Diversity at Pride should mean more than a 55+ cooling zone!Editorial, Top Highlights Thursday, August 6th, 2015
As Pride season ended, I had several conversations with those of a certain age about the events around the country. Many of those that are 40 years old and older are beginning to feel left out of the festivities. Pride seems to be all about youth. Is it time for Pride to grow up and provide programming that appeals to those who want to do something other than look at hot, young men and women enjoying their youth dancing in bars and having libations? My older gay brother always says, “Stampp get over it. If you can’t hold on to your youth, hold on to a youth!” That works for some, but most people 40 and over that I have talked to would like Pride to have a more diverse program of activities.
When I have experienced Pride in international cities, whether it was Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Montreal or a host of other cities, I am always struck by the diversity of the events that constitute Pride. EuroPride this year was accompanied by a Freedom Conference, as well as a film festival and a host of workshops. The Sydney Pride festivities featured art, cinema, debates, trivia and sporting events. Same for Amsterdam. Just check out the events in London, Copenhagen or Madrid, you’ll get the idea quickly that international cities understand that Pride is for everyone, not just those who want to party. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just that if Pride is to celebrate the “community,” it should do that with varied activities that appeal to all aspects of the community.
Many Prides, including the one in San Diego, think diversity is providing a hip-hop and Latino dance area. To be fair, San Diego Pride has provided 55, the senior cooling zone, for several years. The program says the space offers “a cool, shady area with seating and services for people 55 and up.” Are you kidding me? That’s what San Diego Pride thinks is programming for a 55-year-old? I hope next year they have space for my walker and oxygen tank.
As our community continues to experience full equality, Pride should and must appeal to the diversity that is the LGBT community. That includes those who are looking for something other than the ability to wear fun crazy outfits, cruise that hot man or woman, or try a Jagerbomb for the first time. We live in America’s Finest City and our Pride should be America’s finest.
How about some Pride activities that take advantage of our beautiful city? What about an organized hike at Iron Mountain Trail or Cowles Mountain? Or organizing a Pride Gallery Hop that would feature LGBT artists from the community at various galleries around the city? How about a “Night at the Museum” where a couple of the museums in Balboa Park are opened late for cocktails and a curated tour? What about a comedy night at the former Birch North Park Theatre? Or a lecture series and tour of the history of San Diego? Or a special Pride performance at the Spreckels organ pavilion? America’s Finest City Pride should have cultural, sporting and entertainment events that appeal to a diverse age group. One of the wonderful benefits about aging is your interests become increasingly more diverse. While Pride should have great activities for those celebrating their youth and new civil rights freedoms, it should also acknowledge the wonderful diversity represented by those who helped create the very rights that young LGBT people are experiencing.
I do have interests beyond seeking shade and “services” in the 55 and over area. It is the equivalent of those over 40 years old suggesting there should be a Pride 25 and under baby bottle area.
OK Pride, now you know. What are you going to do about it in 2016?
San Diego LGBT Weekly
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