Tomorrow is 6/1/2020, and you guys know what that means. It’s the first day of the annual “Pride Month,” a month used to celebrate LGBT rights. raise awareness about LGBT issues, and throw parades that you should probably not take your children to — especially in San Francisco — but you know some parent will so you’ll have to see the picture of a five year old next to some weird fetish guy for the next two years on FaceBook.
Now I really don’t care one way or another about Pride Month in general. The most my life usually changes in the month of June is I see some people I follow on twitter put one pride flag or another behind their profile picture. Maybe a food company will release a limited edition LGBT themed flavor, which I might check out if I get the chance.
However, in the process of doing some research (albeit, quite basic research), I’ve grown a new respect for pride month and have decided to speak out as a strong defender of it.
Not every critic of Pride Month is homophobic or transphobic in nature — although denying at least some critics are is just as dishonest as stating they all are — and as such, I will not respond to any directly homophobic or transphobic arguments against it. Instead, I have picked three arguments to respond to, none of which are bigoted in the slightest. All of these arguments, in fact, may even seem valid on the surface, however, they fall apart very quickly when examined.
#1: People Should Not Be Proud Over Their Sexual Orientation
“Pride Month? What should these gay people have pride for? Being gay? That’s not an accomplishment, that’s a sexual orientation. This whole thing is silly.”
This is based on a misunderstanding of what these people are proud of. It’s not the simple fact that they were born gay, bisexual, or transgender. It’s the fact that they then manage to survive in a society that can be quite hostile to all of those things.
The first pride parade was held on 6/28/1970, the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. These riots occurred in New York City as a backlash to police constantly raiding homosexual bars and other meeting places. Remember, these riots happened thirty four years before the Supreme Court determined it was illegal for states to enforce laws against consensual sodomy.
A large amount of people decry the idea that we should judge historical figures by modern standards, yet they often act as if the general public then was just as progressive as it is today. Listen to how Matt Walsh describes Harvey Milk for an example:
Harvey Milk is hailed as a hero for only one reason: he was gay and he was elected to public office. He accomplished nothing else. His only notable achievement was his own political elevation, which was cut short when he was murdered by a fellow Democrat.
To be more specific, Milk was killed in 1978 by political opponent Dan White, who also killed the straight Mayor of San Francisco George Moscone. Milk also lost previous elections due to the fact that he was homosexual, in San Francisco! If Milk had never run for office before, Walsh might have a point, however, the fact that he’s gay is not notable — it’s the fact that he managed to be elected to political office despite a massively homophobic culture.
To give you guys an idea of just how bad it got, in 1965 President Johnson signed legislation which made homosexuality a reason to deny entry to immigrants. This is one example of many of homophobia running rampant throughout our government, and no presidential candidate was allowed to talk about supporting gay marriage and be seen as serious until Barack Obama ran for re-election in 2012. In 2004, George W. Bush saying John Kerry supported gay marriage was even considered a smear.
Hey, here’s a quote from Orrin Hatch, who remained in the Senate until last year:
I wouldn’t want to see homosexuals teaching school anymore than I’d want to see members of the American Nazi Party teaching school.
If I managed to survive in a society with people saying that against me, I’d be pretty proud of myself — not going to lie.
#2: Why Do We Dedicate A Month To The LGBT But Only One Or Two Days To This More Important Group?
Sadly, since Educating Liberals (also known as Dylan) had his Twitter account deleted, I could not directly quote the Tweet that best sums up this argument. But I will paraphrase to the best of my memory:
Why is it we have a whole month dedicated to celebrating who others sleep with but only two days dedicated to veterans?
Again, this argument, while it may seem valid on the surface, suffers from a good number of logical issues.
First off, who says we only celebrate veterans two days out of a year? Sure, we only have two days that are recognize as federal holidays with the goal of celebrating veterans — but veterans get a large amount of celebration all year round.
Take a minute to look at this page, https://militarybenefits.info/military-discounts. Tell me, where are all the LGBT related discounts? And by the way, these discounts are available for veterans to use throughout the entire year, not just for two days. I promise you, basically every store that celebrates pride month, in one way or another, does much more to celebrate veterans.
While on this topic, there are veterans being celebrated during Pride Month — LGBT veterans. Veterans who served in the closest during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era. Or even the ones that had to actively pretend not to be gay because otherwise they’d be criminally charged of lying on a government document.
The other thing I want to note about this argument is the pure amount of projection at play. Look at this argument from commentator Matt Walsh for an example:
As everyone knows, June is African-American Music Appreciation Month. It’s also National Safety Month and National Smile Month. And we can’t forget that it is ALS Awareness Month, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, Cataract Awareness Month, Hernia Awareness Month, Myasthenia Gravis Awareness Month, National Aphasia Awareness Month, National Congenital Cytomegalovirus Awareness Month, National Scleroderma Awareness Month, and Scoliosis Awareness Month. But all of these holy observances must take a backseat to the most hallowed of them all: LGBT Pride Month.
Indeed, we have heard nary a word about congenital cytomegalovirus, despite this being a month of awareness about that illness, because every company, corporation, celebrity, and television channel has been tripping over itself to exclusively celebrate LGBT pride. Or, more specifically, LGBTTQQIAAP pride. That last part of the acronym must not be neglected, even as it rapidly grows, adding new letters by the day and threatening to take over the entire alphabet.
Now I don’t know every single detail of Matt Walsh’s life, but for some reason I don’t remember him talking much about ALS, Alzheimer, or Scoliosis.
Do you know why most people know June as just LGBT Pride Month? Because that is the month most people celebrate it as. If you wish to change it into one of the other things it’s meant to celebrate, then please start celebrating it as such.
#3: Okay, But Why Do We Need Pride Month Now? Things Are All Equal, So What’s The Point?
First off, one cannot help but notice a large amount of people making this argument are not LGBT. But I promised I wouldn’t make those kind of arguments.
But in truth, things are not equal right now. As of writing, 73 countries around the world in some way make homosexuality illegal. 12 countries — Iran, Northern Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Brunei, Mauritania, Pakistan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates — have laws on the books that make it at least possible you can get the death plenty for being gay. However, only half of these countries have ever gone so far as to do that.
The argument then goes “well, why don’t they stage these pride parades in those countries?” Because you’re missing the point. The main point of pride parades today is to show what could be for LGBT people around the world — it’s suppose to inspire people who can directly influence those countries to take action.
For that matter, even in the United States things are not quite perfect. LGBT youth make up 40% of the homeless youth population and are 120% more likely to be homeless than non-LGBT youth, for example. This is something that can not be fixed with laws, it can only be fixed by changing the attitude of members of the population.
Some have responded by saying that pride parades, due to this or that reason, have caused homophobia. But if that’s the case, why was their homophobia at any point before 1970? Again, pride parades started in response to homophobia by the police system — if anything, it seems more like pride parades are an excuse and not a cause.
Look, I don’t care much about Pride Month one way or another, however, the arguments against it are nonsense. So please, do not write another “Why Pride Month Is Unnecessary” column. Do not Tweet the same tired arguments as if you’re the first one to think of them. Do not scream whenever you see some company releasing a topical pro-gay ad. That is all I ask.