It's the time of the season for Pride Fests. All over this country and certain parts of the world the GLBT community is coming out into the streets to march with pride. As you may recall from my previous post about the "pride" event in NYC, I have chosen to no longer partake.
I feel what has contributed to this feeling is that I have an experience that showed me the fabulous potential for these "pride" events. In 1987 I traveled with Lavender Light, a GLBT gospel choir to the 2nd national GLBT pride march on Washington D.C. Lavender Light would perform at several key events, including the rally on the great lawn.
Ok, ok I know that I'm comparing a National event with a Local event. I'm well aware of the disparity between resources, funding, and purpose. Now with that said, whether big or small, it's not what you got but how you use it.
To me that National march should be a template for all other marches happening in NYC or Knoxville, TN. It was the ideas of this event, I want to applaud and remind us what a pride events can do for the LGBT community.
- POLITICAL ACTION: You couldn't spend your weekend at this event without encountering information provided on voter registration, political views of elected officials in your community, and advice on how to organize a grassroots action locally.
- USEFUL INFORMATION: Whether it concerned, health, marriage, financial advisement, and spiritual well-being, there were events, symposiums and lectures that presented speakers that would give you food for thought.
- MULTI-CULTURAL CELEBRATION: The arts highlighted all of the talents of the diverse people of the GLBT community. They had poetry slams, musical concerts, theater, visual arts, and dance that showcased the expressions of various voices from the community. All you had to do was sit back and enjoy.
- SPIRIT: At this march I met people from just about every state and the overwhelming mood was love, joy and pride. I credit this vibe to the organizers, because they created an event that focused on a higher-purpose.
I know many of the pride events strive to create elements that reflect, what I found amazing about the national march in 1987. But, what I find in most of the advertising and promotion are smooth muscle boys half-naked. What I see in the NYC event is corralling of the thousands of people through the NYC streets, which results in people focused on getting to point A while not really looking at each other, or even stopping to reflect on what the day can give to them mentally or spiritually.
Maybe I'm jaded. But, I've talked to several of my friends about their pride experiences and no one has ever shared with me a thought that was connected to some reflection. No one has told me about an experience at the event the inspired them to take some sort of action. What I hear is "I hooked up with this hot piece.", "Ay, it was too hot and crowded for my nerves."
I'm gonna spend this pride month thinking about what I can do to help bring back the spirit of the D.C. March to my community. It would be lame for me to just sit back and complain. I'll keep you posted.