Imagine my surprise when I realized that this upcoming weekend is a long one due to Canada Day [July 1]. Imagine my continued surprise when I found out that not only is this weekend Pride Weekend, but that it actually coincides with the national holiday more often than not.
I’ve been in Toronto for the past six or so summers, and it really has taken it this long for the latter to dawn on me; that’s in spite of the fact that this city hosts one of the largest gay pride festivals on the planet. We have an entire week dedicated to celebrating LGBT people, an event that has one of the most user-friendly websites I have ever laid eyes on.
I’ve been thinking, and right now, more than ever, we are moving towards a world that accepts people of every orientation. I don’t even keep up with a lot of the news and even I know that DOMA, the Defence of Marriage Act, was recently ruled unconstitutional. Can you believe that in many parts of America same-sex couples were allowed to get married but were still not able to receive and share the same benefits that heterosexual couples did? People are working to fix that!
If we continue on this path it’s inevitable that we will one day live in a world where homosexuality is no longer, how do I say this . . . odd? There’s an ad for Preferred Partners, a gay dating site, in the subway station I get off of every day for work, and it has two women smiling with their arms around each other. I find this particularly disturbing, because they’re wearing the exact same shade of purple, and what kind of couple does that?
One day homosexuality will be, for lack of a better word, normal. Both same-sex and heterosexual couples will be present on television and film and no one will boycott the companies creating this media, or threaten to burn down a studio. When this time finally comes, what will happen to Pride Week?
As I took the subway home from work today I asked my gay co-worker [and friend] what he thought about Pride Week. He told me that it was an opportunity for people to express themselves fully, in part because they felt they were unable to in their day-to-day lives. There was a component of celebrating what made them different, while also taking heart in the fact that they were able to do so with others who were the same.
But what about when gay people are, the world over, allowed to simply be themselves without fear of judgement? What about when to be gay is simply to just be a person? “Pride” is the opposite of “shame,” but what about when being gay is no longer something that people are made to feel ashamed of?
Obviously this is a point that is years and years in the future. DOMA’s overturning was a huge step, but the fact that it even needed to happen at all just shows how much further we have to go. It will be decades before the hatred that stems from a faith tempered and born of persecution fades and makes way for the love that it preaches, and as a Christian I cannot wait until we get there.
I just wonder if there’s a time when homosexuality will be as commonplace as heterosexuality in that no one will pay it any mind, and whether or not we will need Pride Week in such a time. In a way I think that Morgan Freeman’s sentiments about Black History Month echo my thoughts on this subject:
He intimates that in spite of centuries of persecution African-Americans do not require the month of February to call attention to and honour their past accomplishments; “relegating [his] history to a month” creates an us-them relationship. I understand that the two are very different, but I can imagine a prominent homosexual announcing that they didn’t feel any need for Pride Week, shocking audiences and making the interviewer more than a little uncomfortable.
I don’t know whether or not I’ll be heading downtown to see or take part in the Pride festivities [I never have in the past], but whether or not I do they’ve caused me to think a lot about a future that the people reading this may never even see. What does a future that wholly accepts homosexuality look like, and is there room for a Pride Week on that calendar?