Why Pride?


In cities across the world, people are celebrating, marching and reveling in what is called “Pride” festivities and parades this weekend. Still, a whole separate part of the population sits back, confused, some even offended by what the Greek Orthodox bishop in Thessaloniki called an “expression of perversion.” I don’t expect everyone to understand what the feeling is like to be “out of the closet.” All I can tell you is that it’s a horrible place to be when you are inside there.

I also don’t expect people to understand what it’s like to be told to your face “we don’t rent to people like you” when looking for an apartment, or “we don’t employ fags.” I also don’t expect people who haven’t been beaten up for being who they are, to understand what it’s like being kicked to the ground, while being called a “fucking homo.” I also don’t expect people who haven’t received hate mail in the name of Christianity to know what it’s like reading that you need an exorcism or that you are evil incarnate– just for being born the way you are.

Most people who haven’t lived it, won’t understand it. And I don’t expect them to.

Pride festivities take place every year around this time to mark an important anniversary in U.S. history. It was 46 years ago this weekend when a series of riots took place by members of the gay community in New York City who were the subject of constant abuse and torture by the police department.

New York gays lived in fear in the 1960s— the United States had a legal system in place that directly targeted homosexuals— much like it did people of color and others who were “different” from the establishment. Homosexuality was criminalized and society’s response was to establish an educational and a legal system to de-gay people and to keep homosexuals marginalized, and living in fear.

Police raids on bars where gay people frequented were routine in the 1960s, but officers quickly lost control of the situation at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969. Tensions between the NYPD and gay residents of Greenwich Village erupted into more protests the next evening, and again several nights later.

Within weeks, Village residents quickly organized into activist groups to concentrate efforts on establishing places for gays and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without fear of being arrested and the modern gay rights movement was officially underway.

So why pride? Because less than a half century after it was criminal for people to express themselves openly in society, today— society is changing. Pride is more than a celebration of “being gay”. It is a celebration that people are becoming more free to be themselves, to express themselves, to love whoever they want to love and no government or law can target them as criminals.

Many of my “straight” friends are marching or participating in Gay Pride festivities today in Chicago— in support and solidarity of their gay and lesbian friends and family. One friend— a father and grandfather told me “This is about pride in my society for finally realizing what humanity is. Pride is just as much for heterosexuals as it is for gays. We should all be proud that so much has changed in a half century.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Happy Pride everyone. Yes, we should all be proud of how much society has advanced and people are free to express themselves. It is the American way, after all, isn’t it? It’s why this country was founded. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness— for all people, not just the ones you like, or the ones who are like you. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all— even the different ones.



  1. "Most people who haven’t lived it, won’t understand it. And I don’t expect them to." That applies to a great many deal of things. If you haven't lived something, you can't fully comprehend it. I tell people the same thing about narcissistic abuse. People don't get it. And I don't expect them too. But, Greg, allow me to say this, and I'm saying it with all the love and respect in my heart, for I have gay friends, and trans friends and I've been to gay raves and parties and I've mingled and met and talked and socialized, and never has any gay person offended me – until the gay pride. I fully understand what "Pride" stands for, and why it has to be accentuated, after all the Women's Suffrage movement was something very very similar. However, from where I stand, the Gay Pride here wasn't a "march" as you said about Chicago, it was an orgy. Gay people roamed the streets in semi-naked to naked holding dildos and other things, and they demanded respect for it. That kind of display will never receive respect, because it doesn't promote respect. It's only done to shock and scandalize and create reactions, and when those reactions happened, then they started complaining about sexism. Yes, there are many Greek people who are idiots about this, granted. But nothing in running around in rainbow-coloured tight lycra hot pants with a hard-on makes people, any people, willing to see your point of view. I am for gay rights. But gay people need to get serious about their demands, and start treating those demands and themselves seriously. You can't except others to take you seriously when you don't take yourself seriously. I'm sorry if I've upset you, the comment was made in good faith. Be well.

  2. Hi Greg, Found your blog while Googling for details of Boutaris’s noble gesture of wearing the yellow star at the council commencement in Thessaloniki. (My own island home, Skopelos, has history with Boutaris and Thessaloniki, and also with islanders honoured by Yad Vashem for sheltering Greek Jews from there during the occupation.) Good to read an out queer voice in the media reaction to CA, also to the ‘faggot’ comments of Nikopoulos and the breathtaking bigotry of the G.O. church. Niemals vergessen!

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