(Dedicated to the trans women of color who made it so Pride month is possible and who are fighting to this day.)
The key thing that makes minority pride different from majority pride is that society tells minorities that they should be ashamed of being such. For instance, this month is what many people consider Autism Awareness Month, where people are donating and corporations are going to make partnerships with an organization which had an ad which depicted my neurology as a sinister force that breaks up marriages, bankrupts our families, robs families and children of their dreams, and many other fucked up things (back when I wrote autism stuff I wrote this article on autism acceptance, our movement this month). Autism $peaks controls the narrative of autism, even Trump will be lighting the White House up blue (though nobody is surprised considering that he also thinks we’re broken).
A$ wants us down, to be ashamed and feel like we should be cured. Being proud of being autistic in the face of that narrative which is a constant bombardment year round but becomes the focus this month is total defiance.
For minorities, being out and proud of ourselves can actually be extremely dangerous as well. Yesterday was Trans Day of Visibility, but many of my trans friends talked about how being visible is a privilege, a fact that the murder rates of trans people show. In a much lesser effect I was personally targeted by someone for my internet activism with a video (much much much lesser, the video was utterly ineffectual as were the two after it which had screenshots of my page, but it did make me realize that if he had a larger audience or I had more personal information I would be fucked).
And of course, being proud and open about who we are always gets people running to shut us down and tell us to stop. There’s always someone there to ask why not straight pride, why not white or men’s history month (as someone who studies ancient cultures and some historical stuff, I can tell you that most history is about and written by white men so having 30 days where we put some effort in recognizing the history of people who aren’t that is hardly much to ask). These people are coming to in effect silence our voices, not allowing us to speak and be proud of ourselves by asking when we do it (and only when we do it, it’s always a refutation never starting it themselves, making it obvious that their point isn’t to have pride in themselves but to silence us) why can’t they do it as well.
But if you’re having pride in being the majority, it doesn’t have those aspects. Being proud of being white or straight and making movements of such doesn’t have any rebellion in it, any defiance, but is taking pride in your privilege in this system. It’s taking pride in that which gives you power over us based on how this structure of oppression works, and that’s what makes it so much of a problem. We’re doing it as an act of defiance claiming what makes us devalued by the system and rebelling against that which tries to keep us down, while those who take pride in being the majority are celebrating the power they have by doing so.
Right now, standing up is hard. Being proud in the face of such oppressive forces that would rather us be gone is making trying to exist a challenge. But I feel like now it’s more important than ever to stand and be ourselves, be defiant in the face of oppression if we can, especially because there are so many who can’t safely. The need to call for acceptance and to make people accept us by being impossible to ignore is ever greater the harder it is, and I don’t have any easy answers on how to do that or how to manage the pushback. To all my fellow Outcast, all I can really say is that I stand by your side. I wish there was more.
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