Waymon Hudson

Taking Back Pride: Putting the Politics Back in Pride Parades

Filed By Waymon Hudson | June 19, 2010 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Action Alerts, Politics, The Movement
Tags: politics, Pride, pride celebrations, pride parades, protest, Take Back Pride

It's that time of year. Pride is in the air around the world for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and ally community. Parades, festivals, music, parties, shirtless boys, dykes on bikes, and more rainbows than you can shake your high heels at will abound in cities all over the country.

shapeimage_1.jpgIt is a time for celebration, for community, and for visibility. Yet now, more than ever, LGBT Pride celebrations need be something more. We need to put the politics back in Pride.

A grassroots effort to do just that has taken shape online. The "Take Back Pride" movement is asking people to not only celebrate our community, but also educate and agitate as well.

Over the years, Pride celebrations have shifted from their earlier protest march forms to more celebratory parties as LGBT people have felt safer, come out of the closet, and been more visible in society. Yet even as our parties grew larger, our legal rights and battles for equality have stalled, with major pieces of pro-LGBT legislation languishing in congress. That's why this year is the perfect time to take pride back to it's roots and put the politics and protest back in.

The Take Back Pride movement is asking people to still celebrate, but to do something as simple as carrying a sign with the LGBT rights issue that means the most to you. Want ENDA passed? Help educate the community by starting conversations with Pride goers by carrying a sign. Want DADT & DOMA repealed? Make a shirt and talk about about it at Pride with your friends and the people around you. As they say in their letter to the community:

30127_10150189860565691_736815690_13012254_1479639_n.jpgThis year, in light of the major battles we have ahead of us, we are asking for all of you to join us in taking back pride. While we have so much to be proud of in what we have accomplished as a community, this fight is far from over. We want our community to not only remember those who have fought and died before us, but to forge ahead in the struggle -- so that our children may one day live truly free and equal lives in this country.

For Pride 2010, we ask that organizers and participants of marches around this great country take this opportunity to be heard. Yell. Scream. Chant. Wear your chaps and thongs, but carry a sign while you do it. Put on your most sequined ball gown, but shout for your rights as you flaunt your fabulousness. The sheer number of people who turn out in the streets this June will send a clear message around the world that we are not content with what we have. We are somebody. We deserve full equality.

31327_10150195010280691_736815690_13172292_465124_n.jpgThe visibility that Pride provides is a powerful tool. Every year news stations turn up to film the wild gays throwing their big party. This year, let's show them we can not only celebrate how fabulous our community is, but how important our issues are.

I'm all for a big party. But we have big issues that need to be addressed and could use the momentum that a big push at Pride could provide. Imagine thousands of LGBT rights marches across the country pushing our issues. That's what Pride was and what it could be again.

So join the fight. Take Back Pride. Make a difference as you celebrate.

You can follow the Take Back Pride movement on Twitter, Facebook, or on their website.

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Thanks Waymon... you are so good at explaining and psyching up at same time..
Here for those who want to use a POSTER for their own 'favorite' gay problem, is link to Jame Equality McGonnigal's whole album.


My favorite is the one for DADT repeal.
Thanks to all our brave LGBT who serve/served in our

So far I have sent out to fb. and tweets : especially this one which pertains to me.
'Cuz I'm STRAIGHT I have over 1,300 more 'rights' than my (#lgbt) friends...and this is WRONG http://tinyurl.com/29mf7xtto '

to'#maddow #MSNBC #CBS #ABC #NBC #HRC #DADT #Prop8 #PHB #NYT #TPM #p2 .... oops forgot Huffpo and wapo and sfgate.

Please forward this to any and all in this country who you want to be thinking about Gay Rights!! ..and letting them know WE ARE!

Waymon - Thanks so much!!!

Here's the link to the avatars you can use on facebook or twitter to help spread the word!


We do not even make the media anymore. Like many I run into in day to day life, many believe we have the equal rights already. Why is it that the facts are left unsaid in the media? We certainly do not gain much space compared to Gulf Oil Spills, Bank Failures, Wars, or Terrorism. That is the question that needs to be addressed. If in fact over 50 percent of the people support equal rights, and there are a few more who will listen to the logical arguments as to why we should have them, then perhaps we will get them put into law. However as long as we are on the back burner, we will see our rights trickle in or remain unprotected.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 20, 2010 10:23 AM

Indeed. Thats a very good point.

Rick Sours | June 19, 2010 1:37 PM

There are issues involving LBGT youth and LBGT seniors. In my opinion, most of the LBGT community acts like these two groups are invisible.

Lesbian healhcare issues continue to collect dust upon rarely visted file shelves on Rhode Island Avenue

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | June 19, 2010 5:34 PM

I think the problem is so few of us actually step up and are proactive to make change? How many are part of the political infrastructure to put us in a position to have real political capital?

How many give $, volunteer their time for equality causes especially on a local and state level?

how many give $ to a national organization that scoops up $ and does little or nothing locally?

How many just want to party..la la la?

Hey, even the Imperial Court is getting more active, as it should since it was started by the first "out" gay to run for public office!

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | June 20, 2010 10:38 AM

I question the parades and the bar and corporate sponsorship money being used for an event that gets scant media coverage. When we are covered it is whatever the news cameras can find that is most outrageous to the homophobes and has also led to assaults post parade. This is true in many major cities "gayborhoods."

What about Gay Pride Rallies instead? What about spending that money on flying in speakers to address the national problems we face as well as local leaders to address the issues faced locally. Old expression I know, but "act locally and think globally."

What about Gay Pride events at local venues to educate and support common interests of all groups seeking their civil rights. This would not be in just large cities but in local communities of towns in the 50,000 to 100,000 population size. Between cruises, vacation sites and gayborhoods we have created our own ghetto of segregation and we pay a premium to be among our own.

