Gay pride parades.. more helpful or harmful to the gay rights movement?

Some say they are empowering, giving gays and lesbians a chance to be themselves. Others, including some LGBT people, say they pander too much to stereotypes, fetishes, and caricatured behavior and make the LGBT community look bad.

What do you think? I am gay, so this is particularly important to know for me.

Personally, I think the fact that the Pride parade is fun and entertaining builds a lot of good will. It’s much better for public relations than an event full of grim, humourless dignity.

I agree. But I can see the other side as well.

Helpful – it’s not like Pride parades consist of people having sex right there on floats. (Which I wouldn’t like to see in a non-Pride parade, either) Parades are supposed to be flashy and fun. (Look at Mardi Gras!) Besides you have all kinds of people marching in them as well. Depending on the area, some are more outrageous than others, too.

Plus the truly bigoted aren’t going to attend, or be convinced either.
(Not gay, but totally pro-gay rights, and flashy parades.)

I think they’re good, because the first step to un-othering a minority is increasing their visibility. It’s easier for homophobes to spout their bullshit when they’ve never met or talked to a person they knew to be gay. At the parade, though, you can see groups of normal-looking people who happen to be gay, and they don’t have hairy palms or extra limbs or anything!

My sister marched and played flute in a gay pride parade in Texas last week (go sis!!).

I’ve never marched in a pride parade but I’d like to, at some point, to see first hand what it is like to be at one. :slight_smile:

I have a young gay friend who is all “gay pride parades are awful! Those scary leather daddies don’t represent me! They hurt the community!” And I agree with that sentiment that those sorts of parades can and do hurt.

But I went to the 2011 Cleveland parade and it was 90% churches advertising their acceptance, and, like…Frito Lay. There were maybe 3 or 4 mostly-naked dudes and that’s it.

So it irks me that my friend has given a blanket description of ALL Pride parades which is clearly false for his hometown parade.

Today he was going off on a news story about a guy who was sent to drive a donated truck in the parade, who skipped out on the job when he realized it was Pride. My friend was all “SEE? SEE HOW SCARY THEY ARE?” and I’m like “but…he didn’t get scared off by leather daddies, he got scared off by the rainbow.”

Anyway he drives me nuts.

But I’m not L, G, B or T so I don’t get too much of a say :slight_smile:

I played golf over the weekend, and one of our foursome was gay. He supports the idea of gay rights, obviously; and has no problem with the celebrations that occur in the gay community at this time of year. He and his spouse have a great time at them.

What he has a problem with is the word, “pride.” He’s not necessarily proud to be gay. Oh, he’s proud to be many things: a loving husband, an educated person, a pillar of the community, a hard worker who has achieved much. But as he puts it, he was born gay–so for him, saying “I’m proud to be gay,” means about the same as “I’m proud to be right-handed,” or “I’m proud to have brown hair” or “I’m proud to be six feet tall.” In other words, he asks, should one be proud to be born with certain attributes, or should one simply accept them as the way one is? Celebrate them, sure, but is “pride” really the word we should be using?

It was an interesting take. I don’t play golf for the philosophical questions, but we sure had a good think during our round!

I used to think it was harmful to the gay rights movement. After all, shows like the 700 Club used some of the more outrageous images from pride events in their efforts to show just how Godless and immoral those homosexuals were. I’m convinced that those images aren’t really all that helpful to the gay rights movement.

However, I think gay pride parades have been helpful to the gay rights movement. I’ve never been to a pride parade, but from what I’ve seen you’ve got all sorts of different people from the LGBT community who are participating as one big group. It doesn’t matter if you’re a girlie lesbian, a bear, a troll or a drag queen because they’re all welcome. I think that kind of unity is pretty beneficial and outweighs any negativity that images from the parade might have on the nation as a whole.

Joe Jervis of has an excellent essay about just this topic:

I am in complete agreement with him.

Gay pride not harmful to gay rights movements.

Those St Paddy’s day parades however completely damaging to the Irish rights movements. Since they’ve been having those parades for years not they’ll never achieve equality. It completely gives the perception the Irish are nothing but drunks and leprechauns.

If “played flute in a gay pride parade” isn’t a euphamism for something, it should be.

