Pride Parades Are Anything but Sex Festivals

Ellie McFarland | @El_FarAwayLand

It’s June! Not only is it the start of summer, but it’s also LGBT Pride Month! June was chosen as the month for Pride in commemoration of the Stonewall riots that took place in 1969. For gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans people, Pride is a time to celebrate how far the LGBT community has come in their pursuit of rights. It’s also a time to perform activism for the rights that gay people still don’t have worldwide. The Pride season is ushered in by rainbow decked city streets and flashy neon Pride Parades. Largely, it’s a fun time for all. Every year, however, the religious right and traditionalists come out of the woodwork to call pride events nothing more than degenerative uninclusive pedophilic sex festivals.

The Pride Month Fiasco

A Misunderstanding of the LGBT Community

Every year, conservative publications send out fleets of articles professing that “being gay is nothing to be proud of” and, more sinisterly, that “pride parades normalize pedophilia”. This point of view is simply caused by a gross misunderstanding of what Pride Month actually is. However, in some cases, the root of these arguments are malicious and downright homophobic by ruining the reputation of the LGBT community. It is true that the Pride events in big cities, specifically San Francisco and New York City, do get raunchy. Some of the displays can make even the “Wokest” bisexual face-palm or turn away in embarrassment.

There does happen to be a long history of people including their kinks and fetishes into pride events. However, most of the LGBT community does not endorse this. Once we step out of the narrow lense of big city coastal Pride parades, these worrying instances completely disappear. Most Pride events specifically advertise themselves as family-friendly, meaning they will turn away people engaging in overtly sexual behavior or the sexualization of children.

The Desmond is Amazing and other “drag kid” fiascos are unique to big cities which act as an ideological bubble. Kids in situations like Desmond’s are at risk. It is not okay and should be called out. But, to pretend the entirety of Pride or even the entirety of Drag is inherently sexual is a mistake. To pretend as if Pride events are always nothing but debauchery is a mistake. The people that organize grassroots Pride events are passionate about their cause.

The Standards of Pride Parades

Frederick Pride in Maryland is one of these events organized to provide a positive and safe community. Drag queens are involved, as are color combinations of all varieties. Kids are also welcome in a way they wouldn’t be at places like L.A or NY Pride. In the 8 years Frederick has put on its Pride parade, there was not a single instance of hired drag performers stripping or twerking. There is just glitter and stilettos, something that is hardly pedophilic.

This is the same across most Pride events. Of course, there are exceptions. There will always be Pride events that have a twerking child on a float but that is why we hear about them. Their uncommonness is why they make the news. This is in the same vein as there will always be right-wing demonstrations that turn violent. The scandalous and extreme are profitable and horrifying for a reason.

In fact, the news coverage is part of the reason so many people opposed to Pride month and its associated events think so lowly of it. They largely don’t involve themselves in the “LGBT Community” or Pride itself and, therefore, have no reference for what a normal Pride event consists of. They only see the June news cycle. This is why Lucy Brown of Rebel Media had such a measured and reasonable take on the Desmond is Amazing and “Lactacia” situation, along with the other Pride-related scandals. In a video published to Rebel Media’s Youtube channel, Brown mentions that she does have experience within the LGBT community. This may not seem like an outstanding qualification, but in order to criticize something, it has to be wholly understood.

Once you involve yourself in the normal Pride event circuit, it occurs to you how rare these scandalizing instances actually are. Pride is a time to appreciate the rights the LGBT community has gained. It includes savoring the safety that Pride events provide and milking it with hand-holding and public displays of affection. Both of these in the context of same-sex couples are needlessly sexualized. The fact is, kissing and hugging are perfectly child-friendly. Anything beyond that is the exception to Pride, not the rule. If Disney-style displays of romance between gay couples turn your stomach, you’re not concerned for the children. You’re simply homophobic.

Pride is only vulgar in big cities, which act as a cultural bubble. It was conceived as a rebellion and as an appreciation and garnering of rights and it has remained such to this day. To ignore its history is to ignore the oppression and pain that birthed it. The people spreading the message that Pride is just a horrific display of degeneracy are either ill-informed and lazy journalists or malicious dialogues. There is plenty to criticize about “The LGBT Community” and about the behavior displayed at some Pride events. However, to dismiss Pride and the gay rights movement on the grounds of “inappropriate conduct” is simply dishonest.

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