it's Jozi Pride tomorrow. When I remembered this I couldn't help having a wistful distance-staring moment as I mentally relived my camp teenage years on floats and in clubs. I was so bloody political about it back then. Dragging boys to my matric dance because it was 'my right', planning my Pride outfits weeks in advance. Now I just think the whole thing is quite funny - I mean, what the hell is the point of Pride?
Sure, it's important for people to feel they can be themselves - any psychologist will tell you that. Hell, any person who isn't psychopathic would tell you that. But what cracks me up is how the whole thing is dressed up us some sort of important political display of solidarity, as if it has gravitas. And meaning. It's so deliciously self-righteous. I won't even go into the argument about how marches like that do more to hinder gay rights than to help them - reinforcing all the stereotypes they proclaim to denounce - because that is far too heavy a discussion for a parade which is essentially a party. Yes, the overwhelming majority of gay men don't wear feather boas. Or even Gucci. But if those who do want to have a big camp street party, then fan-bloody-tastic. Roll out the drag queens and the Kylie soundtracks. But don't pretend it's saving anyone! Don't pretend it's liberating the poor confused teenager with uber-religious parents and an unforgiving circle of friends. Or even better, as the Pride parades around the world now like to position themselves: that they are defendants of the oppressed and persecuted LGBT communities in tyrannical countries. I find it a little difficult to see how glitter falling from a sweaty pec could persuade an Imam or a Republican to think "hey, these guys aren't so bad. I've always secretly just wanted to wear glitter and get shirtless too. Maybe we should all just get along."
To take yourself seriously or not to take yourself seriously. That seems to be the question which Pride is failing to answer. If the parades are having an identity crisis in post-liberation South Africa, where sexual orientation - and even gender - is becoming increasingly irrelevant, then why not go the MCQP route and be proud to be wild, epic, mixed and carnal parties? And leave human rights issues to the people who can make a difference.
But that being said, anyone who's going tomorrow - happy heeling!