Often, I hear remarks from people as to why the Pride Parade shouldn't exist.
"It is just a party, so they can flaunt themselves." "Why is there a pride parade, there isn't a straight parade."
Well, you should consider yourselves lucky you don't need a straight parade. Until an individual doesn't need to "come out" regardless of their sexual preference and sexual orientation (we can dream right?), there will always be a need for Pride Parade. A wise philosophy teacher once told me, "to become wise, you must unlearn everything you have been taught." I will be quite honest, I didn't understand what he meant until I saw my son's reaction at the pride parade, and our conversations prior/after the event. I spent days, trying to find a way to explain to Xaviar (my son), why we are going and marching at this inspiring and meaningful event. Well, you can imagine that I had to go as basic as I can.
Below, is one of the conversations we had.
Me: "Xaviar, are you allowed to have a girlfriend?" (He calls our well loved family friend, his 'girlfriend')
X: "Yes" *Nods while responding proudly*
Me: "Xaviar, if a girl wants to have a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, is that okay?"
X: *Thinks for a moment confused as to why this is even a question* "Yes?"
Me: "So if a girl can, then can a boy can have a girlfriend or a boyfriend, no?"
X: "Why not? Yup, yup, yup!"
Me: "Baby, if boy wants to wear a dress or love the colour pink, can they?"
Me: "Can a girl wear super hero clothes and play with cars?"
X: *Nods as a huge grin spreads across his face* (If I am honest I think his was remembering his 'girlfriend' and her love of super heroes) Later on, we had a similar conversation but I added this part to the conversation.
Me: "Xaviar, mommy asks this, because some people don't think it is okay, and get very mad."
X: *Furrows his eyebrows* "They bad boy mommy!"
Me: *Tries to hid my laughter and simply nods"
It was after the parade, did I fully understand what my philosophy teacher actually meant. Once you unlearn all the hatred and the bad "isms" you have been taught, you can grow wiser and grow more as a wholesome person. My son often learns his lessons from my husband and I, but today we learnt a valuable lesson from our three year old. Again I will emphasize, until everyone views the LGBTQ+ community and their needs like my son, there will always be a need for the pride parade.
Now that I got that little story out in the open, I would like to discuss my first experience this year at the pride parade. Being a plus size girl, I subconsciously study my surroundings prior to making myself known to those around. I often feel judged, and stared down because of my weight, which makes me feel quite unwanted. I know some of you that know me must be thinking, "there is no way you do that?! You're as confident as they come!" I would like to thank my dramatic side and time in the theatre for that. I won't lie to you. The moment we arrived at the pride, I felt peace, I felt a sense of belonging. That feeling as if you wondered off into a daydream where all your insecurities and fears diminished.
This. This is 1 of the 509,387,643,856,348,975,438,543 reasons as to why the pride parade exists. People, especially those whom never went to witness the indescribable event, seem to think there is no meaning towards it. They seem to think it is all about wanting to "shove" their liberal agendas down your throat. Oh how so very wrong this is! The pride parades is one weekend out of year that those whom get judged, ridiculed, and excluded, just because of who they are not only feel like they belong, but feel safe. Now, I am not saying that because I am a big girl I know what it feels like to be gay or even transgender. What I am actually saying is, that if I can already feel that sense of welcoming and pride from that, just imagine what the LGBTQ+ community feels. The pride parade is their sense of home, their safe zone from hatred, fear and misery, that they face each and every day by people whom just don't understand what they go through. This is ONE month they can truly be free, something we all take for granted.
Imagine waking up tomorrow, not feeling like yourself, out of place, and everyone telling you how to act, dress, and love. Telling you, how to be you. If you can't imagine it yet, then imagine if roles were reversed, and the fear of telling your parents you're straight, a crucial part of who you are and they might disown you. You would want some support wouldn't you.
We have cultural and holiday parades, and no one bats an eye. Why? Those are just parties too, no? Oh wait, they are a celebration...right. Well, so is Pride. A day to celebrate! A day to shout out from the top of your lungs, to the style of your clothes, who you are. Letting everyone know and for once be praised, with no judgement whats so ever. I can bring out all the statistics of suicide rates, and the gruesome acts that happens against the LGBTQ+ community, but I rather emphasize on the beauty and strength each an every one of these individuals show every single day.
Pride month is about meeting your family whom you have never met, but want to high five, hug, and sing with. The family that even though you have just laid eyes upon them, it feels like you have known them your whole entire life.
Pride month is about trust, love, acceptance..... and well? Pride.