So today I thought I’d talk about something that I’ve realised is rather important.
Pride, and the importance of it. And the visibility of it.
But, not on an individual level, because I think that’s quite personal. (And, in the words of my lovely wife – I am not the Lorax, and I do not speak for the queers.)
The visibility of pride is a big issue for me, although perhaps unconsciously so, because I didn’t realise it until I’d stayed in Davie Street Village in Vancouver for over a week. (It’s sort of a land of milk and honey for LBGTIQ people – but really, it’s lovely. They’ve a community garden, some of the best sushi in the city and a leather bar. All bases covered, aye?)
Anyway, so there I was, walking along in Davie Street, and wondering how many pride flags or rainbows were present. I should actually count them one day, maybe. Now I know Davie Street is really the heart of Vancouver’s gay community and so of course there would be a gratuitous amount of gay flags, but it led me onto another thought.
Businesses need to show their pride.
All it takes is a sticker by the door or on a window, not even a flag. It’s a small gesture, but it means a lot. It makes me feel welcomed, and validated and important and that you won’t kick me out if you discover my partner is actually my wife. If I see wee rainbow beside the other signs or menus I tend to go inside just for the novelty of it. Of knowing that I’m welcome, of knowing that nobody will mind.
Sometimes I buy things, other times I don’t. The crucial thing is: I wouldn’t’ve gone in there otherwise, without the pride sticker on the door. (The wife and I actually encountered a kayaking company with a Canadian pride flag – the two red sections being replaced by rainbows. Patriot and proud – two birds with one stone, as it were.) But we approached that company because of the flag, yeah?
Every little bit helps, every little bit of visibility of acknowledgement. You don’t have to be gay or queer or bisexual to support LGBTIQ people. You don’t have to be gay to stick a gay pride sticker on the door of your business, or home, or company catering car. It takes very little effort, but it would be so worth it.
I take note of every sponsor at pride events. (Like the bank ANZ in Australia who did beautiful bedazzled ATMS for Sydney Mardi Gras~!) And I think that a lot more people would get involved if they knew just how much it meant for us to know we’d be accepted. Or, indeed, how loyal the LGBTIQ community can be when we want to be.
Like I said, I’m not the Lorax, I don’t speak for the queers, but I do speak for myself and I speak from experience.
Let me say once more with feeling: Businesses need to show their pride.
And I know there are even more companies and restaurants and hairdressers and entrepreneurs who are LGBTIQ-friendly but don’t specify – do so, please.
It’ll be worth it.