman and the HRC sticker on my car, I don't feel very gay. But I feel like im doing my part in a way by normalizing it for people. I'm hoping that this will help some folks realize that we aren't all that different after all.

I do think its important for HP to have friends in similar family structure so I'm trying to promote that as best I can.

Melody said...

I learned last year that Pride with a toddler is. not. fun. Too many inconsiderate people who either have no respect for boundaries and want to glom all over her just b/c she has a lesbian mom or who don't think a child should be there in the first place and have no trouble mowing her down on their way to the beer tent.

That said, I am a still a Lesbian with a capital L and would put it about 3rd behind Woman and Mom in terms I use to describe myself. I think this is because I live in such a conservative state where, even though I live an open life and am pretty accepted and insulated from harm in my urban neighborhood and lefty-oriented industry, I get to hear public officials calling my family an abomination and negotiating my civil rights away. So even though I don't think a lot of good work gets done at Pride I guess I'm glad its there. I'm MORE glad, however, for the great LBGT awareness and lobbying organizations I come in contact with in my city.

S. said...

It makes me feel so much better that other people feel this way. I feared it was the "party pooper" in me, but this year it was more than that.

somedayisnotadayoftheweek said...

i completely agree. pride doesn't mean the same thing to me anymore. but i think it is good for my kids to see families that look more like their family. perhaps we will venture to our pride at the end of june. we will see...

somedayisnotadayoftheweek said...

i completely agree. pride doesn't mean the same thing to me anymore. but i think it is good for my kids to see families that look more like their family. perhaps we will venture to our pride at the end of june. we will see...