I’ve been hearing a lot of debates lately about why Pride gets a whole month to itself. To me, it is the most unimportant question when discussing Pride – but if people really want to question it, here’s my answer: because why not. Pride was not invented to convert people into being gay. It was not made to shove ideas down people’s throats. It is not some ploy for companies to make their money.
The pure essence of Pride is to feel liberated and proud of whatever and whoever you are. And I know coming from the generation I do, it’s easier for me to accept Pride. It’s so easy for me to look at these brave people that are so open with who they love, and admire them. But for other generations, it is hard. There’s a lack of acceptance. There is a lack of understanding and, unfortunately, a lack of respect. And changing this, changing the narrative of sexuality for the older generation, is hard. It is hard but not impossible.
If we accept that generations will never change, then Greta is fighting for nothing. The BLM movement is shouting at walls, and Malala might as well give up. If we accept that, just because it’s a new concept, it won’t be understood by certain age groups, we’re not only doing a disservice to ourselves but also to every other generation too.
Pride is not just a celebration. It is the best educational tool for people who are lacking information, empathy and understanding. Ireland celebrated its first Pride week in 1979. It began to highlight the oppression of the LGBTQI+ community in Ireland; but over time, it grew into so much more than that. Pride month became a time for people to be proud of who they were. It was time, given to people, to be proud of who they were. A celebration of love and bravery and just an openness to being your true self.
“Pride month every year encourages people to come out. Pride month every year gives people comfort in knowing that there are others who are struggling with their sexuality, just as they are.”
Every year, it paints towns and cities all colours of the rainbow. Every year it brings awareness to the mental health struggles of people in the LGBTQI+ community. Every year, it is spreading the message of love. Having the courage to love who you love and be who you are at your core is something that should always be celebrated. You cannot say that is not beautiful.
There is beauty is being proud of who you are. There is beauty in the rainbow colours people wear, and beauty in the walks of confidence throughout the parade. There is beauty in witnessing someone, who is struggling with their identity, finding Pride month as the comfort that gets them through it. There is beauty in seeing someone’s face when they finally have the courage to say, “I’m gay” or “I’m queer” or “I don’t know yet, but I’m figuring it out”. Because sexuality is spectrum, and we are all somewhere on that spectrum.
At the heart of it all, Pride’s beauty lies in its celebration of all. Anyone and everyone are asked to celebrate themselves and the people they love. And though it is a big step for some people to enter into a world they do not quite understand, it is a step that will only be celebrated. So yes, people may ask you why it gets a whole month, and if they do, you can simply answer a whole month isn’t long enough to celebrate them all. The LGBTQI+ community has fought for too long and too hard to not deserve a month to celebrate their authentic selves.
That is the beauty of Pride.
Featured photo created using Canva
This article was supported by: STAND Opinion Editor Olivia + Programme Assistant Rachel