Other than the glorious arrival of Beyoncé’s twins, the most important event on any Houston gay's calendar this month is Houston Pride. The annual event is meant to commemorate the Stonewall Riots but also celebrate all the things that make us unique, AKA our fabulousness. Whether you’re a Pride Cub or a Pride Bear, there’s a few things to think about when you’re out this weekend.
As our Canadian pop priestess Carly Rae Jepsen sings, “I didn’t just come here to dance.” While it may have the veneer of a free-for-all bacchanal, modern gay pride parades originated to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, one of the most important milestones in American LGBTQ+ history. The community has made important strides, but we still have a long way to go—and in these uncertain political times, we can't take anything for granted. The best way to ensure that future is to be engaged and informed as to what’s going on. The past few months have taught us that now is not the time to rest on our laurels (even the literal ones) but make like Teen Vogue and stay #wokeAF.
We need to be cognizant as a community of the perils that transgender people, immigrants, and people of color face. While I’m not going to accuse anyone of white washing anything, the recent white Skittles snafu or Spotify not including any Latinx artists on the first version of their Pulse memorial playlist are further proof that we need to be supportive and aware of particular dangers groups under our umbrella go through. Instead of arguing over whether it’s necessary to add black and brown to our rainbow flag, we should be welcoming any group that wants to be be part of our community. Our movement is only as strong and noble as how we treat the ones who need our support the most. Haters should sashay away.
While both the parade and the festival are going to be crowded, make sure we’re kind and respectful to others. Don’t snark about LeAnn Rimes’s ex-husband during her performance at the Pride Festival or yell during CeCe Penniston’s gig at Rainbow on the Green that you're glad you finally got to meet her. Also, if you see any drag queens brave enough to wear full makeup during a Houston summer, tell them they look gorgeous.
Don't engage with protesters
Unfortunately, not everyone at Pride is going to be an ally. There’s going to be small, yet vocal, group of people who will spouting vile and hateful things. Luckily these people are roped off in their own anti-VIP section so we can easily ignore them. Most of them won’t listen to reason so there’s no use engaging them. The best way to deal with them is partially to follow our girl Michelle Obama’s advice. When they go low, remember, we make better signs than they do.
happy pride month from queer icon the babadook pic.twitter.com/f2JxwQbRDd— jacob (@jacobbullards) June 3, 2017
It's not about you, straights
As Abercrombie and Fitch learned, you cannot #alllivesmatter gay pride. We couldn’t make the strides we have without the help our our allies, but this weekend is not for fruit flies to parade us around like your pomeranian for a Snapchat story. It's not for the thirst traps who think we’ll ogle your bodies like you're a performer at Stripper Circus. We appreciate the support, but remember, this weekend you're the Michelles in a crowd of Beyoncés.
Know your surroundings
Be careful out there. Travel in wolf packs. Take an Uber or Lyft if you're too drunk to drive. Use the buddy system if you ditch your besties to “meet” a new Scruff acquaintance. And if you're marching in the parade, look down occasionally for horse poo, just like Julia Roberts did in the polo scene in Pretty Woman.
Regardless of what you get out of Pride—an excuse to party with your cadre of besties or to raise awareness for freedoms we have yet to win—it's a celebration of who we are as a community. Like the disco song that's probably blaring at the Eagle right now says, “We are family.” And for the night, we're united to show the world that, like the Babadook, we’re here, we’re queer, and we're not going anywhere.