Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pride Divided - Updated

The purpose of the LGBT Pride Festivals are several, but I would believe the main reasons are
  • to manifest our existence and increase our visibility as a social group, 
  • to promote the struggle for full and equal rights,
  • to condemn discrimination and bullying and last but not least
  • to build community and to celebrate our diversity together and with our straight allies.
I have heard that there are about 1,000,000 or less active users in SecondLife. With the varying time zones about 80,000 residents are in-world at the same time.

Let´s - for the sake of this discussion - assume that the residents belonging to the LGBT-group amounts to about 10 % of the total amount of residents, which would mean that there are about 100,000 active LGBT-users of which 8,000 are in-world at the same time.

The question I would like to ask is: "Do we really need more than one Pride Festival in SecondLife?"

Of course I realize that an argument could be made that the more Pride Festivals there are the prouder we are, but to me that argument is totally absurd.

One of the main reasons with celebrating a Pride Festival is to build community and to celebrate our diversity, to get to know each other across the national divisions, the language divisions and the time zone divisions, not to mention getting Lesbians and Gays to attend the same festival.

To me it seems totally absurd and counterproductive to the causes we claim we are promoting if we all have our own festivals with a few weeks in-between, Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, Transgendered, Francophone, German speaking, Spanish speaking, English speaking, Americans, Euros, Australians and New Zealanders,  the Gay Archipelago and Second Pride.
ADDENDUMI have no objections to all these different subgroups celebrating their variety of Pride all year long if they wish, or leading up to one big main event. By all means go ahead and do that, but once a year we should all come together to one event, to show our strength in numbers and conviction, to show support for the greater causes and each others struggles and to rub shoulders, meet, discuss and talk and party
I get very sad and upset when such an important event for the gay community as celebrating Pride suffers because of petty rivalry between people who should know better. 
Either we have the same agenda or we don´t, and if we don´t we should stop pretending we have anything that unites us. Let´s get our act together and show we can unite for the good of us all! 


  1. Same old story as RL and SL, everybody has their own little agendas and "projects" and instead of working together there is vicious competition just like the clubs!

    1. Yes, I should think you are correct, buddy!

      It can most likely be blamed on petty rivalry of some sort, but celebrating Pride is so much more important than clubs. I think it is extremely sad!

  2. I agree with your post and disagree. Here in the United States we have many cultures. On certain days we all celebrate being American (July 4th for example), But then there are some days where a groups culture is celebrated (Like St. Patty's, West Indies Day, Puerto Rican Day Parade...tho this may be more of a NYC thing, and so on).

    Just to break down this argument into a small but huge cluster of RL...NYC has a lot of LGBT people within the 9 million residents of the 5 boroughs. Last Sunday of each June is our Huge Pride parade and festival. Now the Sunday before this all the way leading up to said Parade and Festival day is many smaller functions. Some geared to teachings, awareness, and yes smaller pride functions geared to specific groups in the LGBT: Leather, Bears, Lesbians, Transgenders, etc...

    What I am getting at is that yes we are all of one big group, but you have celebrate what makes you you as well as what helps the whole group of us. I go to a lot of gay sports bars...would that mean I would like to spend an afternoon at some event that is geared to showtunes, drag queens and other stuff of the like? No. It's not my forte. Not saying that stuff is bad or sucks...I am just saying I would not have a good time. Just like the ones that are into that and not sports and other not so gay stereo-typical thing may not have a good time at that.

    The Pride huge festival brings all these things and more together. Sharing the differences in us within the community and beyond, but it people should also take pride in the little microcosms they may belong to.

    I take pride in my bear celebrations in RL as I do the whole huge all group inclusive pride event. However, the agenda of one sect is not gonna be the same of another (Bear, Leather, Lesbian, etc...issues, activities and likes). However, there are bigger pictures and huge overlaps that bring us all together (The Main Pride Festival).

    1. Good points, InsyX. I have written an addendum to the post to discuss your views. ;)

  3. Personally, I think the whole idea of a "gay community" is a myth. My experience is that there is no sense of community. It is all little cliques of people within their particular scene. It is very highschoolesque in my view. Or maybe I just don't fit into any category. And frankly I gave up trying years ago.
    As for Gay Pride. Granted it is a good thing that LGBTs get out there and show "them" (here we go again), that we are human and deserve the same rights "straights" have.
    On the other hand, if I see how people carry on during Gay Pride here in Amsterdam, I don't feel so proud to be gay. It just confirms the stereotypes other may have about LGBT people.
    But then again, I am a cynic.

    1. Unlike you, buddy, I hold the perhaps anachronistic hopes, dreams and idea that there actually is such a thing as a gay community consisting of all LGBT-people all over the world.

      The community is shaped by the common interests and demands we as a group share
      - the right of legal recognition as full and worthy citizens of our respective countries and of the world
      - the right to protection from discrimination and bullying, be it from the state itself or an individual or group, in the work place and in every other walk of life and
      - the right to protection of our civil unions (same-sex marriage, adoption etc.)

