dykes take over yyz
every year, my neighbourhood turns into a gigantic party area for the toronto pride festival. on way back home from meeting my friend cheryll all the way up north, i ran into the pride crowd. young, old. plain, dressed-up. repressed, extrovert. hetero, homo, trans, bi. supporters, onlookers. it used to run for a week, monday to sunday- this year is the first year i noticed that they have started to cover wknd to wknd (hence, 10 days). and though it gets somewhat rowdy (what would you expect in party for over a million people?), i think it is incredible that it really is one of the best festivals in canada (and in the world- and i have been the berlin love parade and san fran and nyc pride as well), not to mention more than 150 year-round and +1200 additional volunteers for the peak days (last three: fri-sunday).
brought up in somewhat kosher asian culture, the issue of homosexuality has been one of the neglected one in my household. well, also probably because we didnt have to deal with it directly as all three kids turned out to be hetero. the majority. the only exception perhaps may be me, who was exposed constantly to 'alternative' culture as arts realm is full of 'diversified' stock. i hesitate to use these words and i put them in quotations, because it really doesnt mean much to me, nor it ever did. everyone is different and whatever one likes is whatever one likes. only thing that i know is that being part of a minority certainly takes more efforts- in all context of the word 'effort.' but it seems for the sake of clarity, such terms cannot be avoided. just because when talking in general terms, we need to marginalize, sigh.
it's like proposition eight in last US election in california (for those who missed out, that was the state-vote to reverse, to ban same-sex marriage in california). i personally think the term 'marriage' should be taken out from a political constitution, period. for my taste, a 'civil union' would do- whether it be common-law, xx-xx, xy-xy, xx-xy, whatevers. i know im touching a sensitive issue for many, but knowing the people i know and loving the people i love, i just dont see a point of majority approving or even 'allowing' minority's rights. since when does majority know what's good for minority? does/should gender-orientation of sexes of a partnership determine the value of a relationship? i would hate to think that i even have to argue about such fundamental things.
a relationship is a relationship, love is love, care is care. one should be encouraged and supported by others to be happy and responsible, even if that involves specifics that other may not like. for instance, a common situation may be a xx-xy relationship where one partner's family/friends protesting their relationship due to whatever the reason may be- socioeconomical, age, race, whatever. we've come a very long way to determine as a group that mixed racial relationships can be successful and effective. you dont have to like it. you dont have to actively support it. however, you should not protest and try to take away others' rights to a happy life. it's not yours. it's theirs. toleration is not what i would hope for such a situation, however, toleration and acceptance should be at least the minimal standard.
i have jokingly heard someone referring the pride week as 'heterosexual shame day,' which is laughable. if you are being ridiculous, fine. but realize all you are doing is dismissing your own self-worth (this was from a heterosexual being who is slightly homophobic), that you cannot find your own value without ridiculing the other. and that is not only unnecessary, but pathetic.
i saw many people filling out the pride area today. and i am thinking about all my alternative-life-choiced friends and acquaintances. not only in sexual context, but in all contexts- people who are in the minority. heck, depending on the context, i also belong to a minority (ie. people who may lead 'impractical bohemian' lifestyle, being in classical music of all things, sigh. i mean- the average income of musicians in general in relation to the ave. education is staggeringly low. according to my parents, being a classical musician is one of the most baffling things as effort-to-compensation ratio is just.. crap). gender, socioeconomics, race, education, whatever the divisible be. it's only interesting because there are people who arent like oneself. and nothing is identical- even if you plant same crop of seeds from a mother plant, under identical condition, they will grow to be slightly different. even more differently when the progress of time is considered- some ahead, some behind, often reversing and switching turns, etc.
and i saw many young kids, i mean teenagers and people in their 20s, esp. the gay ones, looking beautiful, hopeful and excited, just like any other people in that age who are in a context they enjoy being in. or like any other people who are participating in an activity they chose and that they like (let's get rid of age issues and all that as well). but this particular age group, i must say, are extremely beautiful, many of them. well-taken care of, well-groomed, hitting-the-gym, etc. and they are out, just two blocks away, strutting under the hot june sun, vibrating to the thumping beats from numerous stages and bars. street covered with rainbows of colours and activities.
when pride is over, they may have to face a situation of discrimination, just like every other one of us. being seen as 'different' from the rest and being put in disadvantage because of it (just like old people are made fun by young people, and young people being ridiculed by old people, girls calling boys dumb, boys calling girls overly emotional, riches thinking they pay too much for social services, poors thinking the wealth is never distributed fairly, the case goes on and on), and at that age, things can be rather sharp and pointy. i dont think it gets better with aging either. only thing that aging provide is more opportunity for one to be a little more open, tolerant and even willing to learn, to embrace something that is different from self.
today's saturday, a typical pride saturday in yyz, dedicated to dykes. tomorrow afternoon, after i have already left to the airport, the 'infamous' (this is the word that official toronto pride webpage used, ha ha) gay pride parade will roll down this area. good for them. i sincerely hope it wont rain and that all who are involved to have a great time. am i sorry for missing the parade? well, not in particular, as i do have my own immediate things to attend to (ie. get monkey butt to banff) but it would have been great to be there. and i will be thinking of all my non-majority friends, which ironically will include every single one of them. because we are all different.
happy pride toronto. dont ever let majority rule over you, minority. and i hope we all find courage to be who we really are- whatever that may be.