“Look” is also a verb, but it’s not a particularly active one.

I live in a bubble. There’s no denying it, so I might as well just come out and say it. The kind of people I interact with in person or online tend to be pretty righteous folks. Without putting a ton of effort into it, I happened to stumble upon a bunch of awesome humans who knew other awesome humans. Individuals who have the kind of intelligence, insight and/or social awareness that I lack. They’re often progressive and make an effort to enact change as best they can. It’s a comfy place to nestle. I don’t know what words I have for it other than lucky, fortunate, charmed or privileged.

It’s probably also the reason I’m shielded from how regressive aspects of society seem to be. Heterosexual Pride Day? Really? I mean, I knew the hashtag existed, but only from people openly (and rightfully) mocking the ever-loving shit out of it. Straight, white people feel insecure because they’re still the cultural, economic and media-visible majority, but ever so slightly less than before? It feels weird to rail against this kind of mentality, because it almost feels like straw-manning. Who are these people who think white people are oppressed? Because 100% of everything isn’t precisely the way you want it, the best course of action is to throw a tantrum? That’s what children do. It also gets in the way of them learning anything.

I’ve had weird feelings around Pride celebrations this year, so I’ll spend the next paragraph trying to dig myself out of the inevitable hole. I’m obviously 100% gay rights. Love who you love. Let your personal identity match that which you wish it to. It’s not remotely that I don’t care, but other people’s gender identity or romantic and sexual infatuations between consenting parties are not my business whatsoever. I can appreciate and support them for sure, but I have no desire to have a say or conflicting viewpoint in them. Enjoy being you, not that you remotely needed or wanted my blessing or permission. This paragraph is so poorly written, but that’s what happens when I feel like I’m burrowing further with every word.

So with that out of the way, didn’t Pride seem really, really corporate this year? I’m speaking from a straight, white, cis male perspective here that lacks the nuance of somebody actually affected by societal stigma, so if I’m out of line here, please please please tell me to shut the fuck up. Am I okay thinking the whole thing seems like a cynical cash grab? I hope it makes LGBTQ+ people truly happy, but does it? Hanging colourful shit is a bare minimum effort that does not translate to substantive help for marginalised peoples. Pride is a political movement, right? People have suffered very real physical/emotional harm for years at the hands of societal attitudes. Putting up a nice front with no further action I hope at least helps people feel like they’re loved, but does it really do much?

There’s been a bunch of aggressive attitudes towards the actions of Black Lives Matter’s behaviour in the Toronto Pride Parade. Or so I’ve been told. I’ve seen a ton of pro BLM posts on Facebook, implying that there is an anti-BLM voice out there. Really, anti-BLM people? Getting furious because the parade was stalled in the name of attempted societal progression? The sentiment I heard reported was “this is not the place to say this”. You’re attending a parade in honour of marginalised peoples who have dealt with systematic oppression for their whole lives, but you’re offended that half an hour of your life is disrupted because you don’t want to have to listen to issues that will likely never affect you? You just want to gawk and smile at the colourful flags and costumes without having to think about why people feel moved enough to walk through a procession with their heads and hands held high? Fuck you. If that’s your support, it means very little. I mean, I wasn’t there, but that’s more because I’m a curmudgeonly bore who hates parades and sun.

Of course, it’s rich of me to judge. Sitting here in my bubble isn’t doing shit to advance the cause. I get to soak in the wisdom of people who are exceedingly more informed than I am, but do nothing with the knowledge I gain. Why would I? The only people I seem to interact with are those who know more than me. I’m not gonna patronisingly tell them of things that they already have a far more nuanced view.

A super wise friend of mine posted today that the word “ally” is a verb. Verbs are doing words. We don’t become allies by saying we are, it’s a term that’s ascribed to us through our actions. I do very little. Despite any intent, I’m practically the ally equivalent of a rainbow flag hung in the window of some corporate entity. I hope that when I get a chance to help others, I can help half as much as those around me already do. Because that seems like the right course of action.

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