rainbow flag

Why I’m Not Thrilled This Pride

June marks the beginning of Pride Month with its rainbow flags, rainbow shoes, rainbow glitter, rainbow…everything. And while I love my rainbow as much as the next kid, this year, the celebration feels shallow.

Pride, though originally an act of radical resistance, is now more of an excuse for corporations to pander to LGBTQ customers through rainbow colored goods. It’s the time when the national advocacy organizations flood my social feeds with happiness and multicolored graphics. There are parties. There is fun. This is the time where LGBTQ people should feel empowered to let our freak flags fly.

Yet, I just cannot get there.

I grew up in a place without Pride as I’ve come to know it now. For my first 20 years of life, I had no idea what Pride was. There isn’t a ton of rainbow in small town Indiana. There were Pride celebrations in Indianapolis (two hours away from me) and Chicago (two hours away from me), but the celebration never quite reached me in my rural isolation.

This has been a rough year. In the year since marriage equality was declared the law of the land, the backlash against LGBTQ people, specifically trans people, has been swift and fierce. There has been proposed legislation, and signed laws targeting LGBTQ people from Tennessee to North Carolina, from Indiana to Mississippi, from Georgia to South Dakota, and on and on and on.

When we’re dancing down the streets in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago, how many of us are thinking about those struggling in Fargo, North Dakota or Huntsville, Alabama?

There is the argument that now, more than ever, is the time to celebrate LGBTQ people. Now is the time to stand fearlessly in the face of hate. I would buy that argument if Pride were still about demonstration and resistance, but that ship has long since sailed. Pride is a commodified celebration that, while comforting and fun, stands for very little these days.

It’s still a revolutionary act to be queer or trans in this country. The political climate this year has proved that more than anything else. My hope is that while Pride kicks off across the states, we remember the revolution.

Header image via.


Katie Barnes (they/them/their) is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer. While at St. Olaf College studying History and (oddly) Russian (among other things), Katie fell in love with politics, and doing the hard work in the hard places. A retired fanfiction writer, Katie now actually enjoys writing with their name attached. Katie actually loves cornfields, and thinks there is nothing better than a summer night's drive through the Indiana countryside. They love basketball and are a huge fan of the UConn women's team. When not fighting the good fight, you can usually find Katie watching sports, writing, or reading a good book.

Katie Barnes is a pop-culture obsessed activist and writer.

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