Are the increasing numbers of coporate logos and politicians at Montreal’s Pride Parade a sign the end is near for the parade?
That’s one of the questions I found myself asking after seeing photos of Sunday’s (Aug. 14) annual event, which featured thousands of participants and, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the boulevard to watch the procession.
I admit I felt a little uncomfortable at first about the many corporate logos in the photos — mostly on T-shirts — but I quickly realized that the companies were showing their support for LGBTQ people and all that support entails, i.e. equal rights.
That’s a good thing, and if the companies win some new customers for it, all the better. They are also running a risk, I figured, of losing right-wing conservative customers, too. Yet, the companies there were undeterred. Bravo for them . . .
As for the politicians, well, it is something of a duty for some of them to be there now, though I am not so cynical as to doubt their sincerity. But if they didn’t show up, people would be asking why.
It all made me fully realize what it was meant to do, in part: that Canadian LGBTQ people mostly have equal rights and are accepted by most of mainstream society.
Hence, the parade was more of a celebration of LGBTQ diversity and the community’s victories rather than what it used to be about: highlighting the struggle for equal rights and acceptance.
Au contraire, Pride Parades in many other cities around the world are more about the struggles and less about the celebrations.
But here in Montreal and other major Canadian cities, just how much celebrating do we need to do now that we have won equality and acceptance?
Most LGBTQ people I know have been — or still are — activists at one time or another. Many of my American friends are still fighting the good fight, and lord knows, they have got a long way to go.
But most of my Canadian LGBTQ friends have moved on in life, now that there is little or nothing to fight for. They don’t carry signs proclaiming their sexual orientation or gender identity. They don’t attend Pride Parades.
Not that there is anything wrong with people celebrating sexual and gender diversity. But just as the hippie movement of the 1960s faded — some say sold out — when corporate America latched on to it, I’m thinking Pride Parades may go the same route.
That may not be such a bad thing. I have always thought that we should shine a light on LGBTQ issues until we no longer need to, when equal rights have been won and most people simply shrug when they hear so-and-so is gay or trans, and say “So what? Who cares?”
We wanted people to care until the point when they didn’t care anymore . . . We’ve raised awareness, and most people are aware now and accepting to the point where there is no need for discussion.
It’s mission accomplished, mostly, in Canada.
I suppose Pride Parades will continue in Montreal and Canada for some years yet, but there will be little talk of the struggle for equal rights and perhaps less and less celebration of our diversity because . . . ho-hum . . . it’s just part of normal life now. Yes, as boring as talking about heterosexuality.
Yes, diversity is normal. LGBTQ people are not rebels anymore.
We have overcome the past prejudices and discrimination of government and the corporate world. They eagerly show their support now, and one day soon they will be ho-humming about it all, too.
Still, for those of us in Canada who want to continue advocating, we can look south of the border and around the world. There are plenty of LGBTQ people who need our help.