During this year’s Pride month, I have heard many people (yet again) ask why there still is a need for it. “Gay people already have equal rights here, they can get married,” “What else do you want,” “I get that there are countries that criminalize Queerness, but why do you need a parade in the U.S., U.K. or Germany?”
There are many reasons why we still need pride and the list just keeps getting longer.
- Pride isn’t just for the people in that country. It’s a sign of solidarity with queer people all across the world who are not able to be themselves. It shows them, that they are not alone. More than 70 countries still criminalize the LGBTQ+ community and pride is a fight for all of these places.
- Even though some countries have equal rights on paper, like marriage equality, that does not remove discrimination and violence as well as homophobia within a society. How many stories have you heard of people in the U.S. denying queer people service based on so-called “religious freedom.” A bakery denying a couple a wedding cake. It’s your business, you can do what you want of course, and deny people service, but denying people service based on their sexuality is clearly a sign of homophobia and intolerance.
- Those laws, even though we thought they were set in stone, are extremely fragile. Look at the Supreme Courts’ decision on Roe v. Wade, and the talks that followed about revisiting other rulings, including the sodomy law and the equal marriage ruling. Or have a look at the “Don’t say gay bill” in Florida. If the government is coming for your rights again and again, there is still a need to go to the streets and fight for what is right. The U.S. isn’t the only country that is trying to roll back equal rights. Police in turkey arrested people trying to hold a pride event, Poland has created “LGBT-free-zones.” The list goes on.
- Transphobia is at an all-time high. No day seems to pass where you can’t read about an attack on the trans-community. Oftentimes with violence and even death. Especially trans-people of color at at an increased risk.
- Look at the recent events in Oslo and Dublin. A day before Oslo Pride there was a shooting at an Oslo LGBTQ+ club, leaving 2 people dead and 21 injured. At Dublin pride, three people were hospitalized after an anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic attack.
- The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health shows that LGBTQ+ teens are at a much higher risk of suicide than the overall average in the USA. Queer teenagers are 3.5 times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual teens, the number for trans youth is 5.87 times higher than the average. Further findings showed that 75 percent of LGBTQ teens experienced symptoms of anxiety, more than 60 percent had signs of depression, there is a higher rate of substance abuse among queer teenagers.
As long as being gay is punishable by prison sentences or death in any country there is a need for pride. As long as movies and shows that show even a small glimpse into queer life, whether that is a trans guy buying tampons in the Baymax show, a lesbian kiss in the Lightyear movie or any other sign of a normalized queer life, are banned in many countries, including China, the UAE and Qatar, there is a need for pride. As long as lesbians are being fetishized, bisexuals being told to be going through a phase, asexuals not being validated, gays being attacked, queer people of color being marginalized on multiple levels, and queer people with disabilities not really taken into consideration at all, there is a need for pride. As long as there is even one person out there who thinks they would be better of dead than being true to themselves, there will be a need for pride.
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