“Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride”
Pride and Politics
The new documentary, “Beyond Gay” is now on the festival circuit and has people talking. The film looks at how a Pride parade organizer checks the relevance and role of Pride celebrations. We see that sometimes these celebrations bring about some violent reactions as well as cause wonderful celebrations. Pride has become a mirror for our civil rights and the film shows just how far we have come. We get a portrait of Pride that is both devastating and joyful. We go to Moscow Pride and see the ingenuity of the Russians, to Vancouver where we understand using Pride as a way of “confronting the authorities”.
Directed by Bob Christie, the film shows us what is happening in gay communities internationally and what is the position of LGBT rights both here at home and in Europe. We see the heroes of our movement and recognize their efforts and the obvious trend of Pride celebrations to become flamboyant parties instead of what they were meant to me—proof in our solidarity and an expression of who we are. It I especially interesting to hear what European Pride producers have to say about the state of Pride. This is a film that every thinking member of the LGBT community should have to see.
Now that Pride has become an international celebration, it is important to understand what it is all about. Ken Coolen is the Vancouver Pride parade director and he and several others of the Vancouver Pride Board travel to the places where Pride is a protest and they learn in their travels that in North America we seem to have lost the idea that Pride is part of the global battle for basic human rights.
Pride is not just an excuse to party, rather it is a stepping stone on the road to equality and it can be used to bring attention to the human rights struggle. Some of the celebrations we see include InterPride, 2007 in Zurich, the international conference of all of the Pride organizations, Sao Paulo Pride Parade with four million people, Moscow Pride and the secret meetings that help produce it along with the harassment by the police, Pride in Colombo, Sri Lanka min which the festivities are only advertised after they are over and Vancouver with a parade that half a million people see. So we see what the real meaning of Pride is and how much we have to learn in order to have it become meaningful.