The need for Pride

Hi,

This year sees the fiftieth anniversary of Pride in the UK. I’ve listened and read to the interviews of those who were there. Bless them, what an amazingly brave thing to do back in the 70s as well. 🏳️‍🌈 Hearing from people who managed to gather their courage and go to a Pride event or gay venue for the first time, that was really moving.

Yup, still in the closet

I also, felt a touch of guilt around Pride. What I mean is, I don’t go to the one in the city and represent Chameleons. I help run the group, I run outreach Q&A sessions, I help organisations update their policies, I try to help parents who email the group, blah de blah blah, etc; but I don’t walk down the street helping hold up the banner. I feel I should, but I’m worried about my family’s privacy and safety.

The other stuff I do, well, those involved have been kind enough to share how it helps – and please, don’t think this is trumpet blowing or humble brag nonsense 🙁 – it’s not. It’s more that… it’s that I might be able to walk down the street in Lynn mode, but I’m struggling to balance family life with what I feel I should be doing publicly to help try and keep things progressing. Particularly in pushing back against the weekly nonsense being written about people like me, or, more worryingly, people like our son.

I wondered if being out at work would help? Help, as in normalise being genderfluid, even if I’m always in Richard mode (feel feel to have a laugh at me being ‘normal’, it’s fine 🙂). Maybe be more active in the organisation’s LGBTQ network? Although there’s that worry about stepping on peoples’ toes by trying to get involved. Sheesh, this is complex.

Perhaps, all I can do, is – other than try not to beat myself up about what I’m not doing – but keep doing what folk are asking for help with. Sure, it’s leaning on an open door, but isn’t it better to get those who want help, than try to change those who are dead against ‘those people’? 🤔

It seems that right now, Pride and the support from allies is more important than ever. The inaction and, in certain areas, wilful ignorance in our current government, is allowing a hostile environment to grow. As with the last round of media scapegoating (2016), now it’s the turn for another moral panic to distract the public from what’s going on in Westminster.

So, next time someone starts on about ‘why do they need Pride?‘, the answer might well be, until we’re equal.

L x

10 Comments

  1. Blimey, you do more than enough for the trans community with all your other activities so you aren’t obliged to wear yourself out or, above all, jeopardise your anonymity with society and family just because there’s something else to do. Guilt and shame are instilled in us simply because we are different and then it spills over into feelings that we aren’t being good/loyal/hardworking enough. You do more than enough for one person, Lynn.
    As for Pride being necessary, I’m afraid it is now as much as ever. I had felt a few years ago that Pride was becoming a party that anyone could join and if you went to London Pride or Brighton Pride it was full of families and straights who were just there for a jolly day with the fun and flamboyant gay people who are happy and it’s all a nice day out and maybe the world was becoming really accepting and glad we were gay, as it were. But the open hate that it’s now deemed acceptable to express in the UK and in the US in particular makes these events as necessary now as they were 50 years ago.
    Sue x

    1. Thank you, Sue. I guess, it’s wanting to do more (maybe), hoping doing something might push back against the tsunami of lies and uninformed opinion written about us.

      I am still really split on not looking or trying to avoid the nonsense, or being informed to know what is being done to our community.

      As Mark Twain said “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.”

      As to Pride, I’ve not been so I can’t comment on what they’re actually like. I don’t mind the idea of allies, families with LGBTQ+, or supportive organisations. However, I don’t look kindly at companies or individuals looking to gain money or exposure. There may be a Pride month, but acceptance, support, and working towards LGBTQ rights is a full time gig, IMO.

  2. I think I should repeat back at you the same thing you said to me when I first pondered coming out at work around the end of last year. You advised caution. Not to rush in because you felt you had to, or owed it to someone, or to some ideal, and to only take that step when and if I was fully comfortable with it and with the possible consequences.
    As you know, I did eventually do it, but in baby steps, and only to a handful of people. (I’m dropped some massive hints since that I am probably more than just an ally, but again, only in safe spaces.)
    What I’m saying is, just because you are trans, you don’t need to, and shouldn’t feel you have to put yourself on the front line. You already do more than most with the blog, Chams, outreach an Q&A sessions. If nothing else, you have played a huge part in helping me come to a place where I’m comfortable with who I am and what that means.
    As far as for the visible, street party aspect of the Pride marches go, I am in two minds. I don’t feel ‘proud’ about being trans, but I no longer feel it’s something to be scared or ashamed of. It’s who I am and even it is is a case of ‘too little, too late, at this point in life, I can now be at ease with it. And maybe the visibility of Pride and Pride month, especially in the last few years, helps with that, for which I should be grateful even if I’m not yet ready to march with a banner.

