The High Life: This is Why we Pride


Written by Sherae O’Shaughnessy

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride celebrations and parades are the heartening demonstrations against bigotry and violence toward LGBT people, declaring equal rights, self love, community and acceptance of sexual diversity. An observance, a rite of passage and a damn good party, a carnival, a Mardi Gras and even a solemn observance of those who are denied the right to love whom they choose. A fiesta in honor of human life. And yet there are still those vehemently opposed to this fabulous event. Every party has a pooper, that’s why we’re inviting you!

The majority of Pride affairs occur annually and often in the month of June to commemorate the Stonewall riots, a crucial turning point for the gay community.

The 50s and 60s were an especially difficult time for homosexuals in our country. The Stonewall Inn is located in Greenwich Village, New York and was owned by the mafia. At a time when most businesses wouldn’t cater to gay folks, the business-minded mafioso said, “We don’t care what you do behind closed doors, come on in and drink our booze!” The Stonewall eventually became a safe harbor for discriminated-against individuals.

After years of suffering harassment, police raided the inn on the night of June 28, 1969. They were met by a band of empowered people feeling fed up and motivated to fight back. In the weeks that followed, Greenwich Village occupants formed activists groups fighting to establish rights for gays and lesbians so that they could live without fear of being arrested.

Alright, now that I’ve acknowledged that history, let me count the ways I love the gay community and wish to aid them in their quest for equality. I suppose I should start by explaining why I, a heterosexual human, would be heavily promoting Pride events.

Without straight allies, there wouldn’t be enough political power to overturn gay marriage bans and fight discrimination against the LGBT community. I consider myself a straight ally. I believe LGBT people face discrimination, and as a result are deprived of basic human rights. It is therefore my responsibility and my aspiration to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Because so long as you aren’t harming, robbing, degrading or killing people, I believe you should be free to co-habitate with whom your heart desires. Also, can we talk about weddings before gay marriage? Esh… Puffy sleeves, powdered blue tuxes, red carnations… Bonnets! The horror!

Homosexuality is still illegal in roughly 70 countries and is punishable by death in seven. Punishable. By death. This is unacceptable. I cannot fathom how anyone in their heart of hearts could consider death a reasonable punishment for same sex romance. Can you imagine if it were deemed appropriate to kill what we love? Jeff Bridges, Nutella and the Foo Fighters would’ve been executed long ago. That was a dumb joke. But my point is that this is why we Pride. To stand in support of, to fight in honor of, and to celebrate the inevitability of equality.

If you are so inclined, join us this September in Halvorsen Park in Eureka, California for a Humboldt Pride Parade and Festival celebrating, “We Are Queer History.” I have the extreme honor of emceeing this demonstration of the power of the human spirit.

You think it’s cool to hate things but it isn’t. It’s boring. Talk about what you love and keep quiet about the things you don’t.

Emerald contributor since March 2012


Your email address will not be published.