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On Pride
Sparky
sparkindarkness

One of the cornerstones of the GBLT movement has been the concept of Pride. And I applaud it with all my heart, because it is exactly what I feel was and is so needed.

The world denies GBLT Pride. The world suppresses it. And for such a long time – and still today – GBLT Shame has been the standard, not pride. We should be ashamed for what we are. We should change. Whole organisations have been built and funded around forcing us to change our shameful beings. Vast international churches fiercely press that our presence, our existence is shameful and should be repressed and changed and repented of.  We should feel guilty, we should be ashamed.

We are told we should hide. We should pretend. We should act lest our terrible weirdness infect, upset or hurt other people. Being GBLT is outrageous, shameful. We cannot speak of it openly. We must not speak of it in front of the children, because it will damage them. We cannot speak of it in front of other people, that’s forcing our nastiness on them, forcing them to endure it, forcing it down their throats, making a display of it. Isn’t it inappropriate? Can’t we just keep it to ourselves? Don’t we have any decency, don’t we have any shame? We should feel guilty, we should be ashamed.

We are attacked and punished for being who we are, beaten down, driven into hiding and killed. We are kicked out of houses, even our parents’ homes, because of the shame and vileness of our presence under their roof. We are turned away from businesses and employers. Laws are enacted to keep us out, to silence any mention of us, to protect vaunted professions from us, to protect children from us, to deny us and push us back. Laws that exist to enforce our shame. We should feel guilty. We should be ashamed.

I grew up with Gay Shame. I grew up with the idea that my sexuality was a bad thing, that I was a flawed and broken, that I had some terrible affliction that I should spare other people. I grew up knowing I deserved less, that I was less, that I was embarrassing, shameful, something to hide. I was taught to be guilty. I was taught to be ashamed.

I was taught that, society taught me that, family taught me that, certain “friends” definitely taught me that.

This is what GBLT Pride means. In a world that tells us we should change, we say we’re good as we are. In a world that tells us we should hide, we say we’re here and open. In a world that tells us we’re sick and broken, we say we’re whole and well. In a world that tells us children should be protected from us, we say we have kids and are kids and that’s pure and good and right. In a world that attacks us, beats us and kills us for daring to exist, we say that’s wrong and we fight back. In a world where laws are expressly created to repress us, we scream that we are equal. In a world that tells us we should not be, we yell that this is who we are and this is fine and wonderful.

In a world that tells us we should be ashamed, we declare that we are Proud.

And this is not a message that is easily announced. So far this year a Pride Parade in Lithuania was met with violence,  a Pride Parade in Minsk broken up by riot police, the first Pride Parade in Slovakia was cancelled after being attacked by skinheads, and Moscow Pride Parade has been cancelled (Moscow has a bad history with Pride Parades, to say the least especially as Mayor Yuri Luzhkov refers to gay and lesbians as “satanic“).

So looking at that, at the power and meaning and declaration of Pride, as well as the violent and virulent opposition to it, we get this and this and this and this Straight Pride. Hey you can google it, there’s no shortage of links, alas.

Has the world ever been about anything BUT straight pride? Has there ever been an institution of straight shame? Have your families, your love, your children, your life ever been demeaned and attacked and criminalised because you are straight?

Have straight people ever had to declare their sexuality? No, because the world will always assume it and honour it and raise it up and pure and proper and right. There has never been a need for straight pride because the world is steeped in it, saturated with it and pumps it out every second of every day. They flaunt their privilege like a flag and think it’s oh-so-witty to do so.

They have taken the symbolism of Pride and are using it to attack us and demean what they know so little about.

And today on Twitter, “Geek Pride” was trending. It is, apparently, Geek Pride day.

And I saw people celebrating. Including words like “Hiding in the locker is over.”  And “I’m coming out as a Geek!“ and “it’s geek pride day! I can go out in geek drag.” “Is there a colourful flag we should be waving?”

