MY FAMILY FRIENDLY PRIDE
I used to celebrate pride - and the gayer I’ve become, I stopped.
When my life wasn’t so implicitly queer it was important to have a day that could draw it out. As if watching and cheering at displays of affection would substitute for my own desire.
One day to be ‘proud’ - so that the others could stay shame.
Like some strange form of purge that contained glitter, rainbows, half-naked men - a removal from reality into fantasy even in imagery, like gay must exist in a different reality - one made up. The day was starlit with a crude kind of potential that felt kind of painful, some strange sort of expecting; I had misplaced what I would later understand as queer longing.
QUEER AS JOURNEY NOT DESTINATION
For me at the side watching floats was a ‘safe’ way to engage in queerness - watching shiny and meaningless beacons of capitalism ride through central london was a queerness I couldn’t engage in.
That’s what makes pride so ‘not gay’. Engaging in desire is not a safe feeling. It's an unravelling and a leaving of something that you never really had. It's grieving for a reality you don’t even want.
The lack of engagement is what makes it so safe for hets to swoop in and take the day for themselves. It’s what pains me so much too because I can’t choose it for a day - we’ve lost a lot to get here - that's why we make our spaces so beautiful and sacred - why they house so much joy - because it takes the place of great loss.
In my life now - I’ve never seen my friends in glitter blowing rainbow whistles; it’s more black fetish gear, sniffing poppers.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PRIDE
In opposition to all the above, or in spite of all the above - I’m throwing a ‘family friendly’ pride this year.
I wont be de-sexualising queerness or filling my house with merch - but trying to find a softness, to lay a table.
A day that's proud like you want your parents to be; that kind of pride.
Whilst queer hedonism has my heart, it will never be able to fix the table that wasn’t set for me or fill me with the pride I wasn’t given.
I've never left a club at 6 am feeling proud, nor had anyone tell me they are and really meant it. Mostly it has just added to the shame.
Is coming to pride this year for the first time.
I find myself attempting to shelter my queer younger sibling from the world against queers but also from queerness itself at the same time.
I want to fill the lack that I felt - of family, elders, softness, care.
I want her Queer to be something delicate, something sweet and supported. I want it to be wild and bold and beautiful. I want it to be utterly her own and no one else’s.
I want her to find sober love and never have to have a drink before kissing a girl. I want queerness to be something she never has to shallowly and somewhat self- disgustedly wade into on drunken nights in dirty bars.
I never want her queerness to make her think that she is bad. A delinquent in the good ways and not the damning.
I want her to never question how much love she deserves and to eat guilt in her sleep.
I want her to have a life that doesn’t feel loss or like she’s given it all up to give in. I don’t want her to feel worthless and party it all away.
I want her to know that Gay isn’t just sex but that it can be great sex, and a great life too.
My queerness is slowly developing into something that doesn’t have to be so selfish. my queerness had to be selfish for a time.
Desire is an often singular and self-motivated pursuit. It doesn’t leave much in its destruction of what it needs in search of fulfilment. You have to take society and yourself totally apart so that you can learn the parts worth keeping or not.
Sisterhood - especially older sibling-hood - can be a form of mothering. I thought my queerness meant I would never be a mother but as I grow I’ve learnt it means I’ll be a mother to many.
So for the first year I’ll have pride without a party - I will cook some real food for some real people I love. I’ll create a space I’ve struggled to find for myself. Somewhere queer can be quiet and proud can mean parent pride. I’ll look to the gays partying away and love them for it - but try to prove maybe more to myself - that queer can be soft and sweet too -