Reflections On Pride: The Fallacy Of Assimilation

Jim Koury Editor/Publisher

June has arrived and with it a new pride season.  I recently attended pride festivities locally and it has compelled me to relay my current thoughts on what pride means to me.  I have not done so in a while since we were living in a political environment that was very friendly and sympathetic to our cause.  Pride celebrations took on more of a festive tone and were a celebration of our diversity and existence as individuals. Yes, the vileness related to the hate in one’s heart and their homophobia was always in the shadows, lurking, and in some instances reared its head in fatal ways.  But there was always a flame of hope that burned that things would get better because of a President that was a firm ally in the fight for LGBTQ rights.

Because of this more reassured tone that pride celebrations embodied, we began to see a greater acceptance of the LGBTQ individuals with actions being taken by our federal government to help facilitate society’s greater awareness of equality, and respect for diversity.  Because of this reassurance, it created a false sense of security in the minds of many queer activists.  Many were also going so far as to advocate the end to pride festivities and for LGBTQ people to make more of an effort to assimilate into mainstream society and not highlight our differences through very visible pride celebrations.

Since the current occupant in the White House arrived, this assimilation argument seems rather precarious, untenable, and quite unrealistic.  No longer do we have a President who supports our cause, and who cannot even bring himself to proclaiming June as Pride Month any longer.  Assimmalist queers who think we no longer need pride celebrations are as delusional and confused as Gay Republicans.

Pride celebrations are needed now more than ever.  Given the turbulent political environment that has been promulgated throughout the nation because of the change in administrations, there is no clear rational justification to continue clinging to a concept that is fading from credibility very fast.  In addition to denoting the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the empowerment of our individuality, and respect for diversity, pride celebrations must now take on a call for action.  There must be purposeful intent to highlight the urgency to stem the repulsive anit-LGBTQ efforts coming out of Washington.  Such efforts have spread to many state capitals because of the more emboldened support for the incendiary positions of the current administration that are intended to return the LGBTQ community to second-class status once again.  We cannot stand for this. We will NOT stand for it.

Discrimination in any form is unacceptable.  However, discrimination against a group of people in the name of religious liberty is abhorrent and harkens to the days of the civil rights movement when our black compatriots were denied service in public establishments, denied jobs, and housing because of institutionalized discrimination.  Current efforts by this administration in the name of religious liberty are promoting a return to some of the most shameful days of our history as a nation.

Given the dire political environment, we are now in, assimilist advocates should seriously consider putting their dream of becoming one with mainstream society on hold.  Granted, in the name of optimism, it could happen if the hate and vileness cast at us disappeared and diversity was fully and totally embraced. But we all well know this is unlikely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future since the evil in people’s hearts and minds will always exist. Hate is inbred into families polluting young minds to distrust and be repulsed by people that are different.

We are on a dangerous path as a nation, and we must stem the perversion of our American ideals and those of the LGBTQ community through vociferously loud pride celebrations throughout the land.  We must also hand this abhorrent government that insists on treating its citizens unequally, an electoral defeat like no other we have seen in recent memory.

The need to stand up and shout loudly that we are queer, we are here, and we are not going anywhere will always be necessary.  Be proud of who you are, and get to a pride celebration near you and make your voice heard in unison with the collective power of your LGBTQ brothers and sisters unified and strengthened in the call for mobilizing for action.

We can once again change the course of history as our predecessors did on that hot, summer night in NYC in 1969.  We must abandon the assimilist delusion and embody the power of those LGBTQ activists who have gone before us and who were responsible for many of the rights we have today.   Live it, breathe it, and summon it to charge forward to facilitate effective change and relegate the forces of hate that now run our country to but just a very bad memory of a very malevolent time in our history.

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