    1. “I think I should repeat back at you the same thing you said to me…”

      I must have had my coffee that morning, Susie 🙂 In fairness, and not wanting to cheapen or ‘laugh off’ you kind words, yes. I think you are right. Sometimes, the ‘want’ to act needs a bit of exploration.

      If I put on my coaching hat, a person ‘in drama’ (upset, in crisis, cross, etc) is not in a place to do that. That may explain why it’s now Tuesday before I could reply.

      I think the heart of it, is… well, multi dimensional. There’s wanting to protect Child 2.0; protect the community I’m part of; not wanting to see LGBTQ rights rolled back; I want to feel safe if I go out; and, perhaps here’s the key: I want the pain to stop. I want there to be less hate and lies written about trans people. Currently, at best it’s a constant low level stink that pervades modern life. At worst, people are under attack – bashings, street intimidation, Twitter pile ones, or people menacing us.

      Hello, minority stress model.

  3. You have nothing to feel guilty about Lynn, from what you’ve written you already do enough for trans folk. I can understand your concerns about your family’s privacy and security though, that’s perfectly normal thinking.

    Some sound advice from Susie regarding coming out at work, caution is definitely the key word. I told a couple of close work colleagues about my crossdressing a few years back and nothing as ever been said since. However in hindsight I do wish I’d have never of said anything to them because now the genie is out of the bottle, there is always a niggling worry about others finding out via them .

    Best Wishes

    Lotte x

    1. Thank you, Lotte. Yes, you can’t ‘untell’ someone. It’s a bit of a risk analysis (if you pardon the corporate bobbins) when you think through how it might go.

      A few years back at work, I ‘came out’ to a large team about my depression; partly to explain why I wasn’t always as helpful as I could be, and to apologise to anyone who’d taken the brunt of that. It was the reason, but not as excuse.

      Afterwards, a number of folk emailed me saying they’d had similar issues, but felt they couldn’t talk about it yet.

      That was probably ten years ago or more, and while mental health is not the same as being trans. I think there’s some similarities. Perhaps genderfluid or non-binary folk aren’t yet able to be open about who they are. Linking that back to the mental health story, there’s judgement, worry about getting pushed out the door, etc. However, acceptance for mental health has improved massively in the last decade. While dangerous myths and lazy stereotypes exist about people with mental health issues remain, I’m not saying the same vitriol written about them. Perhaps it’s there, but I’m not seeing it.

  4. For the amount that you do, I think you have every right to ‘blow your own trumpet’

    The fact that your blog gets the awards that it does, shows that you have got something right .

    You’re an asset be proud of that

  5. Thanks Anon. I write what I write to share with others and hear how they’ve found things. That and ‘if I can, you certainly can’ as well.

    The Vuelio Top Ten list – ignoring YATGB for a mo – features a number of LGBTQ+ bloggers who’ve been writing about their experiences. Well worth a look, IMO.

    The other link…. I’m tired over as they feature an anti-trans blog. It feels like looking at a list of Black Lives Matter writers and seeing some anti immigrant nonsense as ‘an alternative view’. In yoof speak: nah, fam 😉

  6. You seem to be doing plenty 🙂

    Me, I just run gateway admin on Facebook. That’s it really.

    As for Pride: I’ve not been since 2019. Okay, I don’t actually know whether there’s been one since then. Not in 2020 I guess. But anyway, Tania with her big flag can almost represent everyone on her own 😉

    1. Maybe it’s a point of view thing? You say ‘just run’, but there’s other things as well. At least, from someone outside looking in.

      I’ve not seen or spoken to Tania in years. Hopefully she’s getting on okay.

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