Allies not glitter, Dykes on Bikes, shirtless boys on bar floats etc. How about we grow up and act like what we are: An American Civil Rights Movement. Funny, I do not recall anything as frivolous in the SUCCESSFUL African American Civil Rights Movement. Their events created respect in the larger population we have yet to bring to the GLBT population.

Rick Sours | June 20, 2010 12:57 PM

Have been raised in a faith that emphasized social awareness, I greatly appreciate the role of allies in obtaining full equality for various groups in our society. I remember how members of my faith were arrested and jailed in the South for their role in civil rights struggles.

Know what, folks? I"m gonna demure on this.

Yes, politics are important, no doubt about it. The way we're being shafted on DADT and ENDA and no doubt DoMA is reprehensible and should be attacked with everything we have at our disposal.

But even God rested on the seventh day. Just as we need to put up the good fight 364 days a year, on that one day it's time to celebrate what we have accomplished. You wanna have speakers telling me how much more work there is to be done? Sorry, I wont be listening, because I'm already quite aware of it. This is one day I want to forget about the battles and just enjoy my queer brothers and sisters and the nation-within-a-nation we've all built.

Sure, there are corporate sponsors now. Yes, a lot of money gets spent on these events. Huzzah and hurrah for that because, at the very least, it means Corporate America is taking us seriously for a change.

If this makes me a party head in your estimation, go for it. No skin off my back. But I'm planning on using that day to celebrate.

You have a good one, eh?

Justin Cook | June 20, 2010 7:03 PM


Thanks for your work and I truly understand needing a day of rest...however-- how many members of our community do you really think are even slightly politically aware?

I'd be willing to bet if we set up a camera outside your average NY gay bar on a Saturday night and asked people how they felt about ENDA, that at least 50-60% would have no idea what you're talking about. At least 30-40% would have no idea that Don't Ask Don't Tell hasn't been repealed already and in the case of New York, I can say with some certainty that there is a large population that thinks they can get married here.

What better way to educate our community than when they are a captive audience? I may be going out on a limb, but I'm willing to bet money that Pride for many (if not most) LGBT people in our country is the closest they get to doing anything even slightly political. I hope I'm wrong in this assumption, but I really don't think so unfortunately.

Oh, I have no illusions about how many folks in the community are politically aware. But think about it: you believe that you're gonna capture them on Pride Day when you havent captured them on the other 364? They'll be just as happy to head for the beer tent as they would to look at you. The partiers are not going to change their habits: they'll ignore the speeches. You're not going to win them over by wrecking *their* party. They will give you their best withering look and walk away.

So my feeling is, screw it. I might as well enjoy it too. For one day, I dont want to think about what a crappy government we have. For one day I want to look back on three decades of work and revel in the accomplishment. For just one day, I want to tell politics to go to hell.

I was discussing this SAME EXACT THING yesterday. In its current incarnation, Pride has sold its soul.

twinkie1cat | June 21, 2010 12:50 AM

Pride must still be all things to all gay people, both a show of power and a giant party, a time for the community to come together and be just that, a single community in all its diversity. In places where the community is politically powerful and elects politicians with its bloc vote, Pride is an affirmation of strength. In those where gays are still largely invisible, it is a statement of tomorrow's facts, a foreboding of things to come, like the early civil rights demonstrations and small political gains before MLK came into prominence.

What Pride needs to be careful of,in its partying, is not to become Southern Decadence, a virtual public drunk and orgy, confirming that of which the talibangelists warn. Gay people still need to be careful of their public image, especially in southern cities other than Atlanta where the Lavender District is so powerful the Republicans broke it up.(But a black lesbian still got elected to the General Assembly!)

What the GLBT community needs is cohesive leadership, someone (or a small group of people) like Dr. King and his co-workers that can rally the troops and demand equality. Unity has never been big in the community. It has always been a herd of cats. Until it unites on a few key issues, as it appears to be doing slowly but surely, it will not have the strength to change America or the reputation that makes the conservatives say "Uh Oh! We spilled the oil! Spin! Spin! Spend money! Make concessions!". And until that happens from Louisiana to Alaska, from South Carolina to Washington State, we will need a Pride that is both social and political and celebrates both who we are and who we wish to become.

I participated in the Take Back Pride contingent here in D.C. and had a fantastic time. I also found people were receptive and welcoming of my more "radical" and queer oriented signs that I brought. I couldn't have asked for a more inclusive and better group to march with!

Dani Barclay | June 23, 2010 3:50 PM

I am a straight woman, married with 4 boys. I am a huge supporter of gay and lesbian rights but sometimes I don't feel that what I am doing is enough. I raise my kids (ages 12,7,6,and 3) to be open minded and treat people equally, making sure they have plenty of exposure to my gay and lesbian friends so they never feel uncomfortable around them as adults. My oldest son wants to go to a pride rally the next time I go, I said I would take him. I have no issues with that. When he was 3 he wanted his ears pierced, my husband(first husband) was saying it wasn't right but I did it anyways saying, if he was a she, you wouldn't have any issues. My current husband and I strive to raise our children as equals, avoiding even saying things like "well, that is for girls". If they want a baby doll, they get one. If they want me to paint their nails, I paint them. That is that.
My question is, what more can I do? Where can a straight woman go to plead her case to other straight people who are so closed minded and bigoted? Being around gays and lesbians at pride, etc. is great and I have met a lot of really awesome friends. I feel that there is something more I can be doing. Let me know.
PS I live in So Cal

Hi Dani! Thanks for commenting!

I'm posting your comment as a discussion post later today, so hopefully we can answer some questions for you! :)