By Martin Fyn Aamand, co-founder of Aarhus Pride
In solidarity with each other: this is probably how most Prides have come into being.
But imagine if Prides were not needed and that every day simply had room for us all?
The universal and daily struggle for LGBTI+ peoples’ equal rights and opportunities has resulted in rainbow-coloured parades blossoming like flowers in every corner of the world. Even in places where the soil hasn’t yet been fertilised.
The tradition stretches back to 1969 when pioneers of the LGBTI+ community took up the fight against the discriminatory actions of the New York Police Department. On the same date the following year, 28th June 1970, the first Christopher Street Liberation Day march was organised. In Germany and Switzerland, many Prides are still called CSD (short for Christopher Street Day), named after that first parade.
Nothing new under the rainbow
So, colourful parades with room for both celebration and demonstration are old news. What is new is the number of LGBTI+ people in other cities who’ve thought: So ein Ding müssen wir auch haben (We have to have something like that too).
In 2010, I was part of the initiative to start Aarhus Pride, which came to fruition the following year. Since then, several other places in Denmark have been fortunate enough to host their own Pride parade, among them Aalborg, Fanø, and Gesten (the last one I have had the good fortune of participating in myself).
What many of these events have in common – whether they have been a permanent or a one-time event (so far), is that the purpose has generally been the same: to draw attention to LGBTI+ people and thereby improve our living conditions in all parts of society. And then of course party like no one else can.
It is also important to note that each of the different Prides have arisen in solidarity with the first of the Danish parades, Copenhagen Pride. For this reason, I think it is particularly fitting that this year’s theme is solidarity. No matter what your thoughts are on Copenhagen Pride (disclaimer: I’m a fan), the event is carried out in solidarity with all LGBTI+ people.
For better or for worse
However, when you’re planning a Pride, whether it is here in “dark” Jutland, or in “bright” Copenhagen, you can never expect full support from all parts of society. I myself learned this the hard way late one night at a fetish bar in Aarhus.
I still remember being filled with outrage. After telling me about their idyllic suburban life, and their wonderful neighbourhood, a pair of seemingly sensible husbands explained to me that they didn’t understand why a Pride in Aarhus was necessary.
“I just don’t understand why some people feel the need to draw that much attention to themselves. We’re doing fine in our neighbourhood,” one of them said.
As they didn’t experience any problems in their life, they reasoned that it wasn’t necessary to have an Aarhus Pride at all. They certainly weren’t going to drive their Volvo down to city centre and join a stereotypical glittery parade up and down Vestergade. To them, that would only confirm “regular” peoples’ assumptions that “gays only love glitter and have limp wrists”.
Make every day Pride
Even though I love glitter and probably do have limp wrists (I guess it’s more practical than stiff wrists), I experimented with an optimistic defence:
“But if you were to join the parade, you could exemplify the diversity in our community.”
They didn’t buy that at all, so I bought another beer and left the discussion at that.
The idealist in me was reassured that we definitely needed Aarhus Pride. Ironically, this couple had managed to convince me of the opposite of what they had intended.
It is important to remember that even if our lives are brilliant, other people might still be having a hard time, and we need to stand together to help them. We can do that by participating in Prides, when we are able, and by sharing the pride every day.
Just imagine if Prides were no longer needed and every day simply had room for us all. We can make that a reality. If we stand together and show solidarity.