This blog is part of a series of reflections I am making on my involvement in local LGBTIQA organising, including conversations with others about how we can vision and shape coalition and collective, creative endeavour going forward. I also created a poster as part of this reflection/visioning process. I am hoping that the talk tomorrow at Nottingham Contemporary will be a springboard for new conversations and ways forward.
Pride Spirit is about being together in our differences.
It’s about understanding that the community terms we use (L,G,B,T, Q, I,P, A) don’t have hard edges but are imprecise and bleed into one another
It’s about understanding the many structures that tilt the balance against minority and oppressed groups, and how they intersect and interact in complicated ways.
So we can be gay but white, a woman but cis, trans but rich, and be both advantaged in one way and disadvantaged in another. And all these intersections matter, and need not compete if we truly show up for each other.
Pride Spirit is about hearing each other and giving groups we know fare worse the benefit of a generous hearing.
Pride Spirit is about listening to protest even on issues that do not affect us. Pride Spirit never silences or denounces a minority protest. Pride Spirit listens. Pride Spirit accepts justified anger, and doesn’t leap to assumptions that if anger is not understood it is therefore not justified.
Pride Spirit understands that the genuine trauma, pain and fear inherent in being on the margins massively outweighs the impact of being on the receiving end of a protest, however angry the protest may be.
Pride Spirit sits down and discusses complex issues raised by marginalised groups. We seek to understand by listening hard and having difficult conversations face to face. Controversial issues like policing cannot be resolved without those most vulnerable being centred and listened to.
Pride Spirit was birthed by a riot; bi and queer and trans people of colour were right there at its inception, and there is no Pride if it does not honour and centre these groups.
Pride Spirit understands that before there was L and G and B and T there were other words in this and other languages that encapsulated every single one of us. There are no newcomers in this movement, just folks pushed to the margins.
Pride Spirit believes that if we do not fight for disability, age, neurodivergence, asexuality, bisexuality, lesbian identity, intersex lives, people of colour, people living with HIV, trans and non-binary, working class, refugee and immigrant, and people living in poverty as much as we fight for “gay” rights then we may as well not fight at all.
Pride Spirit wants liberation for all, not assimilation for the respectable few.
Pride Spirit declares that there is no pride in using small and shaky Western LGBT gains to portray one’s own culture as superior – Pride Spirit acknowledges the colonial history of much of the world’s problematic anti-LGBT laws and values.
Pride Spirit pledges: we will work harder to understand one another, we will talk more, even when it’s difficult. We will never withdraw an offer to talk things through, especially to marginalised people protesting our actions. We will sit through anger and pain to reach understanding.
We all know suffering, and reaching out to each other is the very least we can do for each other.