The month of June is upon us which means that it is Pride month. Something I see pop up every year around this time is the question "if I don't identify as LGBTQ+, can I still come to Pride?"
In my opinion, the short answer is yes. You can still come to pride. It would seem hypocritical to ban a group of people from a place or event based on the way they identify.
But if you do not identify as LGBTQ+ and come to Pride (allies, I'm looking at you too) you need to understand that Pride does not exist for you. This is not the moment to pat yourself on the back for supporting a marginalized community. I wholeheartedly agree that the LGBTQ+ community and progress would not be where it is at without the help and support of allies, but Pride is not meant for you. Think of it like a birthday party. You are by all means welcome to come and party with us, but you're not the birthday kid, so don't make it about you.
Pride is a celebration of identities. It's a celebration of who we are, where we've been, and the future we strive for. It's a celebration to remember those we've lost, for any reason, along the way. It's a celebration of the trailblazers, the revolutionists, and all the beautiful people in this community.
The way I see it, anyone is welcome at Pride as long as you are open to and recognize the history that it incites from. So, a couple of things to set straight (haha) before you come to pride.
If you are homophobic, transphobic, bi-phobic, queer-phobic, literally just hateful to anyone in the LGBTQ+ community the other 364 days of the year, you are not needed at Pride. This is not your 1 day to forget your hate so you can come to the party.
If you are coming to Pride to gawk, stare, and criticize LGBTQ+ culture, you are not needed at Pride.
If you are coming to Pride to spew hate or say how we're all going to hell (Religious protesters, I'm looking at you) you are not needed at Pride. Literally do anything else.
If you are coming to Pride because you like rainbows and that's it, come have fun, but please open your heart to learning about the culture revolving around Pride.
If you come to Pride, will people automatically think you are gay or LGBTQ+? Probably not. To be honest, no one really f*cking cares so just dance your heart out. (But usually we can tell who's straight and who's not. The Gaydar is strong.)
If you see someone you know at Pride, whether they are out or not, go up and say hi! It may be awkward, but seeing people at Pride can also be a relief because it expands their support system.
BUT! On Monday morning, do not shout across the office that you saw someone at Pride. Closeted people still go to Pride! Do not out someone because it can be harmful, embarrassing, and frankly just rude.
If I take my kids to Pride, will it be traumatic? No? What's traumatic about people being happy and celebrating? If you're worried about people's outfits (or lack thereof) then it's up to you to decide what you consider inappropriate for your kids. Even if you don't feel comfortable enough bringing your kids to Pride, thank you for your support nonetheless.
There's probably much more to say, but that's my spiel. If you want to come to Pride, then come to Pride, but please do make an effort to learn about the history that it derives from. Come with an open mind and to celebrate this beautiful community. Also, please don't make it about yourself!