It is official friends, my ass is old - I realized this when I thought about the fact that this is my 11th Pride in Toronto. 11 is a pretty mature number, wouldn't you say?
With all the squalor and scandals around the this years festivities, like many I sat with the moral dilemma of wondering if I had any interest in spending my money at events that did not support the freedom of expression and politics.
Obviously the Israeli apartheid dialogue created quite a stir among conscience queers, and I agree that queers were not without merit in being pissed about this decapitation from the grassroots movement of what Pride stood for in the past: a platform to speak differences, to be heard, and to force those who did not want to listen to hear.
Aside from the corporatization of Pride and the trademark floats with men and women dressed in gear that would hopefully make your mommy blush, Pride is a moment to sit and reflect about how lucky we are as Canadians to be able to hold our partners hands on the street without fear of being put into jail, about being open to show love with another human being despite the fear of feeling outcast or alien. Pride is about coming together as a diversity of sexualities, backgrounds, intellects and experiences to show that we all have a common cause of togetherness in a world that is often full of such hatred and judgment.
I did not party as hard as I have in my younger days this year at Pride. I did not hit-up any events that were hosted by Pride Toronto, but I did take advantage to the unique atmosphere that is created across communities, both straight and gay. I took the time to see the queers and friends that I love and who have supported my queerness over the past 11 years. We drank, laughed, hugged and caught up about those special moments that we have missed in each others lives. Friends from near and far showed that they are true friends, each year they have always been at these celebrations with me.
I also made new friends and I am thankful for being given that chance to show them who I am, a complicated and simple queer ethnic dyke and strong, independent woman.
I took a moment to squeeze my girlfriends hand and tell her I love her as I past other queer women, I applauded those who walked in heels that my dyke-ass could never handle with such poise, I smiled and all my coloured brothers and sisters and exchanged a thought - we sure have come a long way, but lets not forget that there is always need to reach for higher ground.
Applaud the freedom we have as queers living in Toronto but stop segregating those in the community from feeling a sense of belonging. Gender is a thing of the past when it should come to organizing social events, lets love be free to flow into safe spaces where we can all show that our affection reaches beyond a hook-up or simply standing for ourselves without regard for anyone else.
In Pride together we should stand, hand in hand, heart to heart, mind to mind. Let this be an open freedom call to queers to voice the causes and woes of those less fortunate, of those living in constraints and always remember the struggles of those queers that came before us.
Be full of pride each day.