Why, I think I see some subtle comparisons there. Yes yes I do.

I am a Geek. I play WoW, I am a fantasy and sci-fi lover, most of my TV and book choices either have lazers or fireballs or at least vampire fangs. I’ve played D&D, I’ve played GURPS and I have a shelf full of White Wolf books. I had a childhood crush on Nightcrawler for gods’ sake (don’t ask. Really) I am as geeky and nerdy as they come and merrily happy with it.

But this? This is appropriating something vital and powerful. Celebrate geekiness, revel in it, dance with it, wave those towels! It’s a wonderful wonderful thing, but Geek Pride? No, really, no.


These days? No. Too much "geek" media is completely mainstream, and people are starting to realize that everyone is a geek in s.ome form or another.

But I think there was a time when that wasn't true, and a "geek pride" day could have been helpful.

Now, not so much.

Although I did once get fired from a job for being too geeky...

Why would someone get fired for being a geek? :O

They felt it interfered with my ability to do my job. There were other factors, but the message was pretty clear that they didn't appreciate how openly geeky I was.

That's unsettling to think =/

I followed up by getting a thoroughly geeky "dream job," which I ultimately also had to leave.

My boss, aside from being a megalomaniacal misogynist, also had some pretty ugly deep-seated shame about being a geek that he projected pretty nastily onto others. I was given grief for my own geeky exploits outside of the job, up to and including being a fan of things he deemed "too geeky" and my cosplay hobby.

sparkindarkness, I really apologize because this totally looks like threadjacking. I'll knock it off.

I think we should celebrate the joy of geekness which I love muchly - but I also think we can do that without appropriating GBLT Pride

Straight Pride?

(Anonymous)

2010-05-26 02:14 am (UTC)

What's Valentine's day then?

And every other day

This particular appropriation doesn't piss me off. I'm not sure why, it just doesn't rub me the wrong way at all.

Even historically, black pride came before gay pride, so that's an appropriation too, and "Gay Pride" parades and days and months and such came into existence after more conservative elements of the community pushed it to become "pride" and not "liberation" or "freedom." It just seems important to note that, historically, the idea of "pride" was adopted partially out of the shame of affiliating with the lgbt people who so fearlessly got the movement on its feet. Actually, the San Francisco based Gay Shame activist group, (which I did not know but now see is still up and running http://www.gayshamesf.org/) has done pretty cool work, sometimes when I've been in the city I've seen pretty cool pieces by them. While I definitely wouldn't go to their vegan social because I don't know what a "social" is without cheese, they are keeping up with the spirit of our beginnings in cool ways.

-Leah

Just wanted to clarify, when I say "this particular appropriation doesn't piss me off" I mean the appropriation by geeks. Is "geek" a marginalized position like being gay? No, but I still don't mind sharing the language with those who want to declare pride in some kind of subcultural identity. In any case I most certainly didn't mean when straights do it, because that's just homophobic. Moreover I wasn't critiquing the adoption of "pride" by queer people as problematic, as its first instances were very much part of the culture of the civil rights movement, I was just trying to say that in this instance I think its shareable. The tone of it by the geeks just feels benign to me especially since within the gay community the adoption of "Pride" days and such has had the depressing elements I noted, I don't feel very pious about the word or concept itself.

-L

It won't have the same power for all GBLT people. But for many GBLT people it is a matter of supreme liberation, a massive act of self-realisation and power and rejection to the baggaghe we have carried.

It doesn't mean as much to some, and there are of course manyh who rejecdt a lot of Pride and most of all things GBLT, but for some of us it means a great deal

Edited at 2010-05-26 12:06 pm (UTC)

I had so many profound things to say to this post, and then I got distracted at the end with, "Oh, Nightcrawler. Mm. Yep."

So yeah. Nightcrawler.


Yep.

