Another Pride has come and gone. Every year I get excited. Every year I enjoy the parade. Every year I appreciate that so many allies come out. Every year I love seeing my friends that I don’t get to see as often. This year I was able to be in the parade with an excellent bunch of people from Planned Parenthood. This year, as every year, I was mildly disappointed.
Disappointed because once again the festival centered on both a very small section of the queer community and on alcohol. In regards to the latter I have no quarrel with imbibing. I believe the drinking age should be lowered to 18 (if you are responsible enough to decide whether or not risk your life for your country, you are responsible enough to drink.) Inebriation itself, however, always seems to be the end in what a friend of mine refers to as “alcohol culture.” It is not in addition to other activities. It is not to enhance the enjoyment of other activities. It is an end unto itself, and too often after the parade, I hear small crowds crowing about how wasted they are.
Then there is the former concern. So much of Pride seems centered around what is known as “twinks.” Skinny, young, usually white, very femme, gay men. There is nothing wrong with being any of those things. There is something wrong with every other group in the queer community being ignored for them. Even the kink society ducked out after the parade. There was no place for them in the femme frat party.
Pride is still awesome. We need Pride, and unlike some members of the queer community, I have no problem with the ostentatious displays. The whole point is that it should not matter. Still, we need greater diversity in how it is celebrated. The Kink Society, the bears, the queer punks, femme lesbians, and everyone else should feel comfortable at the festival, or at least have something of their own to enjoy.
To that end I will be conducting a survey soon, hopefully with the help of The Empty Closet, Rochester’s LGBTQ newspaper, to determine what the queer community in Rochester would like to see in the way of an alternative Pride Festival. In the meantime, any of you Rochester folk who want to weigh in are more than welcome to here. Let us make Pride for everyone.