By Jamie Kirk
Well here we are an entire year later and the narrative, the thoughts, the feelings, the pros, the cons, and the debate, is still ever-present surrounding “Why do THEY need to have a separate Black Gay Pride ?”
Again, for fear of writing the same article, with the same theme as last year, I wanted to take a look at how much things have not changed. Additionally, I am going to refrain from using terms like always, never, all or nobody. Although, I truly believe that in general, our attitude and approach to the topic of what an individual or a group of people or a religion, or a gender or a race, should take the time, energy and effort to acknowledge and show gratitude and thanks, has not changed (much).
The biggest issue with topics like Gay Black Pride, #metoo, Mexican Independence Day, World Pride Day, Yom Kippur, Christmas, Memorial Day, et cetera, is that for the most part no one is twisting your arm to participate or show interest. You do not have to go to Atlanta Black Pride, you don’t have to put up a tree, you don’t have to do anything that aligns you with those that feel the need to take a moment and acknowledge what they want to acknowledge.
If you notice, I am deliberating staying away from the word “celebrate”. The definition of celebrate is acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity. Yes, for most of the above events I mentioned there is a parade (and drinking), and having people over and parties, etc… But celebrating Pride or Black Gay Pride is so much more than that. It is about acknowledging the struggle, recognizing the accomplishments and even meditating on the strength of others that “came before you”.
Specifically, when a group of people feel the need to separate themselves, it is because they indeed feel separated. It makes perfect sense. When there is some sort of division in what people see as not being included, they begin to do things and take actions to be noticed. That can be a dedicated day, that can be a day off work, that can a day of volunteering, it doesn’t matter, but something that says, ‘recognize me, recognize my contribution, recognize my sacrifice and recognize that I too matter.’
When it is all said and done, we just want to know that we matter to someone. That you did the right things, you loved your neighbor, you encouraged someone along the way, you were able to make a difference. We need to make sure that the way we are living our lives, out loud or not, is respectful to not just ourselves but to all we touch.
We cannot allow others to kill our need for loving others, being respectful of others, being responsible for others, being kind and good-hearted towards others, loving people that may not think like we do, love like we do, look like we do or even are born in the same country as we are. At the end of the day, our boss, the president, our parents, our spouse should not discourage us from following what we know to be true.
We have to allow people space to acknowledge what is important to them. Just because your neighbor may acknowledge Black Gay Pride and has people over on their deck, does not mean you can’t take a dessert over and mingle. There is no need to get all deep and philosophical about “why do you and your friends have a separate day from the regular Pride Day”? Why does that matter for you to simply support them. It is not about the day, and not about the events, it is about the need to do it for some and the need for others to simply support that. Being mad or questioning “why” there is a need to do it, is unnecessary. However, as long as you are questioning the “why”, take a minute and ask yourself “why you care? what impact does it have on you?”
Yes, I think that there should be a Black Gay Pride, just like I believe there should be a Latin Gay Pride, a Lesbian Gay Pride, a Top’s ONLY Pride… I literally don’t give a care what people feel they need to do to feel special, appreciated, welcomed, and that they matter.
As the weekend approaches, simply recognize that this weekend is about supporting those folks that choose to acknowledge that their struggle is different and should be acknowledged as such. Be present. Be supportive. Be encouraging and just continue to be kind to those that have a struggle different from yours.