So it’s Pride Month.
There is a part of me that has never quite understood the whole notion of Pride events. You are who you are. You should be okay with that. Why do you need a parade and a manifesto?
The part of me that doesn’t understand all that? That part of me is what we call “the privileged part.”
Because when you get right down to it, I am pretty much the poster child for privilege in this country. I’m a straight white middle-class cis-male, more or less able bodied, well educated, reasonably articulate, at least nominally a member of the dominant religion, and conversant in all of the major sports to some degree or another.
The thing about privilege is that it makes things easier. Doors are open for me that aren’t open to others. Most of the people with power in this country look more like me than not. If there is a doubt to get the benefit of, that benefit will be mine.
Perhaps most tellingly, I never have to explain myself to anyone. I never have to justify my existence to anyone. I am, in fact, the default standard by which people are judged in this country.
And just for the record, you have no idea how goofy I find that notion, living inside my head the way I do.
But there it is.
The simple fact is that I don’t need a Pride event because nobody has ever told me that I shouldn’t be proud of what I am. Nobody has ever tried to make me feel bad about what I am and they wouldn’t succeed if they did because that’s the armor privilege gives to you.
There are far too many people in this country who cannot say that. Whose lives are made more difficult because of the privilege afforded to me.
There are far too many people in this country who are constantly being told that they should feel bad about who they are because of what they are, or more directly what they are not. Because they’re not straight. Because they’re not white. Because they’re not middle class. Because they’re not cis-males. Because they’re not privileged. Because they’re not, well, one or more of any number of damn-fool criteria that the simpleminded use to define themselves as Not Them.
Fuck that. There is no Them. There is only Us, in all of our diversity.
This is a lesson that we seem to be doing our best to forget here in this petit-Fascist time we live in, when the political and cultural war on being female, being poor, being non-white, being LGBTQ+, being anything other than the cardboard cutout poster child that I am, in other words, is in full swing.
It’s a costly forgetting, one measured in lives. People die because of this, and this fact should never be forgotten. People die because they are told they don’t matter, in ways large and small, every day of their lives, until they believe it themselves or until some idiot decides to believe it for them and acts on that.
So it’s Pride Month.
And for whatever it may be worth to anyone, I say good for that. It’s not really my call to make, of course. But good for that anyway.
If you are being told that you don't matter because you are not precisely like the privileged, know that this is pure unadulterated nonsense. You are loved as you are. You matter as you are.
It’s Pride Month. Be proud.