In the US and Canada, June is Pride Month. We’ve come a long way from 2001 when South Africa was lucky to have its first Pride Week in Johannesburg, a concept that has apparently continued since we invented it.
I wrote some things on Twitter about Pride in the last few days, which I’m going to repeat here:
- The original Pride flag was the seven colours of the rainbow, plus hot pink. It turned out that there wasn’t enough hot pink material to make the flag so they dropped it. A while later turquoise was dropped as well so that the flag wasn’t obscured when it was hung up. Hence six colours*.
- Pride is not a celebration (see below).
- In honour of Pride Month for 2019, my Twitter avatar has a luxurious Freddie Mercury moustache.
Queer culture still needs Pride, just so that we can get (back) to the point where it’s normalised. For as long as there is hatred towards people under the rainbow umbrella, Pride must continue, especially as it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
A reminder if you’re confused by all the labels people use these days:
- L is for Lesbian
- G is for Gay
- B is for Bisexual
- T is for Trans
- Q is for Queer
- I is for Intersex
- A is for Asexual
- 2 is for Two-Spirit (only people from First Nations can use this)
- + is for the others (Poly, Pan, HIV+, third gender, genderqueer, and so on)
Q can also be used for Questioning. A might also stand for for Aromantic. A is not for Ally. If you’re an ally, thank you (really!), but you don’t get a letter. This is not for you.
Naming things (and people and subcultures) is and always has been a tricky subject, and a lot of folks want to do away with all the initials and just use Q for Queer. Others think Queer is a slur (it used to be) and refuse to use it. On that topic, I don’t like the word “Faggot” but I might use it from time to time. Unless you’re one, you don’t get to use it.
A lot of people (for some reason, they live mostly in the UK) are Trans-Exclusionary. In other words, they don’t think that we should allow Trans people under the queer umbrella. Those people are wrong, because that goes against the entire point of inclusivity. Trans-exclusionary radical feminists (T-E-R-F) are using the same arguments that literally suppressed women and minorities in the past, so it boggles the mind that they’d use them here. There is no gender binary, so arguing to preserve it is absurd.
By the same token, anyone in the queer community who is racist needs to examine themselves deeply. You can’t be queer and racist. That sort of thinking is why we have conservative queers and TERFs. It’s interesting that the queer people who are racist and / or conservative can afford to be.
Since we’re on the topic of names, I’d like to mention the personal pronoun thing. I personally go by “they / them / their” instead of “he / him / his” because I reject the gender binary as a concept. This makes me non-binary (enby) or genderqueer by definition, and I’m good with that. It also means that yes, I’m trans. Gendered pronouns carry a lot of unconscious bias, so the sooner we do away with them, the better. This is why I still consider myself an activist, because the fight for equality isn’t over yet. As I wrote in Stories From The Trenches, if you can remember a Starbucks order, you can remember someone’s personal pronouns. If you make a mistake, apologise and correct yourself. Old habits die hard, and I mess it up sometimes. Also, don’t deadname anyone.
[Edited on 4 July 2021 to add a link to the full chapter on Medium.]
So that’s your little history lesson for today. If you have any questions, my DMs are open on Twitter and I’ll answer any questions that I can. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. I didn’t know a lot of this stuff without doing a bunch of reading and asking other people.
And remember: if you don’t like gay sex, don’t have gay sex. If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry someone who is gay. I don’t like tomatoes, so I get it.
* There are other flags for subcultures of the queer community, including African pride, non-binary, lesbian, gender-queer (also gender-fluid), aromantic, and many more. If you’re confused, ask me.
EDITED ON 7 JUNE 2019 TO ADD THIS QUEERIODIC TABLE BY DESTINY SLATER:
I created a periodic table of LGBTQIAP+ because I know that even queers are a bunch of nerds! Yay for chemistry! — Destiny Slater
You can purchase a copy of this art from Destiny’s Threadless page.
(Used with permission.)