“In 2019, Pride is about celebrating our identity – not to mention our very right to exist”
BY KATHRYN BREITNER, LGBT+ FOR PEOPLE’S VOTE. IMAGE TOYA DELAZY AT PRIDE IN LONDON
Fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, Pride festivals are the world’s most colourful, glittery and exuberant affairs.
They’re so fabulous in fact, that even some alt-right straight people (groups like the misleadingly named Super Happy Fun America – organisers of Boston’s “Straight Pride”) want one to call their very own.
Yes, Pride is a huge celebration. And, frankly, why shouldn’t we celebrate? Across the story of one lifetime, our community has made progress that the heroes of Stonewall could hardly have imagined.
Is there more to be done? Of course. But can’t we just take one day out of the year to wear some bloody glitter, drink something containing equal amounts of alcohol and sugar and just be happy that we live in 2019 and not 1969? Maybe. Maybe not.
Celebration makes sense against a backdrop of social progress, in the teleological conviction that we’re marching towards something better – even if that march is something of a sleepwalk. But we can’t rely on that mentality anymore…
“For the first time in 30 years, the number of people believing there is nothing wrong with gay sex has fallen”
You’ve probably heard it all a hundred times, but here it is again: hate crime is up; echo-chambers fuel the Far Right; populism is on the rise; and Brexiters – on the whole – are not our allies.
But what’s more, now, for the first time in 30 years, the number of people believing there is nothing wrong with gay sex has fallen. We are in danger of going backwards.
At LGBT+ for a People’s Vote, we are not taking this sitting down. In every measurement, it is clear that our community not only stands to lose out badly in the event of Brexit, but that we have consistently voted against such an outcome: 72% of the LGBT+ population wants to remain in Europe. So we’re not giving in, even for a day.
But, rest assured, we’ll be at the party. Because going to Pride in 2019 is more radical than it has been for a long time.
As our community comes under renewed threat from a political crisis linked to hard-right conservative forces around the world, our taking to the streets – our visibility – is itself a revolutionary act. If our very existence is to be politicised, then Pride is our manifesto.
That’s why we’re going to Prides across the country, spreading the message that the vast magority queer people oppose this government’s reckless position on Europe and, more than that, we oppose the tiny faction to whom this crisis has casually handed power. People who certainly don’t have our best interests at heart.
In 2019, Pride isn’t about reveling in victory, because there is none. But it is about celebrating our identity, not to mention our very right to exist.
If there’s one thing our community doesn’t want, it’s this absurd political crisis we’ve been forced into. And we will not be spoken for.
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