This community is becoming a bit unwieldy.
Who are we, exactly?
The Lesbian, Gay, Bi Youth Line’s answering machine says the peer-counselling group offers a service “that affirms the experiences and aspirations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, two-spirited, queer and questioning youth in Ontario.”
The list is so long that the reader has to take a deep breath part way through.
A couple of student groups jumped on the bandwagon early, back in 1998, with their TBLG* Constituency Group. That’s pronounced “star,” and it’s to ensure that no one feels left out. Your particular initial might not be in here, but we still think and care about you.
One trans columnist refers to “Toronto’s women’s community (and I use this term inclusively to incorporate all trans and bio-genetic lesbians, butches, dykes, femmes, bisexuals, riot grrls and queers).”
All these groups and activists are good folk, work hard and accomplish a lot in and for our community. I admire them.
But the need to itemize each and every one of us will lead to the complete fragmentization of our community. (Next week, I will found the Lesbian Support Group For People Named Eleanor Brown – I have done a search on the Internet, and there just might be a handful of us around the world. After our first meeting, we will divide into sub-committees based on ethnicity, geography and middle initial.)
The Pride committee has dropped large chunks of its itemized list when referring to itself. I’m guessing it got just a tad unwieldy, and reality caught up. Identity politics only goes so far.
But not diversity – that’s healthy and exciting. Gay Asians Toronto needs to exist, as does Meal Trans, Supporting Our Youth and the Black Coalition For AIDS Prevention. Each has different priorities and interests, and we all need to support and learn from each other.
But what brings us all together is being gay. That’s where Pride comes in.
Pride is all about being yourself; there’s no stop signs anywhere. And that’s why Pride makes me so happy.
It’s about expressing yourself, hanging with friends, streaking (just to thumb your nose at the authorities, be they Pride or police prudes), marching about with the members of one of the groups to which you belong. It’s about reveling in your individuality, taking Pride in being Muslim, a top, a bondage fan, a senior.
It’s also about that one thing that brings us together; about how we can connect in our differences.
Pride is about building the fragile intimacy of community. Let’s keep building.
And a happy Pride to all!
Eleanor Brown is Managing Editor for Xtra.