Pride and Prejudice: The Problem with Banning Pride
After the Russian government banned the Moscow Pride for a century this August, one may begin to wonder: why would anyone want to ban the manifestation of love and diversity? If we are people who claim to value equality, then why do some appear to be more equal than others?
I took part of my very first pride parade in June and I would describe it as a wondrous escapade. If you’ve ever been scuba diving – the experience compares to the initial dizziness, only it’s as if you’re enveloped by an ocean of awesome. Unfortunately, many of my friends couldn’t come because they were told by their parents not to – or they simply had to come without their families’ knowledge and consent. People where I live are prejudiced against similar events and manifestations. Years ago, when the Pride tradition was first introduced, some would throw stones at the marchers. Angry “haters” hunted paraders down after the Pride and beat them up. Nowadays, the situation is much more stable; citizens still speak out against the parade, but there are thankfully no accidents like those of the years passed. Still, many parents in Eastern European countries are frightened for their children’s safety.
A paradox arises. On the one hand, Pride is meant to be an expression of love, peace, and equality; it’s also about having certain values, beliefs, and principles and daring to make some noise and having your voice heard. Above all, pride parades are a celebration of positives. It even sounds a little like a LGBTQ-centered democracy manifesto. On the other hand, the opposition to Pride comes with negativity, hate, and an attitude that is on the far end of the spectrum from the parade – as different as a monochrome and a rainbow palette are.
The biggest problem we’re facing is the need to change that negative state of mind and “coloring” it in positivity. There obviously isn’t a textbook answer to how to impose good ideas (teachers have been trying for decades, but how many students are actually listening?), but one thing is certain: it’s gonna take time and a lot of patience. In order to make progress, ignorance has to be turned into knowledge and we have to become the teachers. That will take time as well, as we can’t wave a magic wand and have what we want. However, if we go out and help educate, the solutions are going to be much closer than they are today. So turn your computer off, go outside, and tell a friend – or a stranger – about what a beautiful place the world can be, if only we decide to make it.