/seconding the "Mmm, Nightcrawler." :)

Sparky had a crush on him too? More evidence of his good taste! :D

I always liked Nightcrawler :)

I really hate this idea of normalcy. So many things are implicitly written into "normal" and people don't stop to distill out what those things are, which lead to totally ignorant things like "straight pride day".

Straight is the default. White is the default. Able-bodied is the default. It is so insulting to me when members of these default groups start whining about how oppressed they are because these non-default groups dare to show pride for being an oppressed minority. No, heterosexual folks. You don't need a straight pride day because that is every day for you.

As for the "geek pride", I think that's something of a dilemma. On one hand, aside from a few strange looks I've never suffered any discrimination for being geeky. On the other hand, I do know a sizable amount of people who have been bullied mercilessly for being a "geek", so I think there's merit in at least the concept behind "geek pride". Is it the specific term "geek pride" you're objecting to, or is it the general concept? My impression is the former, but I would like to have that clarified.

Normality is such an empty concept. Humanity is normal in all its wonderful diversity. normality is used as a desperately narrow frame to force peopel through and cut bits off that don't fit

And agreed, there is nothing more repellently offensive than the privileged taking the language of oppression, it sets my teeth on edge

The concept of geek celebration and happiness I agree with - it's appropriating the tools of Pride that I don't.

Ugh - straight pride is everywhere, all the time. Straight Pride is just the epitome of privilege.

As for Geek Pride, I agree that some of the remarks are off-colour - 'geek drag' and “Is there a colourful flag we should be waving?” I think nowadays geeks are actually pretty cool - pretty mainstream.

But 25 years ago, when I was a geeky 15 year old, the concept of Geek Pride would have been really helpful. Especially as a Girl Geek. Because I got ostracised from both sides. The Guy Geeks didn't want a girl hanging around with them, and even smart girls weren't supposed to be into maths and physics.

Straight pride enrages me beyond all reason

I think celebration of geekery is good - but there's no need to appropriate the language of GBLT oppression

I'm trying to understand your issue with appropriation. Is it that 'geeks' aren't a marinalised group, and therefore aren't entitled to use that language? Or would you have a problem with any group that borrowed the concept of Pride? Would you have a similar problem with a Crip Pride day? Or an Atheist Pride day?

I think the problem for me is, who gets to decide which groups are marginalised; which groups have permission to use that language? As someone pointed out above, the concept of pride isn't 'original' to the GBLT movement. So who gets to decide when an appropriation is appropriate? Who gets to decide which groups are 'really' marginalised? Because I've seen people of colour attacking atheists for appropriating 'their' language of oppression, basically refusing to recognise that atheists are also a marginalised group. I think at some point every marginalised group has to claim that language, and maybe they all get some pushback from more 'established' groups who see it as 'theirs'.

Unless you're taking the line that no marginalised group can borrow the language of another, in which case you're bascially saying each group has to start their own social justice movement from scratch with a new language. It precludes us building on each other's work. And heaven help anyone who has intersecting marginalisations.

Appropriation is always something I disapprove of to varying degress because it's so easy to be disrespectful with it.

One thing you can see is how the black movement in America is angry that GBLT people even claim gay rights are civil rights - movements don't like to see their struggle being used

But for a marginalised body's struggle against severe oppression to be co-opted bother's me a great deal. I think for a non-marginalised body to take the language and struggle of the persecuted is highlyh problematic

I Made A Video About This!

(Anonymous)

2010-05-26 02:42 pm (UTC)

I created a video on why its necessary to have gay pride.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqrnCPekmcY

Re: I Made A Video About This!

sparkindarkness

2010-06-01 01:03 pm (UTC)

Thank you, I think it's a powerful and important piece

If it were just "Geek Pride", I would see it as pretty positive; as pointed out, Black Pride came before, and just starting a relatively unique event called Pride and sporting a positive message but using its own symbolism, it would be its own unique thing. It could be taken on its own without forcing comparison between "Geek Pride" and other Pride events.

