I attended Twin Cities Pride this past weekend. I could just be severely jaded, but I felt very conflicted feelings towards the event itself. Not every feeling was negative, but the negatives were very strong and I feel the need to air my thoughts.
I severely dislike how much corporations seem to have taken over the general feeling of Pride, and how capitalistic it all has become. I hate how my friends protested the police presence and were threatened with physical violence and public mockery at a movement that was started by queer and trans people of color inciting a riot. I felt severely uncomfortable seeing more cops this year than any other Pride I’ve attended, especially after hearing that they had shot yet another individual on Saturday night.
I feel uncomfortable that this has all just sort of become yet another state fair, but with more rainbows. I don’t like it when I feel like corporations – namely, ones that I don’t really see fighting for equality for their queer customers – are showing off to the queer community that they’ve been on the same level that Target has been. I hate feeling like my community is being pandered to by the city, when things are only sunshine and rainbows for the queer community in the month of June. I dislike seeing groups charging different prices for the same kitschy junk that you can find online for so much less than what you’d pay at Pride.
I felt sick seeing the Log Cabin Republicans at their tent, almost blissfully unaware of how angry and fearful people of color were passing by their tent. I felt uncomfortable seeing the FBI doing a bit of a job recruitment.
I didn’t like that there was little to no POC representation in the booths or in any of the Pride swag that people were selling. I felt erased because there didn’t seem to be any fellow Two Spirit individuals out there, besides a person I know to be very toxic.
And I feel helpless with all these seeming to be a cemented part of the Pride experience now.
Now, with all of this off of my chest, I do have some positives. I don’t want to just come off as an extreme pessimist.
I loved being surrounded by hundreds of fellow queer and trans individuals and being seen (for the most part) as who I am as an NB trans gal. I loved getting coded as female by numerous restaurants and even getting that nightmare known as glitter on my arms. I loved seeing old friends, old classmates, current and former University of Minnesota, Morris students in a place where they felt comfortable to be themselves. The animal rescue tents were amazing and made me, for a brief moment, reconsider being a cat person in favor of a velvet rabbit or a greyhound owner. I felt empowered by seeing the large counter protest against the whole “God will judge you” crowd that tried to form outside of Loring Park. I loved seeing people smile in these trying times. I felt happy that Target was only there to showcase fun things instead of trying to get people to buy their stuff. I felt great inspiring friends in wardrobe decisions. I felt absolutely giddy seeing a design that I gave to UMM’s LGBTQIA2S+ Programs Office two years ago being used and being so popular amongst the crowds.
I don’t really know how to end this little stream of thought, but I do know that the positives were worth going to the Twin Cities despite all the negatives I had. I might go back, but only for the opportunity to see friends in the region, and maybe do more gay karaoke at a bar.