What Can Straight People Learn from Gay Pride?

First of all, I would just like to say I am proud of Pittsburgh’s Pride.  Despite the controversy  leading up to the event, I think, once there, everyone was able to have a good time and celebrate in the way we are meant to during Pride.  I think controversy about homophobia and inclusiveness within the LGBTQ* community is needed to start important dialogues.  Hopefully, we can carry that momentum into next year to make Pride even better.  Given the amount of press Pittsburgh Pride got, hopefully more people will want to come check it out and to see we really can rival other major cities. (Full disclosure I think the concert aspect of our Pride in the Street is better than NYC’s Dance on the Pier. But when it comes to VIP accommodations, NYC wins.)

I remember attending my first Pride in Pittsburgh in 2006.  I didn’t really know what to expect.  I had never really thought about what gay pride was.  When I was in sixth grade, I saw a book entitled Gay Pride with a shirtless man on the cover, and I remember thinking, “That doesn’t make sense.” Gay pride didn’t make sense to me because at that time, I thought being gay was something of which to be ashamed.  The first time I attended Pride, I realized it wasn’t about being proud of being gay. Pride is about being proud of who you are–whoever that is–without having to feel ashamed.

I was also surprised the first time I heard the phrase “Happy Pride.”  Used in much the same way we might say “Merry Christmas,” I think this greeting really legitimizes the holiday-like celebration Pride is.  I think in many aspects of American culture we’ve forgotten how to celebrate things.  We’ve also forgotten how to be a part of a community.  What Pittsburgh’s Pride controversy really says is there are many different people active in the community who care about it and are willing to work on improving it.  I don’t think I could even say the same for the people who live on my street. Most of them don’t know one another and don’t go out of their way to exchange greetings.  At pride, the greeting “Happy Pride” is used very freely, and it reminds us we are all part of a community.  Hopefully that catches on.  Happy Pride!

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