What is the purpose of gay pride parades? If the purpose is clear, is it productive or counterproductive?

  • I am pretty unsure about gay pride parades. What is the essential goal? With suffragettes they had definite requests on voting rights.

    Personally I have no problem with homosexuals, I am pretty indifferent towards them. I just don't really get the concept of the gay pride parades. Is it supposed to make intolerant people more tolerant?

    Also my opinion is: tolerant people will enjoy them, intolerant people get more furious. In this sense it seems counterproductive. On Wikipedia, I can read about historical background, opposition, etc... but the purpose or goals remain unknown.

    So my questions are:
    What are the purposes of the gay pride parades?
    And if it is defined, what are they trying to produce?

  • user4012

    user4012 Correct answer

    7 years ago

    There are several purposes.

    • One is the feeling of unity and strength. It's well known that being "different" (including homosexual in a society that frowns on it) sometimes makes a person feel very depressed because they assume they are "the only one like it". As such, a mass public gathering to show that there's plenty of people sharing your "differentness" serves a purpose of showing to all those who are alike that they aren't alone.

      This doesn't JUST work for homosexuals. it works for ANY political movement (that's what demonstrations serve, in part), or even niche interest conventions.

    • Another goal is as a subtle (or not) "eff you" to society that is viewed as homophobic.

      I fully agree that it's counterproductive at best if your goal is to make homosexuality more accepted, but people aren't always rational. That's why San Fran gay parades turn into a "let's dress as provocatively and sexually as possible" carnivals.

    • Another one is a show of strength to the society. "You may think you can mess with that one gay kid in your large group because he's alone. But he's NOT alone. There's tons of us".

    • Similar one is show of POLITICAL strength. "We are a large and ACTIVE and ENGAGED demographics, so take us seriously as a voting block".

    • Another one is publicity/branding. As they say in Hollywood, "there's no bad or good publicity. There's only publicity or lack of it".

    I am willing to accept that point if the main purpose is publicity. If it is a higher priority goal than increasing the tolerance levels, then it makes some sense.

    I think these can all be argued as valid, but I'm not sure any are unique to gay pride parades vs. any other cultural observance parade.

    @DVK Do you have evidence suggesting that gay pride parades are counterproductive?

    @Avi yes. For example san fran sexfest makes me markedly less supportive of lgbt issues. Plenty of people feel the same

    @DA the quote in your answer basically says the same thing in a different way.

    @Chad I appreciate your sentiment. I've been trying to stay out of the crazy here. But when the topic of gay pride parade causes the two biggest posters on the site to reference Nazi groups, I just get pulled back into it.

    @DVK That is not evidence, that is an anecdote.

    @Avi - in this particular case, anecdote IS evidence. I'm precisely their target demographics (not particular pro-LGBT in a sense of granting them special privileges; come from anti-LGBT demographics background - USSR - but don't have any special animus against LGBT. If they can't win me over, they can't win with less positively inclined people.

    @DVK that you have reasoned without evidence that you alone are a representative sample does not actually turn your anecdote into data.

    I'd contest that the main reason to dress up very sexually and freaky is an "eff you" feeling. That might be one aspect, but just like "normal" carnival for many it's likely simply an option to dress "crazy" and get away with it. Same as cosplayers, trekkies etc. dress their style. Since the topic is centred around sexuality, it's pretty likely the dresses will reflect that and be "sexual" as well to a higher degree than similar conventions. But this also means there is an overlap from LGBT acceptance to open sexuality acceptance.

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