Pride Can’t Go Back to What It Was Before

It might have been the sight of a muscled roller skater in a lacy tutu, or of a thong-clad twerker commanding an on-the-move cheering circle, or of a giant paper-mache puppet of Janelle Monáe that made the epiphany hit. It could have been the sign that said “‘Productive’ Sex Sucks!,” or the chant about bottoms and tops both hating cops, or the beautiful graffiti-style poster of Tony McDade, a black trans man recently shot and killed by a police officer in Tallahassee. Maybe it was seeing neoprene fetish headgear doing the same anti-viral protective work as surgical masks and bandanas.

But at a certain point during the Queer Liberation March in New York City on Sunday, 50 years after the first annual celebration of the Stonewall uprising, the feeling became overwhelming: Pride should always be like this.

What Pride was before, and what it tried to be this year via webcasts, does of course encompass political demonstration and aesthetic fabulosity. But in a regular year, the summer LGBTQIA+ fests in cities worldwide—and in New York City especially—are parades, not protests. Subcultures and service organizations segment themselves between or on top of motorized floats. There’s some sense of competition as to who can inculcate the loudest cheers and the most glitter rain from spectators. That the event celebrates acceptance more than resistance is made plain by the police who join the parade as well as the corporations. Drag queens smile from pharma-sponsored thrones. Viewers cool themselves off with bank-branded fans.

In recent years, maybe since the nationwide legalization of gay marriage in 2015, triumphalism has outshone much sense of political urgency. (Clay Benskins)

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The big spectacle of Pride—the parade, the parties, and the other affiliated events—is always inspiring because the right to public pleasure is so hard-fought for queer people. But in recent years, maybe since the nationwide legalization of gay marriage in 2015, triumphalism has outshone much sense of political urgency. Alternative events, eschewing the support of corporations and law enforcement, have sprung up, emphasizing the movement’s unfinished work—work that largely involves protecting queer people who aren’t white and wealthy. In some cases activists have openly clashed with mainstream Pride, like when protesters blocked the path of Washington, D.C.’s 2017 parade and forced it to be rerouted. In other cases, they’ve simply thrown their own anti-assimilationist march.

This year, the establishment festivities went digital due to the coronavirus pandemic. So the

Source:: The Atlantic – Culture


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