There has been claims that it is an issue between People of Colour vs. Caucasians, or Transgender vs. non-Transgender. There have been confrontations between people who identify as non binary vs. "cis" people. In essence what is supposed to be a community that uplifts and supports each other... has become a community of labels. We label and label and in doing so, I believe that we create friction.
The gay rights movement - Yes it is correct to say that - started in the 1950's to fight for basic fundamental human rights for gay men and women. There was one simple mantra used in the fight. "I am a Human Being" - later shortened to "I am human". One simple message, one binding fight - to be recognized as human beings. Nothing more, nothing less.
In those early years the fight was led by a courageous group of individuals who risked everything to fight to be recognized as human beings. They were Drag Queens - men in dresses. They led the charge and they did so not for fame, or glory, but for life.
These hero's came from all walks of life - rich and poor. They came from all cultural backgrounds - White, Black, Latin, Asian, First Nation, and others. They didn't see colour, or race, they simply saw people who like themselves, were struggling to survive. To not be jailed, or hospitalized simply because of who they loved.
Very few of those original freedom fighter are alive today. We lost countless during the AIDS crisis, most that survived AIDS have passed from this world. The few that remain have passed from our collective consciousness, even the ones who were once famed, are distant memories in this new modern community of ours.
I wonder what they would think, if they could see us today, of how we have done with the legacy that they have left us...
In the 1970's it became the Gay and Lesbian movement (gay women no longer wanted to be identified with men, thus the term lesbian became more commonplace), then as communities often do it continued to grow. We became the GLBT community, a slight change in the 2000's morphed us into the LGBT community. Today... we are the LGBTT2QQAAIPP community. What in theory should be a mosaic of culture and beauty has instead become a community of labels and frankly - conflict.
I don't know if it is because of the commercialization of pride festivals, or if it is because what was once a movement that focused on sexual orientation became about so much more, or if it is because we have spent so much time putting labels on everyone. No matter the cause, at the end of the day - we have lost the meaning of what pride is about.
I said it earlier, and it is not a popular thing for me or anyone to say, but this community was founded on the fight for the rights of people who's sexual orientation did not meet the boy-girl norm that existed in society. It was not about skin colour or gender. It was not about gender identity, gender expression, or differing sexual proclivity. Our movement was born of a desire to combat the hate and fear of others. Our community was born of the desire to have the same opportunity, and freedom, to live and to love.
And there it is. The real meaning of Pride.
"To have the same opportunity and freedom to live and to love".
You see we needed to fight hatred because hate can see things. Hate can see if we are different. Different Cultural background. Different gender. Different clothing. Different height. Different weight. Different sexual orientation. Different... anything.
Our community was hated because people did not understand. They feared our differences and in fearing them they hated us. They used, and still use, that hate to drive us apart. Right now those that seek to tear us down are relishing our internal conflict. It is easier to wipe us out when we are not united, and today, we are not united. We are vulnerable.
Our greatest weapon... is love. Love sees nothing but the soul. It sees our potential, our spirit, and our compassion. Love shields us from hate. Love embraces and enriches our lives. Love causes our minds to be open to possibility. Love drives unity and grace, it is the celebration of life and the greatest emotion all humans are capable of.
The true meaning of Pride is Love. The sooner we all, on both sides of every argument, remember it - the better off we will all be.
On August 18, 1958 a small group stood on the steps of the Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) Courthouse with signs that said simply "I am a Human Being". They only wanted to be able to love and live with dignity, freedom, and without fear. They were chased off, ridiculed, had rocks thrown at them - but they were undaunted and their passion for change created a movement that would change lives for generations.