This time, we’re talking about LGBT Pride Season. Check it out and then join the convo on Facebook.
Janani: Hey everyone I’m Janani, Assistant Editor of Black Girl Dangerous.
Mia: And I’m Mia, Founder of Black Girl Dangerous.
Janani: And this is QTPOC Chat where we talk about topics that are interesting to us and hopefully also interesting to you. We invite you to continue the conversation over facebook with us after you watch the video. So, today we’re talking about Pride.
Mia: It’s Pride month, here in Oakland and in many places .
Janani: Yeah all over the world now. World Pride is happening this year, it’s happening in Toronto. Because there’s a global gay identity apparently.
Janani: Yeah it’s not like it had anything to do with colonialism.
Mia: So Pride. So we’re going to share some of our thoughts about Pride. I’ll start. I’m not all that into it. My experiences with pride: w hen I was young, first coming out, I went to Pride sometimes in Philly where I’m from or in Pittsburg where I went to college. I don’t think I got anything out of it except drunk.
Mia: Yeah I got drunk and hung out with my friends. But I got drunk and hung out with my friends like every weekend.
Janani: But you were extra proud about it.
Mia: Yeah I was extra proud to do it in June. You know but it always had this feeling of like you know whiteness would just like abound. White gay maleness was oozing out of every possible orifice of the earth. And that was sort of Pride. You know with their junk really tight in their speedos. So I never really connected to it very much at all. And then as I got older, you know the corporatization, the Bank of America sponsorship, the constant HRC presence. You know just all this stuff that I identified with as being not my kind of queer. Not my kind of, the kind of like queerness that I exist in which is a very brown, very radical, very non-corporate sort of a queer existence…feels very separate from Pride and so it’s not really my thing.
Janani: Yeah, so my friend Shelley (Hey Shelley!) came up with a term especially for this month: ‘observe and swerve’. That’s sort of my strategy for Pride right now. I just sort of ignore it. Like yeah I know everyone is out their with their motorcycles and Bank of America banners. And I’m just going to hide in my room, go to the QTPOC events that exist this month because happily people have put up some sort of fronts of resistance. And yeah I’m going to support my community doing the things that they’re doing and let everyone else do their thing over there.
Mia: What about Pride feels for you like something you’re not that into?
Janani: Besides the white gay maleness. Actually the general aura of spectacle, lot of POC on spectacle especially when it comes time to have drag stages or performers or whatever it is, the aura of intense substance use. Which is whatever, people should be able to make those choices, but it seems like that’s the only way to participate in the community. I think specifically for queer youth. As someone who just turned 21, Pride was not even something I could participate in until this year because everything that was “worth going to” would happen after hours at a bar. And so it just has a very exclusive space that has a very particular bent to it. It’s not about building political coalition anymore, at least not the mainstream Pride events. They’re not about resistance and Gay Liberation Front and internationalism which is what this movement was rooted it. It’s become this Bank of America and State Department sponsored project of building a gay identity so that America can claim it’s super progressive and recolonize places all around the world.
Mia: Yeah for me it falls into sort of the same kind of category as you know like gay marriage. The whole gay marriage yay thing. The whole like super mainstream, super like ‘these are the people who get to be visible’ kind of a conversation.
Mia: You know, and I think the reality of it, to me it seems at least the ways that I’ve experienced it is those same people, that same kind of culture of super duper mainstream gayness that I don’t feel connected with. But you know I think there are people, particularly young folks just coming out who, you know I’m fortunate to live in Oakland, I’m fortunate to have always lived in big cities mostly and so I know that there are people who don’t have access to any kind of gay community at all and those people need and for those people having any access to that is super important. I’m not saying that that’s not ok, that’s great, do your thing, just for me it doesn’t feel connected. And I hope that people who you know are in places where they don’t have access to gay community I still think that it behooves them and all of us to try to find better ways or try to find alternatives to that mainstream corporate gayness.
Janani: Which is also expensive to access and exist in and party with.
Janani: You know I would really like to think critically as—I wouldn’t put myself in the category of adult ally yet—but I’m at a stage where I have access to a lot of QTPOC community and I think more than anything my goal is to start working on building queer youth spaces that alternatives to pride and support people who are already doing that also. What you were saying it’s not that these folks don’t have politics and are totally assimilative, it’s just that this is the only access that exists. So building up alternatives, whatever that looks like, supporting folks who are already building those alternatives for youth and other folks who are really sort of not currently enveloped in community.
Mia: Ok. That’s what we have to say?
Mia: That’s what we have to say about Pride.
Janani: Feel free to continue the conversation over Facebook and if you have any other thoughts feel free to submit them to us in a video, a blog post, whatever you got. Till next time.
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