I organise an event called Shabda every year for Namma Pride in Bengaluru. This year, the Namma Pride team said, we won’t do a Pride March in person, and we won’t jump into half-baked digital events. (I believe they have something up their sleeves for the near future.) As November progressed, I found myself slipping back into earlier patterns of depression and resentment at the world. I was bereft, without Pride. How can we be proud when we cannot meet each other?
1. Well, there’s always the digital event
I have been to more meetings this year than all of last year and the year before combined. Being able to attend a meeting from bed is a HUGE motivator to attend. And there have been some beautiful, beautiful events. I saw A Revathi perform her play about her life from her terrace, took two courses on art, psychology, and magic. I ran two Shabda events (one in November, as a helpful way to fill my pride gap). But Zoom fatigue is real. The internet is spotty and shitty. And sometimes it feels like you’re talking to dolls. What if the digital event if not for you?
2. The introvert-extrovert compromise
What do we want from Pride? We want to give each other the gift of our existence. If you don’t feel up to a Zoom meeting – how about a round-robin? Maybe your nearest online (or offline) queer group could set up a pay it forward gift exchange. Send a stranger, or someone not too well know – on the group a poem – and then they send a gift too. Get your group’s to keep track of the gifts and make a huge post of celebration at the end of the month.
3. The Once-a-Year Do-Gooder
This is pretty much the best time to reach out to organisations in your city or in the country who work for working-class LGBTIAQ people, for HIV+ people, for reproductive health. If this seems too heavy for you and you’re an online person, find a group raising awareness on Instagram, FB, Twitter, your local dating app (hint hint nudge nudge). Volunteer your time, your emotional labour, your money, your expertise.Â
4. Goddamit, I’m queer, not an activist hippie
Hey, I hear you! Sometimes we what we want isn’t friendship (though friends are lovely), or a community (also lovely). We are here because of our gender, and our love, and our desire. Perhaps cyber is boring for you now, or you and your partner/s are feeling the seven-year-crammed-into-one itch. Pride is the month you ask someone you’ve crushed on for months OUT. Pride is the month you declare a guilty fantasy. Ask for what you want this month, and listen to a partner, a hookup, a stranger online, ask in their own turn.
5. No, fuck it. I hate everything
Everything sucks. It does. Even when was good, it was bad. Social, political and economic norms brought us to this mess, and now we’re damaged, and we’re dying again. This is not the new normal, it is the old normal but it affects straight rich people now.
Your rage is queer, your rage is valid, we are surrounded by injustice, wounds and death. If you simply cannot celebrate your pride month, if you’re not sure what the fuss is all about – Pride needs you too. This knowledge of the extraordinary injustice of the is why we have a Pride movement of any kind at all.
Whatever you choose to do, or can do -and I hope you have someone to hold to, now and all the time, as a friend, lover, partner, sex buddy or community- I hope you know that we are none of us alone. We are all here, alive. This is beautiful.