This year marked the 12th annual Pride Week in Peterborough.
As these MGSRI (marginalized gender/sexuality/romantic identities, a fairly inclusive alternate to LGBTQA) focused events are becoming more common, especially in urban areas, some cisgender and heterosexual members of society seem to feel that they have become defunct and are unnecessary.
Especially in areas where same-sex marriage is legal, many seem to feel that equality has been reached and this apparent awareness that pride week promotes isn’t needed.
Furthermore, some people even go as far to say Pride Week is simply an obnoxious display of MGSRI people flaunting their identity in order to make cis, straight individuals uncomfortable.
Obviously, this sentiment is ignoring the fact that the other 51 weeks of the year is essentially just a barrage of heteronormativity and ciscentric “pride” being plastered across society.
Some people have gone as far as saying heterosexuality awareness month should be celebrated, which can be found on Facebook, predictably.
The assumption that pride is about awareness brings up the question of what pride is actually about.
The thing is, for many people attending Pride events, awareness isn’t their goal. Pride, for many MGSRI, is about acceptance and community.
We live in a heteronormative society, where this ideology permeates our culture. From simply seeing straight couples in publics, to most films featuring heterosexual protagonist, unless that is it’s a “gay” film, to advertising blatantly forcing the viewers to partake in some sort of assumed heterosexual male gaze.
Anything beyond this is often only found in small niches and safe spaces (which even then can still be exclusive and even dangerous to some) who still manages to have heteronormativity shoehorned in some way, helping to placate the “allies.” However, Pride week is less about shoehorning allies in as much as they can, but more about including people across the MGSRI spectrum.
Events catering to many orientations and identities were featured, including live entertainment, films, workshops, and general outreach, as well as events covering issues that are of particular concern to MGSRI such as sexual violence and HIV were featured in this years pride week.
Events such as the “Some of my Best Friends are Dildos: Sex Toys 101” can be noted for being especially trans friendly, featuring stand-to-pee devices and packers amongst others.
This inclusiveness, from across the MGSRI spectrum, is what Pride Week is about.
The other 51 weeks of the year, discussions on binders and queer-friendly STI prevention rarely exist outside safe spaces.
Pride is when people can come together and learn from one another, forming a community where they aren’t simply an anomaly in a heteronormative society, but one where there’s people who can understand and relate with them.
Growing up surrounded with ciscentrism and heterosexuality, it’s a relief, even if it is only for a week, for these typical views to allow alternatives to present themselves.
Of course, contrary to what seems to be popular heterosexual belief, MGSRI doesn’t dominate society at this time, it simply shares the space.
Going to a movie theatre will still result in most of the films featuring cisgender, heterosexual protagonist, straight couples will still be out in public and advertising will still be catering to heterosexual men.
But for MGSRI at least we have a week where we feel like society isn’t trying to sweep us under the rug.