If you’ve never been to a Pride event, don’t you think it’s about time?
This may be news to some, but if you’re a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and are a fan of a good time, there’s no reason why you can’t join in on the Pride celebrations, even if you’re straight.
Your first time at Pride may seem a bit daunting, but don’t let that completely clueless feeling deter you. If the social media coverage and rumours through the grapevine are all you’ve really had to go off of, here’s what you really need to know about going to Pride as a straight person:
You’re more than welcome to join
There’s no secret password or exclusive invitation for Pride. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be anywhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, Pride festivities welcome everyone who considers themselves an ally or is supportive of the community.
Pride is ultimately a celebration of individuality, so if you’re in favour of celebrating, the more the merrier. Don’t feel like you’re not wanted just because the festivities aren’t “for you”.
But some events may not be suitable for everyone
Although Pride as a whole is open and inclusive, there are particular gatherings, parties etc. that are designed to bring together and celebrate specific segments of the community. It’s important to identify these events and be respectful enough to be willingly excluded. If you’re not sure, just ask.
There’s a lot more going on than what’s on the ‘gram
Pride coverage often features the most sensational and outrageous aspects of the celebration, but that’s not all that goes on. Pride is a very emotional time for many people, and not everyone will be dancing and smiling 24/7. You’ll also see all types of people of all ages – families, singles, couples and groups – and that’s helpful to understand the true diversity of the LGBTQ+ community.
You need to be comfortable without labels
Yes, you may be straight, but at a Pride event that might not be obvious, and that’s ok. Unless you want to wear a giant sign expressing your sexual orientation or gender, people may assume you’re somewhere on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and honestly, it doesn’t matter.
Don’t be offended by people’s questions or presumptions, and don’t assume things about other people either. There will be other straight people at Pride, there will be people who are very open about who they are, and there will be people who don’t label their sexuality at all.
At the end of the day, what does it matter? Just enjoy and focus on interacting with others as people, without focusing sexuality.
Fun is important, but respect is number 1
The core of Pride is acceptance, so if you’re not going to be respectful don’t bother coming. There are a lot of terms associated with the LGBTQ+ community, and while we don’t expect you to know every single one, you need to at least know what not to say.
Using appropriate language is so important, so make sure you’re not offending anyone with your choice of words at Pride. It’s better to say nothing at all, or ask rather than assume or guess. Treating people as people also means being respectful with your eyes and body language, so please try not to gawk or judge.
Capture with caution
If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram photo from Pride, please be mindful of what you’re posting. Just because people are out and about in public, does not mean they necessarily want to be photographed and posted online. Taking photos for your own personal pleasure is one thing, but having your Pride outfit plastered across the interwebs isn’t many people’s cup of tea.
Some people come in from other towns and even other countries to experience Pride, and for many it’s one of the only times they feel like they can really let loose and express themselves. Some people at Pride aren’t even out to their family members, and their mom stumbling upon a photo of them in their skimpiest Pride wear isn’t how most people want to come out, or be seen by their colleagues either for that matter.
Not everyone will be there to celebrate
Pride celebrations are routed in protest, and even though we’ve made some amazing progress towards equality, not everyone is on board. Don’t be surprised to see people protesting for LGBTQ+ rights, as well as people protesting against LBGTQ+ rights as well.
The emotions can run high, and while you may not expect that kind of energy at Pride, it’s important to acknowledge the deeper issues at hand.
Being straight at Pride is 100% ok, so don’t feel like you need to fake it to fit in. It’s disrespectful to the LGBTQ+ community and completely unnecessary to pretend that you’re something you’re not, and Pride isn’t the time to play Halloween and put on another persona for a day. Imitation isn’t always flattering.
Don’t be surprised to be surprised
You may see some things you’ve never seen before, that’s a given at Pride, but your impulse to do a double take will subside with time. Having an open mind is paramount. Be prepared to get wet, sweat and inherit an accessory or two. The more you open yourself up to the experience, the more you will get out of it.
Take the time to really experience Pride and all that it has to offer – it’s way better than just popping in for 5 minutes of the parade.
It’s important to be educated and to educate others
Understanding the history behind Pride in any particular city, and the journey towards equality is an important part of appreciating Pride as a whole. Not all Pride celebrations are equal, and celebrations vary depending on where you are. Context is key when you’re participating in Pride.
If you’re happy to be at Pride and proud to support the LGBTQ+ community, share that message with your networks as well. Until the whole world is on the same page, it’s important for us all to stand up for the rights and equality that Pride represents at its core.