This post also appears in my Gazette blog. I post it here for national and international readers who do not have paid access to the Gazette site:
I look forward to the day when we won’t use labels for “LGBTQ” people anymore. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer-identified people cry out for tolerance and acceptance of their sexual orientation and gender identity — and for equal rights. They just want to be part of the great sea of humanity, to be treated no better and no worse than anyone else. I think the main purpose of annual Pride parades is to raise awareness, to say, “look, we’re here, and we want equality.”
So, why then, in places like Montreal where equality is a fait accompli, do we still have LGBTQ Pride parades and festivities? And why do some people fly figurative LGBTQ banners in their daily lives? I suppose the answer to my question, in part, is: it’s about celebrating diversity. But it also seems to me to be about celebrating labels, and saying “we’re different.” Which seems to be a bit of a contradiction to me, if, in fact, those same people don’t want to be treated any differently.
And round and round we go . . .
Thing is, I’m all for a good party. And almost any excuse will suffice. (I would love to have a ’60s-style love-in!) But I fear the LGBTQ flag-waving may actually be setting back the drive for tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ people in some places.
Case in point: An annual music festival in the United States has been under fire for several years because it will only admit “born-women.” “Trangender women” are not permitted to enter. But my question is this: how would the organizers know if someone is a born-woman or not, unless somebody waves a trans label in their faces?
This has been a complaint of mine for a long time: many women who have transitioned or are transitioning just want to blend in with all the other women on the planet. They don’t want to be called “trans women,” and nobody would even know they have transitioned unless someone else points it out, such as the media and the transgender community, which love to use the “transgender” label whenever possible, even if it means labelling people who don’t want to be labelled. Result: people who never wanted to be considered “different” are unfairly labelled and “outed” as such, and face discrimination as a result — even though they are legal women.
The same would apply for a gay person who keeps his sexual orientation to himself. He’s not in the proverbial closet; he’s just private and sees no reason to blab about it to everyone. But then somebody else in the know points it out to others, and before long, his sexual orientation is common knowledge, and colleagues are asking him if he is going to the Pride parade, and people are treating him differently.
Sigh . . . I suppose it’s just me: I’m down on labels that single people out and leave them open to discrimination. But then, I’m just “a spirit in the material world” and “a not-that-old hippie chick.”
Now, about that love-in . . .