I don’t care what you think of pride parades

You know what’s really getting old? People complaining about gay pride parades. Of course it’s understandable if it’s just not your kind of thing – it’s not for everyone. But some people go even further than that. Hardly a day goes by without someone offering their opinion that pride parades are so terrible, they must be scaring people away from supporting gay rights – and if we would all just act “normal” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), this fight would be over. Great idea! So let’s just do whatever it takes to satisfy the people who don’t like us!

Even if this were a real obstacle, even if people did oppose us for that reason, do you know what would be even worse? Giving in. Because here’s what that would mean: It would only serve to confirm the disgusting notion that our identities and our self-expression are an acceptable reason to deny us our equality. It means supporting the implication that withholding our equal rights is somehow justifiable because of who we are. It means putting how we live our lives on the bargaining table in exchange for the rights we’re already entitled to. That is not a legitimate expectation to place on us.

Do you really want to give people that kind of veto power over how we choose to express ourselves, as if we don’t deserve our rights if we don’t behave according to their standards? Why would you even want to live up to the standards of someone who would do that to you? I’ve heard people say pride parades are “undignified”, but as far as dignity goes, that is disgraceful!

So how about a little perspective here? If you don’t like what someone is doing in a parade, does that make it okay to take away their equal protection under the law? Who do you really think is to blame for this: the people who are hated, or the people who hate them? Because when you try to pin this on us, you’re only validating the assumption that this is a reasonable expectation, and we should have to make concessions to them simply to be recognized as equals. How can you defend that? Do you think we deserve equality or not? If your first reaction is to blame the gays rather than holding people accountable for their inexcusable prejudice, I really have to wonder.

You say this is the reason why people don’t support gay rights. I say they gave up the right to demand anything from us when they voted against our marriages 31 times. It’s not our responsibility to make ourselves more palatable to the people who already hate us. We’re not required to do anything for the people who take away our rights. And we’re not the ones who have anything to apologize for.

Equal rights are not something for you to grant or withhold at your discretion. There are no compromises that we must make, there are no freedoms we must give up, to have the same rights as everyone else. If your idea of progress is subjecting minorities to forced conformity before they can be legally equal, ask yourself: Would you rather be accepted for who you are, or accepted for who you aren’t?