TQC: Do Pride Parades still have relevance to young gay people?


Photo of the 2012 Peterborough Pride Parade by Tori Silvera

I was in the middle of a rousing game of Jenga and a rousing beer.

I was at the TQC games night and I thought the night had gone super well. Was going super well, damn it!

And then my friend ruined my mood. He showed me what the Examiner had managed to come up with for the Peterborough Pride flag raising.

And might I say my hopes were high! High I tell you! I expected great things from a website that also ran an article on “What do cheaters smell like?” and “Magic mushrooms may help smokers quit.” Clearly there was nothing but the very highest level of journalism Sun Media has going on there.

And then my friend broke the golden rule. He read the comments section.

What I witnessed, and have confirmed this morning as I type this, is a whole lot of sound and fury.

It’s all there, and what is worse is that the comments are now closed, so all I could do was scroll helplessly, just to be sure.

But I refuse to dwell on things like that. There will probably always be pathetic, sad people who hide behind their computer screen (she typed, from behind her computer) who’ll attack any target and treat their individual views as the universal truth on what makes a good human.

What I will discus before moving on will be my problems with the actual article.

The Examiner should not have framed this with the first line “Why do they still need parade?” (emphasis mine)

Can we all cringe a little bit with the use of “they”?

Sure, alright, the author clearly is not queer. Or if the author is queer and can’t say so in an article safely … well their question just got answered.

An article that was phrased “Do Pride Parades still have relevance to young gay people today?” would have been much more thoughtful, and more interesting.

All this one did was open the door for people to dismiss queers and the still-real struggles faced today (homelessness? Trans*misogyny? Violence? Peterborough’s hate crime rate? Racism within the community? Intersectionality?).

This article neatly “othered” queer people, thus reducing Peterborough Pride and any participants to a disgusting display of decadence and excess … No, really.

Nevermind the pride worship services. Nevermind the brunch. Nevermind that if people want to be decadent and excessive… why judge? Why not just enjoy positive queer spaces? Why rain on our parade?

I managed to speak to Rick Lambert about pride and some of the challenges it takes to host a pride event in this town.

Mostly, he said that different people and organizations want different things. Some people want party, some people want politics, some want both or neither.

I know, I know. Really at Trent we tend to think of it as “students” and “not students” and maybe “faculty”. But there are more people in Peterborough than it seems, and Pride (Lambert says) functions as a way to connect the students with a larger, more permanent community.

Rick acknowledges that you can’t please everyone, and Pride encourages other groups to use the space created by Pride week to—dare I say—further their own queer agenda?

Obviously, the people who think that “equality” just means “everybody gets married” will be displeased for the yearly reminder that they still need to make space for us rude lil’ queers.

You should probably come by City Hall on Saturday at 1:30 for pre-parade festivities, and then to Del Crary Park to see what Pride looks like in Peterborough.

This QR code will take you to even more pride events.

Pride QR Code