Pride goeth (and cometh)

It's that time of year again: Vancouver Pride Week, with the big Pride weekend almost here. This is when I ask myself things such as, how queer do I feel? Which events will I get up the energy to go to? Which events will I miss and regret not having gone to? Where will I be with friends? Where will I feel lonely?

Being bisexual and femme, maybe I ask these questions more than many other queer people would. Or maybe it's just me. It's true that I spend much of my time in a fairly heteronormative world. Most of my closest friends are straight. I belong to a book club where I'm reasonably sure I'm the only one who's queer.

Even though I'm at ease in the wide world and pretty much myself no matter where I am, it's probably true that I am most at home and most myself among queer people. There are things I can talk about with queer people that aren't usually, shall we say, topics of polite conversation. At least not among most women. I love the openness with my queer friends. I love the freedom.

And yet sisterhood is not automatic. I've been at queer events where I felt very much the outsider because I wasn't already hanging out with one or more people. Cliques are not a heterosexual thing. We are not always one big happy queer family. Having one thing in common, even if that's a pretty big thing and much broader than just who one finds attractive, does not mean there are not other barriers.

I have made a lot of new connections since last Pride. It will be interesting to see how strong they are. I'm hoping for a good Pride! I'm planning on having fun and being fun.

There's a lovely backup even if Pride isn't what I might hope for: the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. That really does feel like one big family among staff members, volunteers, and film goers. I'm very much looking forward to that.


Coline said...

"There are things I can talk about with queer people that aren't usually, shall we say, topics of polite conversation. At least not among most women. I love the openness with my queer friends."

My orientation is not the be all and end all of who I am and whatever my preferences might be I would not expect a group of similarly oriented folk to provoke me to make such a report.

I am not sure that the often grotesque carnival of "pride" events does much to enhance the reputation or cause of those attracted to same sex partners.

I think a great handicap to universal acceptance is the loud and proud, in your face attitude of many in the gay community. If people could keep their politics, religion and sexual orientation to themselves rather than shout them out in the streets the world might be a finer place to live.

I have had to think hard to categorize my friends sexuality since it is not something which really comes up, I can only think of two instances in the last decade or more when sex has ever been a topic of conversation...

Just my thoughts, no offence take if you just delete my comment.

Véronique said...

I wouldn't delete your comment! We each have our own experiences.

I happen to know a lot of people in the queer community (mostly lesbians and bisexuals), specifically in the femme community (via my choir), and in the musician community. I don't automatically like someone because they're queer or femme or musical, but often that's a good starting point for me. My absolute best friends have nothing to do with those groups, but I do love to spend time with people in those communities, either in groups or individually.

As for Pride, one thing about Vancouver is that Pride is now a Very Big Deal. Thousands of people, mostly straight, come out to watch the parade. Lot of straight people from various organizations march in it to show that they are allies. And the spectators expect Dykes on Bikes, drag queens, and gay boys on floats dancing in their tiny bottoms. Anymore I think the parade is more for straight people and gay men than for the community as a whole, but I know lots of people who enjoy it.

There is also a trans march and a dyke march/festival and lots of parties for queer people, so it's not like the parade and festival on the beach afterward are the only things that go on here for Pride. Just the most visible.

As for flaunting it, some people are very open and some are not. Some are highly sexual and some are not. Different strokes. I happen to be a very sexual person (even at my age), and so I do sometimes discuss sex with my friends. And I think we're well past the point of many people taking offence at gay people "flaunting" their sexuality. I know that's not true of all cities or all countries, but it's certainly true here.

Your comment reminded me of things I used to hear many years ago. I don't hear those things much these days. The world has changed. And I'm glad for that!

Felix said...

Thanks for posting! I'm also a queer Vnacouverite, and for me, the pride parade is the least of the celebrations. Dyke march all the way!

As for the queer film fest, I usually love it, but there has been some really problematic stuff going on this year. I'm not sure if you're aware of it, but a lot of people are choosing not to go this year.

Véronique said...

I'm well aware of the controversy, Felix. I understand it well, and I respect how people feel, even if many don't respect that I disagree (not completely, but partly). And it seems most have embraced the festival and all the good that Out On Screen and Out In Schools do despite any qualms. The issue will not go away, and I know for a fact that those running Out On Screen take it seriously.