The problem, at least from over here in Straight White Athiest Geek Woman land, is the comments about colorful flags and "geek drag" and so on and so forth aren't about being a geek and doesn't say anything about being a geek. It just feels like mocking the icons of GLBT Pride festivals and therefore mocking GLBT Pride. There's a lot of sarcasm and dark humour and haha serious comments going around in the geeky community, so if it is mockery, then that sort of mockery starts twisting my perception of the whole event.

I think the event was, in general, intended positively and without insult to or opposition to, the GLBT community - but I can't shake the suspicion that it was intended to be satirical in the first place.

Which would mean it's NOT a positive thing for Geeks - because the implication would be "Ha ha ha, look at the silly geeks, they're having a Pride event just like the silly GLBTs (and the silly Blacks)!" Not only is it disrespectful of GLBT Pride and Black Pride, it implies that there isn't a need for some sort of positive Geek attitude. It makes Geek Pride look as ridiculous as Straight Pride, only the Straight Pride people really are serious.

I'd like to think it's isolated bigoted people inside the Geek community making idiot hurtful comments, and that we can hunt them down and beat them with rubber chickens until they learn better.

It could be a case of "Ha Ha Serious" hitting a bad note. That would be better, because it would be only accidentally hurtful out of ignorance and could be corrected by pointing out that no, this isn't Ha Ha at all, just Serious, so stuff it. Hurtful sucks regardless of the motivation, but being hurtful out of ignorance is easily corrected if the person isn't a dick.

I'm just worried that it's intended to shoot everyone down.

I'm not entirely happy with geek pride at all, but then to go out of their way to appropriate the language and experience of persecuted people for... what? Humour? That amuses me not at all

I'm afraid I'm not the best person to question the Geek Pride stuff, considering I'm far from being a geek (like you are)... or so I think, if the way technology seems to not return my feelings is anything to go by (plus my dislike for games). But anyway, it sounds like a really bad idea to make a Geek Pride movement. And the comparisons... are you really serious when you say they're subtle? It sounds like mockery to me, being quite honest.

Damn! Commenting in your journal was so hard now... :(

Aye I do think it comes off as mockery, as deliberate exploitation and using someone else's oppression as some kind of joke

My first reaction to the links on straight pride was, this is just ridiculous. Then I thought no, it's not. What it is, is very scary.

It speaks of the bully who took what was important from you and tried to make it his. It further says, there are more of us, and we can do this.

Aye, very, very scary

It's typical bigoted crap - When i first saw it my draw dropped and I had to take a minute before breaking something.

It's an attack against our very identity and claiming the very thing we've held up to protect yourselves from being beaten down.

If not mentioned already, Proudmoore server in WoW has a gay pride parade. 6th annual in June. You would have to roll a Horde character but we go from Camp Taranho in The Barrens and walk down to Ratchet, break the ship that takes you to Booty Bay and dance around for an hour or so, and then disperse. We even have a radio station pre-recorded from The Taint's website that you can play that is all the anthems and good dance music. It's a good time. We sometimes made floats... "Taurens on Bikes" leading the parade. "Priests with Pom-Poms." Things of that nature. And usually we create a guild for non-Taint people for that day so that they can be in on the action and know what's going on. Very fun time. You might want to check it out. They bought a website. www.proudmoorepride.com but haven't actually done anything with it yet and the graphic for Pride on our homepage is down so I can't even tell you what day it is. But the web address is Taint News. We do it in conjunction with the Stonewall family, which is kind of our sister Alliance guild. But we've infinitely more organized than they are. They just meet us in Ratchet and boat over to Booty Bay or just meet us in Booty Bay. Once they have the info back up, you should check it out. It's a fun time.

*Out and Proud Geek since 1998.

I wish our server did, but then IU don;'t even step outside my guild on our server, and never ever watch trade or general chat. The migraine it causes is not worth it. Would that Vashj could be so good

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