Pride? Maybe Not So Much.

Ah, the first weekend of June. You may know what that means. If you don’t, allow me to enlighten you. This weekend kicks off a three day pride celebration in Los Angeles. Three days for the LGBTQ community to come together and celebrate unity and experience the many shades of our community. Well, at least that’s the idea.

I have been a participant of the pride celebration for many  years now, but I’m sitting this one out. I’m not all that proud this year, and if you take a good hard look at the gay community, I don’t think many of them should be either. The intent of the affair was noble, and still is, however the execution today leaves me a bit hollow. For starters, the price to get into the festival. $20? Really? Maybe back in the day it was a good price because it was such a large set up with lots of booths and things to see. Now it’s been slimmed down considerably and many of the small businesses are missing booths, replaced by larger corporate sponsors. And let’s not forget the major corporate sponsors who make it all possible. You’d think for all the money getting raked in, they could cut the price of admission down five or ten bucks. Perhaps the steep price tag is a better way to ensure an affluent audience for all the advertising found within.

And what about that little financial schism? This whole deal is to celebrate our community as a whole, but there are so many private parties and VIP perks that divide and exclude. What kind of message is that? Within our own tribe, there are still barriers and large groups within who feel simply because they have the money, they deserve a better standard than the rest of us. This day should be the equalizer. Where all of our community can stand together as equals.

And of course there is the drinking. It seems there can’t be a gay event without massive amounts of liquor on hand. Like that’s the only way to have fun. So many groups at the event advocate responsible drinking, ending drug abuse and safe sex practices, but so many of the people who come drink too much, experiment with drugs and I’m sure there are more than a few who steal away for a quickie sans condom. That kind of behavior doesn’t fill me with much pride. Why is it so many feel the best way to celebrate pride is to come together, get wasted and act like unchained animals?f

I’m not saying it’s all bad, but based on my observances over these past many years, I have seen a steep decline in the quality of these pride celebrations. It’s been overtaken by greed and profiteering. It’s become more of a reason for people to get drunk and party than to really connect with their community. I feel like the whole thing should be rethought as a gay and lesbian RESPECT celebration. A time for us to show a little respect to each other as well as ourselves. I’d pay to see that.