A little while ago on twitter, some men were waxing on about women and whether they should or shouldn’t have the right to choose abortion. My opinion on this is to keep whatever it is to myself, albeit if just to say to the blokes: Unless you’re the father of the unborn foetus – you have no place passing your pointlessness to that ‘debate’ at all.
It’s not your womb. It’s not your body. It’s none of your business.
This weekend, Gay Pride festivals happened around the States and most of Europe1. Apple’s CEOtook part in San Francisco, the Boy Scouts of America became first-time marchers in NYC, 26 000-strong celebrated in Singapore, and Celebrity Grand Marshal George Takei paved the parade’s path through the streets of Seattle. The occasion for people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way. Fundamentally, it is one day in the year that each and every LGBT individual has the choice, the forum and the right to be just who they truly feel to be – and do it just how they feel to do it.
All is fair in love and war
Yes, these events will draw commentary from both the pertinent and the peanut gallery, and Social Media gives everyone the platform to air theirs. Most of the time, it sounds something like oh my God they should just get over it and carry on with life. Carry on with whose life? With whose understanding of how life should be? Whichever way the challenging goes, it should be brave enough to engage in dialogue – not simply sprout monologue.
When it comes to (previously) persecuted ‘minorities’2 – the right to be heard must sit with them, first. This was Black people in an apartheid-era South Africa (and worldwide, still); Homosexuals throughout the ages (worldwide – and still); Jewish nationalities long before and since the Hitler era… and… sadly, too many other horrifying examples to mention here.
Enter objectioning about the need for Pride in contemporary society – by Straight people. This will send some frantic and fiery opinions into deliberation, just as it would were a White person to mouth-off about a Black-perspective on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of Apartheid.
Everyday enmity is a seriously lazy habit.
So on behalf of me and my jazz-hands horde, let me have a shot at why we still need Gay Pride:
With regards to what follows: I have redacted the name of the digital agency concerned – not because I think that they deserve to be sheltered from the naming-and-shaming (because they shouldn’t be), but because there are individuals that have worked /are working there that do not subscribe to the same views. These people should not– and do not deserve to be lumped in with the accepted behaviours of the body.
On my last day of working there – as had become custom – I sent the following farewell email:
** Responses: None.
Earlier that week, I’d written a shorter ‘farewell’ message on a window (where people regularly wrote with dry-wipe markers, erased and replaced as/when/where necessary).
** Responses: One.
Is this how an evolved sanity signs off?
Nah, usually not… But still, as a spectator, you cringe before leaning-in closer to see what happens next, right?
Ergo – we still need the Pride parade.
As I left the building with shames, shade, shame-ons and sads, I sent that pic to the company with the subject “PS” – and the body text: “Thanks for the memories.”
** Responses: One.
Now… wait— is this a sanity-evolved? Hard to say. And given my own manner for quick-mouthing, I couldn’t suggest this guy hold his thoughts until he’d collected some more. Still, I had hoped for more from someone I’d gotten to know a bit about (who had his own history of hurting as far as human relations go), and that maybe he might have held back a little longer than 24-minutes before so bravely hitting ‘reply-all’ — on a digital platform, at the country’s top digital agency — with such confident closure.
** Responses: One.
Mine – privately to him (yes, I get the irony in that none of this is private anymore).
No longer private indeed – and fittingly so. You see, bullies are only brave in a bunch. It was tacitly-thick there and bred like a bonfire. But when expressive about my upset, my deserting doubter said:
“There’s more to life than worrying about them,
and worrying about that shit!”
He wasn’t wrong. But I often wonder if he ever told any of them that, too?
Responses / acknowledgments (to date of publishing this post) from any of the head honchos? Nada
Rash responses: One (above)
Outpouring of disgust and dissatisfaction at such distaste from those consulted? Overwhelming:
a Partner at Fasken Martineau
Seniors at Habari Media
a Business Division Consultant/Head at Absa
my friends and family – and their friends and family
It’s seriously sad. Especially when I think that I wrote the new mission statement for this agency and how now, it’s safe to say that I went from: This is hot — to — uh… I kinda like it — to — Hold up! I’m a little confused here… — to — None of this adds up?!? — to — What a load of bullshit.
They’re about to announce their merger with one of the world’s most progressive agencies, and I have to wonder how the small minds will fare among the bigger ones when they Ogle all the different characters they will have to cohabit with… Fact is: the ratios are going to be reversed.
All the best.
And c‘est la vie.
Because you simply can’t win them all. On a random Monday, you may be forced to realise that the wave of the witless is wide when a complete stranger – so radically outside of my every-gay life – be so upfront in suggesting Pride be unnecessary because Gay people should ‘blend in’ rather than celebrate their liberties:
That would be a seriously lazy habit.
So thanks Laetitia, but no.
I am Gay.
I am 36.
And I have never participated in a Pride parade or any of the after parties.
But I could do if or when I choose to – and that’s what’s pertinent and poignantly important to me.
Because I am Gay.
It is not all that I am…
…but it is all that I am.
And there are lots of us.
Our differences don’t make us disgusting or deserving of defamatory vitriol or aggressive graffiti.
But it happens. Just like when gullible guys genuinely believe that their opinion on abortion is ace.
…with several deep breaths, I can say for sure that I know this: one man’s torment is another man’s tea break, and what’s sore to me may just be satire to you.
So the only merit I see in outsiders’ questions around Pride’s rightful place in contemporary society, is in why we waited to accept this anointed ‘permission’ by the other, just to go on, exactly as we were, with our blood pumping as it always has been?
Parched is the man whose passion to pump blood depends on the permission of another…
…and there lies that fine line between Worrier and Warrior.
Indeed, the occasion for people to promote and proclaim their self-affirmation, dignity and equal rights has come a long way… but it’s not that we don’t need to celebrate what we have always been…
…it’s that we shouldn’t have had to wait to be told when we could.