Pride, to me, is pleasure in one’s achievements, or pleasure in the achievement of another. Pride in a genetic gift, or from anything else one has no control over? That, to me, would be conceit or vanity.
I’m very intelligent. I’m not proud of that, nor am I ashamed of it. My intelligence was a gift from my parents and from God. I am proud of what I have done with my intelligence. I would be ashamed if I did not use it to the fullest.
My fiancée’s intelligence is formidable. I’m not proud – or ashamed – of her for it. I am proud of her formidable accomplishments with her intelligence.
Similarly, I’m not proud (or ashamed) of my (or my fiancée’s) body, although I do take some pride in keeping myself in shape. And I certainly take pleasure in my fiancée’s body (and in her pleasure in my body).
When I was young, I fought being a lesbian. When I became an adult, I buried it. But I have never been ashamed of being a lesbian. I just am a lesbian.
Now, I’m glad I’m a lesbian. If I had the choice, I would choose to be a lesbian.
I’m not proud that I’m a lesbian. I didn’t do anything to make myself a lesbian. I just am a lesbian.
My lesbianism hasn’t been heroic.
I grew up in the most conservative part of one of the most conservative states. A state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage passed by a two-to-one majority – three-to-one in my county. When I lived there, I was deeply in the closet.
But I was never afraid, and I’m not afraid now that I am out of the closet. I’m not even afraid to walk down the main street of the tiny, rural town where I grew up, holding my fiancée’s hand.
Lesbianism has been heroic for many.
I am proud of the lesbians who have gone before me, whose lesbianism was heroic.
My ability to just be a lesbian – without shame or fear – owes everything to those who can justly take pride in being lesbians. To be slightly paradoxical about it, I am proud of them – and they should take pride in themselves – for my lack of pride.
4 thoughts on “Pride: A paradox”
I agree completely! How can we say being gay is not a choice, and in the next breath say we’re proud as though it’s something we did on purpose and did well? No wonder people are confused …
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I understand that some people can see Pride as an obnoxious thing that queer people are too loud about. But it has historical roots – being gay was an identity cast in shame and fear (fear of death, of exile). Pride Month and Pride Events are an act of rebellion against that – and until no LGBT person feels shame for that part of that identity, Pride is necessary. :)
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pride is about being proud of the strength to exist in a world that has worked so hard to suppress us. It is about being proud to live our lives true to ourselves. It is about being proud about the work our community does and the progress it continues to fight for. It is also now part of being proud to live in anplace that is more reflective of our existence by having laws that include us.
People are proud to be American, why not be proud to be gay?
Sometimes when you are a queer person just existing is radical whether it feels that way or not. And if you never feel in danger or stifled then you are lucky and you should feel proud of those who came before us, that fought for this.
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I absolutely agree with this, and also with what baronessbuttercup said. There is a lot of things in the gay community that I find to be very contradictory.