Society has for a long time told gay people that they should be ashamed, hide in the closet, whatever. “Pride” rubs it in the face of those who would want you to be ashamed.

And besides, “Gay Pride Parade” is a little catchier than “Gay We’re Going to Stop Being Ashamed Parade.”

I don’t see many people complaining about how the majorettes in their leotards and beauty queen in a bikini are ruining things for women by bring such racy and provocative clothing into what should be a wholesome event. Sexuality in a parade doesn’t seem so offensive, I guess, when it’s aimed at your tastes.

Gay pride is fun, and I’m delighted to see how it’s turned from a political protest into a mainstream street festival for the whole neighborhood. I marched this year with Peace Corps in DC, and it was So. Much. Fun.

Somehow, I feel like even a gay parade where every dressed like bankers would upset the haters. Their problem is the gay, not the event.

Perhaps we’ve come far enough that “I’m gay” is nothing more than “I’m right-handed” is to my gay golfing friend. I’ll admit that I was a little surprised at his remarks, made as they were here in Canada’s Bible Belt–I though he’d be a little more “in your face.” He would be justified, IMHO, in doing so–locally, we have plenty of creationists who believe that the earth began in 4004 BC, and folks who write Letters-to-the-Editor about how when an abortion or gay sex occurs, Jesus cries. But he’s not; he is happy with who he is, he likes where he lives, he’s pretty easygoing even with those who disagree with him, and he doesn’t care what others think. In short, “gay” is just one of his many qualities; you can take him or leave him based on all. (I’ll take him; he’s a good golfer, and I hope we’re paired up in an upcoming best ball tourney. :)) I don’t expect that every LGBT person thinks as he does, though. As I said, it was a thoughtful round of golf.

Maybe that’s the key–I don’t see him as gay; I see him as someone whom I would like to play golf with again. He had some good tips, and helped me with my game. He commiserated with bad shots, and applauded good shots, and was someone I hope to play with again. His sexual preference had nothing to do with that. By his simple sportsmanship, he proved himself to be more than just gay–he was just one of the guys, out golfing. And perhaps that’s worth noting–he is more than just a gay person. As I would imagine, all LGBT people are.

Note that I agree with you on the second point–I don’t think the LGBT community ought to be ashamed of anything.

Sexuality in gay pride parades is not a problem. End of story.

For the same reason we don’t get mad at scantily-clad women in parades, beauty pageants, etc, there’s no reason to feel like scantily-clad men are doing some sort of disservice to gay men.

Or maybe you do get your panties in a bunch at scantily-clad women on TV, magazines, parades, convention centers, billboards, etc… in which case you are being entirely consistent in your disgust for the scantily-clad gay men at gay pride parades.

If you think one is a problem, and the other is not, then you might be a bit homophobic and not realize it.

Oddly enough, helpful, but not for the reason you think. I’ve recently had a conversation with my sister, and, despite being a fundamentalist Christian, she’s all for gay marriage. Part of it is that she can’t see how it would be constitutional otherwise–something she thought of on her own without any other legal stuff, just based on the tenor of the document itself. Part of it was the whole “hate the sin, love the sinner” doctrine. But one thing she said caught my eye: she thought that, maybe if gay people finally felt like equal citizens, they’d stop feeling the need to constantly proclaiming their sexuality like it’s something important. She specifically talked about how she dislikes gay pride parades, and she’d rather not see that stuff.

So, in other words, such things help because they give people like her something to try to stop by giving you what you want.

BTW, I know for a fact my sister would say the same thing about a Het pride parade. It’s the sexuality that bugs her.

I have no opinion. I just find it weird that people wish to define themselves by whom or what the like to sleep with. I can understand that others might find my opinion weird.

I voted “pander too much for stereotypes”. When younger I participed in a number of homosexual rights marches. I stopped when they became carnivals displaying proeminently guys in full SM attire or such things. Watching that on TV wasn’t going to convince the average Joe that an homosexual was “normal” and typically looked and behaved like his neighbor who goes to work as a bank teller every day.

If it were solely a parade, your position would make sense. But it’s also (and should primilary be IMO) a march asking for equal right and respect for gays. I see it more as a kind of protest, and there aren’t any scantily clad women in protests.