Queer I Stand
A Matter of Pride
Religion's visibility is minor at these events, and what there is tends to be mainstream and rather bland Christianity. Pagan LGBTQ groups do exist and march in Pride parades or have booths at festivals, but it's still a very small, very niche minority—despite the fact that many of our Pagan religious ideas and celebrations would have no problem with Pride-like spectacles and behaviors taking place at all times throughout the year!
As much as the wonderful-ness of community and of acceptance of all individuals is proclaimed in speeches, signs, buttons, and bumper stickers on or around Pride events, in my own experience it's been like walking through a gay bar much of the time. People look past me or through me, and even if I smile and say hello warmly to people as they walk by, I'm ignored. A few skeezy individuals who want to have sex with me aside (unfortunately, it's never people I'm attracted to likewise), I don't get talked to at all. So much for community and acceptance...
Honestly, about the only thing that is appealing about Pride festivals these days, at least for me, is the copious amounts of eye-candy of all genders (mostly two of them, but occasional splashes of the others, too!) on display in a rather fabulous fashion. There's nothing wrong with enjoying such sights, I think, but it would be nice if interacting with the people in question turned up more of a reaction than being treated as a houseplant.
Is Pagan Pride any different? I am not sure, as I've never been able to attend those events in my home state (they are rather far for someone who relies on public transport to attend, especially when it doesn't run on the weekends locally). But, as Paganism is something that we've all chosen rather than something we're born with (for the most part), I think it is more likely that it can be considered something in which to take pride. As Paganism in the U.S. has taken certain cues from the LGBTQ phenomenon—like International Pagan Coming Out Day—I hope that Pagan Pride events don't go down the same route that LGBTQ Pride events have done. Paganism, I suspect, will never be as commercialized, or as mainstreamed, as LGBTQ matters have been, and the Pagan Pride festivals will likely not reflect that, or at least I'd hope so.
But, the fabulousness of the eye candy is probably on equal par at this stage!
P. Sufenas Virius Lupus is a metagender and a founding member of the Ekklesía Antínoou (a queer, Graeco-Roman-Egyptian syncretist reconstructionist polytheist religious group dedicated to Antinous, the deified lover of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and other related gods and divine figures). E is a contributing member of Neos Alexandria and a Celtic Reconstructionist pagan in the filidecht and gentlidecht traditions. Follow Lupus' work on the Aedicula Antinoi blog.