Happy (critical) Pride 2018 everyone!
For the summer months most of our social media feeds are full of posts about Pride. It’s Pride Month, and for a lot of people, that’s great!
I’ve seen so many happy people celebrating, some posting about their personal and collective achievements due to their respective Pride parades, parades that took place for the very first time this year and of course also those that got cancelled and where people got arrested for organizing or participating in Pride parades. Most news were positive. These posts all came from friends and people I’ve connected with through mutual activism; they live all over the world and do amazing work.
On the other hand, almost all of my friends and contacts from Germany and the US only post critically about Pride: the rainbow flag not being inclusive, the selling-out of Pride, the racism, the anti-semitism, the pinkwashing and so much more. I love all of these people and value their opinions equally. So sometimes I find it hard to position myself between these two poles, both of which I understand and agree with.
Last year, I went to the Pride parades in Sofia and Montenegro and saw firsthand what the Pride meant to people. I saw how important and what a huge step it was to have police support, to be allowed to march and to have your safety protected. I also know what it means for people to have businesses publicly support you in places where most families would not accept you if you came out. I feel incredibly lucky that I had a chance to learn about this and to meet so many lovely people when I was invited to show TQU’s #TheGalleryProject in both of these places.
Until then, I never cared much about Pride parades and was definitely on the criticizing end. My experiences with Pride parades in Germany made me uncomfortable. They were dominated by white gay men, a party without much political course and the companies and politicians on the floats celebrating Pride weren’t doing anything for the rights of the LGBTQI community the rest of the year. It was never a place where I saw my struggles represented or felt safe or even welcome.
So I wanted to explore these different pictures that I had of Pride and I wanted to do this in a way that anyone else interested could profit from it too. And I wanted to conduct it in a way that would highlight the people behind the Prides, the people that put hours of work, if not their whole lives into making these events happen, but are hardly ever seen or recognized by the participants.
You can find #FacesOfPride on Instagram and Twitter and you can read the full interviews on TQU’S website. Faces of Pride is made up of a lot of extraordinary people making the most amazing things happen. I cried many times reading their wise and kind words, and feel humbled that they answered my questions.
I’m very glad to present to you this little zine full of hope, full of love and strength, full of power and the will to make a difference.
As for myself, I will keep criticizing mainstream prides for their hypocrisy, racism, anti-semitism, pinkwashing, capitalist exclusion, etc. wherever necessary while at the same time supporting all of those for whom Pride is an amazing tool to strengthen their rights and visibility, and a moment of relief in hard times. I encourage you to do the same, so that we can all be proud together.
Love and strength and solidarity to all of you,
Verena, founder of TQU