I mean, okay, there's the obvious: we should be proud of what we are are celebrate it. But it's so much more than that.
I'm proud to say that Toronto-- my love, my city, the city that I love like a person, is home to the 4th biggest pride parade in the world. I feel like, if you are going to see any type of person, you'll find them at Toronto's pride parade. You'll find the entire spectrum of gender, of race, of creed and religion-- the wildly outgoing and the cripplingly shy, the friend and the lover, the old and the young. Ready to dance, or embrace their sexuality, or just soak in the people around them. There is only one kind of person you won't find:
That is the Unaccepting.
Toronto Pride Parade is one of the only times that everyone feels like they can be themselves. I think on some level we all understand what it's like to be afraid of being ourselves. I, for one, am very, very loud inside, whether that translates or not, because I know that sometimes I overcompensate and come off as shy. But I'm sometimes afraid of my own tendencies to say things at inappropriate times, talk too much or laugh obnoxiously loud for obnoxiously long, or, what I think is my biggest problem when I am being myself: come off as too friendly too quickly and freaking people out. I'm very forward, and sometimes abrasive.
In a similar but toned down version of how I see some people look at trans women, for example. And that look breaks my heart. Because that look can fizzle out the fire burning inside someone.
Pride is not like that. Pride is not a time to be self-conscious. There are people who have had horrible slurs hurled at them all their life and here they are, letting their true selves run wild. It encourages me to do the same, and almost inspires me. At Pride, I'm quick to embrace self-love and the love of others: to hug and compliment strangers and strike up conversation, because I know I am among people who understand. They may not know it, but they understand it.
I think some judgement comes from genuine ignorance, like racism. But I think a lot of judgement comes from inside: a person reflects their own insecurities onto others. That's why psych studies found that homophobic men are most aroused by gay porn. We repress the things in others that we feel shame for in ourselves. When we think we are being judged, we throw up walls and judge back.
The environment of Pride is different. Rather than fearing that everyone sees you the way you see yourself, you trust that everyone sees you as a person. Someone who's got fears and dreams and hopes and desires, and is just trying to get through it all their own way. Like you.
When everyone agrees to genuinely perpetuate an environment of acceptance, everyone's true colours start to bleed out out onto the pavement. Everyone is more honest, and gentler, and the world becomes so much brighter. People shine with their ideas and their values plain on their face, and the diversity is overwhelming and breathtaking.
Pride Parades, and environments like them, does this: It makes you realize that you're only seeing the colour red. And you've only really seen red for your whole life. And then it gives you a taste of the whole damn rainbow. And shows you what life would be like if you saw it in every colour. And it makes you want to be your own shade of azure, chartreuse, taupe, coral, jet black, whatever.
That is the kind of colourful world I want.