“But when’s it gonna be straight pride?”, whinged the cishet manbaby. “I’m after LITERALLY (he means metaphorically) choking on another bloody rainbow flag!!” “And why do they STILL need a poxy parade??”, persisted his equally small-minded/large-mouthed cishet girlfriend, as they stood hand in hand completely unmolested and screeched hate-fueled abuse at passing people wearing Pride badges. “It’s just not right…DIRTY PAEDOS…GROOMERS!”
We introduced ourselves and invited this delightful young couple to join us for a coffee so that we can understand their confusion and ascertain as to why they are so enraged.
John (we’ve changed their names to protect the ignorant) feels there’s too much pride amongst the gays and he wouldn’t have a problem if they just did it indoors with the curtains closed. “Yes”, chimes in Mary (also ignorant), “we wouldn’t mind so much if we didn’t have to see them walking down the streets holding hands. It turns my stomach it does!”. We notice our loving couple are still holding hands and question why they see no problem with their own PDA (Public Display of Affection). John is stumped, his mouth agape for flies to land on. Mary wants to display her verbal dexterity by proffering “Ah yeah but that’s normal!” It’s at this point we realise the futility of our conversation, make our excuses, and leave.
Sadly, however, John and Mary (who incidentally have the combined IQ of a broken brick) are not uncommon in their ignorant views and not a bit shy about voicing them. They are part of the un-silent minority. Now that’s not to suggest that all cisgender heterosexual people are as vocally bigoted as John and Mary. In fact, most people in that vast category are of the live and let live opinion.
See, anybody with a modicum of sense knows that Pride is for the LGBTQIA+ community, is completely non-threatening, and is a celebration of being unashamed of who we are BECAUSE for centuries we had to be secretive, closeted, and were told it was shameful. It’s the complete opposite of Pride in many ways. During my early gay days it was still illegal to be gay in Ireland!!! Just let that brew over in your mind for a bit! My expressions of love had to be decriminalised in 1993!
Funnily enough, it has not been plain sailing since then. I’m an old gay so I remember a very different, less accepting time for our community. And like anyone who’s experienced prejudices in their lifetime the hope is that for future generations it will be different! Enter the next generation, my wonderful kiddo with whom I’m writing this article! Take it away kitten!
No phobias, just bigotry
The word phobia is defined as “an uncontrollable, irrational, and lasting fear of a certain object, situation, or activity. This fear can be so overwhelming that a person may go to great lengths to avoid the source of this fear. One response can be a panic attack.” So why do we use this word to describe those hateful bigots who go out of their way to interfere with members of our community. We only have to look at the recently thwarted (thankfully) attempt to cause a riot at an Idaho Pride event. These people are NOT afraid of us. They use fear as a shield to hide behind, for example “the gay panic defence”. This is where lethal force is used as a valid defence when the accused uses the sexuality of their victim as a way to avoid culpability.
Essentially they’re filled with pure hate and ignorance. Whenever they physically attack a member of the LGBTQIA+ community I highly doubt the victim getting assaulted is thinking, “Wow, these guys kicking my head in are terrified of me!” So either we need to come up with a better word or us gays need to start kicking back! Literally!
Aside from physical assaults there’s the verbal, which I can attest is just as commonplace amongst the younger generation! A couple of months ago in school I announced to my fellow peers that I am gender fluid (For those not in the know you can read a definition here. We good?) A week later, a young boy in my class insisted that “If you can identify as any gender then I can identify as a toaster!” This type of teasing is a common experience for us “gender rebellers” (i.e., gender non-conforming people) and is incredibly insensitive. I’m sure some of you reading this article have made some form of this joke and think it’s VERY funny. However you are gravely mistaken.
A toast to Pride
Now here’s a question for you, and I’ll use the previous “joke” as an example. Would you feel more fulfiled in life as a toaster? Would you finally feel comfortable in your new metal body, plugged into an electrical outlet, making toast for a random person who bought you and will stick bread in your gouged-out head for years until you’re finally no longer useful and will be discarded and replaced by a newer model? If so, fine! But you’re not being sincere and as such have no idea of the obstacles, the pain, confusion, fear, and lack of healthcare gender non-conforming people, particularly trans people, deal with each and every day. There seems to be a climate of hiding behind “free speech” where falsehoods are held up under its supposedly protective banner. Remember, freedom of speech doesn’t equate to freedom from accountability. So if you insist on being offensive don’t get all upset when you’re called out on it!
Pride is an opportunity for the wider community to understand what it’s like to be different and to not feel ashamed for that. When cishet people ask “Why can’t we have a parade?” maybe ask yourselves “Why do they need a parade?”. And “Aren’t I lucky I don’t need one?”. We in the LGBTQIA+ community are hoping for a time when we no longer NEED parades to be heard and don’t HAVE to come out to those we love. The whole reason the Pride parade exists is because just as the word says, we want to be proud of who we are and we shouldn’t have to be ashamed for it.
And, speaking of pride, as the mother of this amazing kiddo I couldn’t be more proud! Happy Pride, y’all!
Trinity Cahill is a manga/anime maniac who loves to draw/paint, adores her FOUR cats (Don’t hate the player, hate the game!) is a serious karate warrior and a cosplaying nerd! Fear her…if you dare!
Featured image via Pexels