      We in the Western hemisphere have a better situation than our sisters and brothers in other parts of the world, but everywhere in the world LGBT-people are murdered, wounded, hounded, harassed and bullied, forced into opposite sex marriages etc. etx.

      We sure as hell, in my mind are a community that need to join forces and work together for the protection of us all and for our recognition.

      It is true that some LGBT-people at Pride events overindulge in their use of alcohol and other drugs and when doing so sometimes behave shamefully. This, however, does not alter my opinion of the gay community as a whole.

  4. Hello! Was browsing thru some blogs and came across yours, Bock, and I feel compelled to comment in this discussion on behalf of the Gay Archipelago.
    Here in the United States, Pride Festivals are hosted in cities from coast-to-coast throughout the summer months with no particular 'main pride' celebration taking precedence or greater importance over another. Sure, there are larger events in larger cities, but for the most part each city (and geographic area) celebrates being a part of the worldwide LGBT community as a whole.
    In fact, living here in Chicago (US) I have gay/lesbian friends who annually schedule vacation days from their employment so they can rent a bus and travel to these different Pride Festivals based on time and calendar scheuduling.
    I belive it is important in SL for ALL LGBT sims and organizations to celebrate as they wish - when they wish.
    Butch as a good point about 'gay community' in many aspects. In SL, as in RL, it can be difficult to foster, encourage and grow LGBT communities - however, giving up trying is not acceptable to me and to many others who have fought for civil rights throughout their lives. So those of us who belive continue to hold the dream and work toward 'community' - given that word's broad definition, of course.
    Speaking to any sort of 'petty rivalry' which you mentioned (and I am assuming here you have implicated the GA, forgive me if you have not) I am not aware of any such issue and would appreciate your contacting me directly to enlighten me if such a thing exists out there. Point in fact: the only contact that I have had as Lead Administrator of the GA with Second Pride organization was a request at one point to use GA resources to advertise their events. Believing in sharing and community promotion, I had no issues with this and requested reciprocation to advertise similar events and happenings from the GA - and received a flat-out 'no.' Oh, well, right? What would you be if you didn't try?
    The Gay Archipelago has purposely scheduled it's annual 'SummerFest' this year so as not to overlap or interfere with Second Pride celebrations. While it is indeed a celebration of LGBT Pride, it is also a celebration of the 5th Year of its creation by now-deceased (and missed greatly) Fabrice Snook. SummerFest will take place over the period of July 12th thru July 15th.
    The GA is a 'living concept' that continues a strong LGBT presence on the SL grid (two places on the grid, actually) all year round - nonstop interaction and promotion of strong community and community ties in many areas of interest to all LGBT citizens of SL.
    I continue to carry on Fabrice's torch that lit SL as best that I can - and do so with LGBT and str8 friends alike at my side as equals always.
    Be safe and enjoy ALL the Pride Festivals that will be happening both here and in other virtual worlds!

    1. Hi Garth, and thank you so much for stopping by and giving us your take on this.

      First of all I would like to state clearly that I speak only for myself. I hold no elected position in any organisation in SecondLife although I am a lay-member of Second Pride. I am not a member of the Gay Archipelago - mainly because I thought membership in that group was exclusively for those that live there - although I have heard many good things about the work that group does for the gay community in SecondLife.

      As for Fabrice Snook, even if I had seen him and heard his name from the beginning of my existence in SecondLife, I had only gotten acquainted with him during the last months before his far to early demise. Even if I only knew him for a very short period I came to respect him immensely and he was always kind to me.

      In this post I spoke out of my frustration as an individual gay resident of SecondLife when I suddenly realized that there were several Pride Festivals planned for this summer. (I have lead a rather reclusive life the last two years and did not know there was more than one festival.)

      To me it seems extremely strange that such a small community as we are could not agree to join forces on such important matters as the Pride Festival is to me, as it is an occasion where we should give each other mutual support to strengthen our struggle for the same goals.

      I am sorry I hastily came to the wrong conclusion that the reason for two parallel festivals was due to rivalry. I have no knowledge to support such an accusation and therefore withdraw it completely and ask for your and everyone else´s forgiveness for that rash statement.

      No matter how you and InsyX try to convince me I cannot understand the reason why we cannot have a joint celebration in SecondLife. There are no geographical hurdles or distances or borders to overcome in SecondLife. In my mind what is lacking is a will to do so, whatever the reasons for this may be.

      In first life I cannot see that any country, city, region or community the size of ours in SecondLife and as "geographically" close as we holding several major Pride celebrations.

      I wish you well also Garth and all of the residents of Gay Archipelago, but would like to end with a plea that you and your resourceful community perhaps could find a way to join forces with Second Pride - if not this year then perhaps in the future!

      And here´s a hug for you too! (I am Swedish, we hug constantly)


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