Happy Pride

graemeOIPEach year as we start to put together our Pride float the question arises, “what music should we have playing?” Putting together than perfect mix of six or seven camp dance tracks can make all the difference to the energy of the people on our float and the surrounding crowd during the parade. As we started lining up potential tracks the lyrics of one song stood out.

On her recent track ‘It’s My Time’ the legendary Martha Wash sings, “Keep on walking your own path, Never let anyone hold you back.” Martha’s declaration struck a chord, and reminded us that ultimately Pride is about the simplicity of just being who you are.

Our Pride float for this year parade features rainbows and unicorns – something that you can’t reach; and something that you’re unlikely to see. These are good symbols for the queer community because at times so many of our goals looked like they were unattainable.

Step by step equality is being reached in so many different ways, but it’s not happening for everyone. The recent removal of references to transgender and intersex people from the ACT marriage legislation was disappointing. While it can be argued that in a legal sense it made little difference, the symbolic difference was huge. Some of us were prepared to leave some people behind and come back for them later.

The recently released HIV figures have also shown that in some ways we’re moving backwards, a generation of young gay men who didn’t experience the AIDS epidemic of the early 90’s are acquiring HIV at levels not seen since that time.

And at the most significant and simplest level, there are still people who are afraid to reveal their sexuality to their friends and family members. Holding that secret will see them dedicate hours of their lives to worrying, hiding and sheltering their true selves.

Pride is our celebration to show that being who you are, allows you to be the best person you can be. We should be proud of our sexuality, proud of our community and proud of our families. It’s our time.

Happy Pride 2013

Graeme Watson

[email protected]

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