Now, before I start what may be for some people a controversial and negative discussion, I want to make something very clear.
In political issues, there are a few things that we can compromise on. Economic policy, a matter of numbers and predictions, is one. Another I would even say is education – there are ‘right’ ways to do this, but no policy will ever achieve a world where perfect children are brought up.
There are some issues in politics we can never compromise on. One of those is love, and from that the happiness it brings.
We need to remind ourselves of what is actually so special about the world around us. We can talk about Olympics costing billions, defence budgets costing trillions, the amount of plastic toys China appears to produce in a year in the quadrillions.
What we are discussing here doesn’t have a value. You can try and give a value on it, and, arguably, with 7 billion people, we are a commodity and a resource. That isn’t though the correct answer to the question. We are the rarest and most precious thing in the entire universe. There is only one start to us, one beginning, what makes a human being human is actually what defines everything around us, nothing would have a value without us like this.
We can not at all compromise on the very instincts that have succeeded in creating us over our multi-billion year journey now. The same ones that develop child-rearing skills to such precision that they create healthy offspring time after time, the same ones that mean I can’t take my eyes off the girl three rows in front on the train with the sunglasses and ponytail.
Yes, we need to compromise, we need to cope with a world growing too small for our resource demand and population surge, but our human values of sheer instinct can not and should not be curbed politically. We need to be so careful that our priceless qualities remain that, and are given space and room to nurture naturally, however that sees fit.
And thus this brings me to Stockholm Pride week. It is sad last year’s idea about it all being free and open to the public failed. I want to stress that it didn’t. I was delighted to go last year and am going this year to the schlager night again, and look forward to the parade on Saturday. If it wasn’t free last year then I may not have wandered around and around and embraced it in my first week here in Stockholm. Hopefully there are others in the town who can and do feel the same and to whom last year was a successful eye-opening experience.
What are the aims of Pride? On a quick search, it seems, completely correctly, to be about awareness raising, combined with small-scale political messages and campaigning. Spot on, it does need to be militant, but it does need to improve lives around and give positive progressive ideas to those with the influence to act.
Although like all things on these kind of subjects, I would say they are still too insular and still too backward in the approach. It is still just an LGBT festival. They do act and try to preach that it is fully inclusive, but even the marketing suggests this is in no way complete yet. Advertising for the schlager after party, as an examples, is tagged as being suitable for gay, lesbian etc. etc. Not me? Surely a key purpose of a Pride is that you want to encourage ‘gay’ activities to be normalised by everybody else, to be included? Self-exclusion is a bad idea and will thus not normalize any culture by itself.
Also, you will be unsurprised to hear that, in my opinion, a merely LGBT culture is not enough for the 21st century. You can talk about ensuring equality for gay rights across the globe, and correctly there should be no laws anywhere to stop this, especially with a punishment of life imprisonment or worse. You can talk about the issues in gay parents trying to find rights to bring up children and so forth. (While I have no issue in gay adoption at all, I must say that I do object slightly to tax payers money being used to fund them trying for their own biological children. I would argue that sadly, it is a natural downside of a gay relationship and not something equality laws need a government to step in to provide. That does create a difference from straight couples who have tried for babies, however the scientific steps involved are merely to aid the possible, rather than create the impossible. I have of course no issue with it in a private context).
Pride, should simply, be about promoting the rights of love. And love for all, with whoever they so wish. It’s not there yet. That is still too progressive. By focusing on the smaller campaigns then what you have is that it does not seem to sense an appeal to every single man and women on the planet. We all need something to engage with to actually make a difference. The rights of all people, even in Sweden, can be improved in relation to love, more look at gender equality (no, and not with numbers and statsistcs, but with opportunity, uptake is something completely else), more look at the state support for families, more consideration for safety and security in our beliefs that we can express the way we feel. And yes, I want to shoehorn something here to about ensuring that groups of people can officially be in love in the state’s view too.
But for Pride to still be looking backward, not forward, will always mean it is a marginalized event, with a minority of society, talking about a minority of issues. We can do better than that. Pride should always be an event to make sure we always remember who special love is, and that we protect that at all times. That simple, that inclusive. Let’s make it that way.
I’m loud and proud! (Assuming there is schlager around, naturally)