Opinion

The Power of Pride

Reem Wasay
Written by Reem Wasay

With Auckland Pride over, we decided to take a look at exactly what this Festival means to our Rainbow community and how important it is for the tradition to continue.

There’s a reason it’s called Pride. There’s a reason the emblem of this annual festival is girdled in the colours of the rainbow, the defiant, always animated six shades of a prism that is the light after the storm.

That storm swept away society’s imposed shame and humiliation on Saturday 28 June 1969 when the LGBT+ community came out in rioting droves, outraged by the police raid at Stonewall Inn, a popular retreat in New York for the marginalised and culturally penalised – in other words, our queer and trans family.

It was to become a day that marked the end of hiding in closets, the end of not coming out. Pride was born because it re-ticks designated boxes, it fits in the forgotten outliers, the jeered at and the misunderstood.

Pride isn’t just a lexicon – it is a feeling. It isn’t just a term – it is an attitude. Pride signals a reprieve from antiquated social mores, not being about acceptance anymore – those little scraps of tolerance thrown in charity – but being about rights, a way of life, an adjustment for the rest of the world into the conventions and culture of a people who have for too long been dubbed a sub group.

Pride is powerful and it is relentless. It isn’t just a festival of carnival couture and loud fashion. It is a beating drum to the victory march of hundreds of thousands across the world, who have left the ‘comfort’ of a confined and conventional life less ordinary to rally around their sexuality, to cry foul against the hetero assault on normality and to acknowledge that they still have such a long way to go.

Commemorating its history and its rebellion, the LGBT+ community has brought colour, change and a sentimental kind of brilliance to the narration of its struggles. It’s been a tough year for all sorts of diminished denominations on the minority scale.

It’s become a time of isolation, prejudice, fear and intimidation – exactly the kind of hostility and avarice felt that Saturday morning in 1969. Whether a woman, gay, transgender, gender neutral or non-Christian, the world is moving towards becoming a discriminating, foreboding place once again.

It’s the kind of place that could use a little Pride, a little Pride for who we are, what we stand for and where we want to go. Not just for one designated month but for Every. Damned. Day. Of. The. Year.

Article | Reem Wasay

About the author

Reem Wasay

Reem Wasay

Tempo Dance Festival BANNER 15 October 2017