Monday, July 2, 2012

Pride and Self-Pity

Yesterday was Toronto's big-ass annual Pride Parade.  I was there.  I took some pictures.  They're even worse than last year's because I couldn't see anything that wasn't on a float (I am very short and easily lost in crowds) so I mainly just stuck my camera in the air, stood on my toes, and took pictures.

All in all, it was kind of a crappy day.  Yes the sun was shining, weather was perfect, crowds in good spirits, but I was alone. Boo!  Alone on Gay Christmas.  What a fucking rip-off.

And why was I alone?

Well, my girlfriend is very much in the closet.  Yup, there are still people in there.  A lot of them.  Les invisibles.  Toronto Pride happened to coincide with Canada Day, and family tradition dictates there's got to be a party.  So she couldn't say, "Will you excuse me for the afternoon while I celebrate Pride with my girlfriend?"  Could she?  Nope, she could not.
If I sound angsty and frustrated, it's probably because I feel angsty and frustrated.   I also feel like an asshole because instead of supporting the woman I love, I'm ranting about how her inactions cause me pain.  That's assholery at its finest.

I don't understand the closet because I come from a family where I was never afraid anyone would love me any less for being queer.  It never mattered.  It never made any difference.  I have aunts and uncles with way more gay and lesbian friends than I have!  My family isn't "accepting" or "tolerant"--they embrace diversity in all its forms.

I never had to deal with any subtle "god hates queers" insinuations, or criticisms of "the gay agenda."  I never for a moment thought I might lose my family's love if they knew the real me.  I never had to worry that a huge slice of my existence would be cut off, that I would be rejected.  But my girlfriend has those fears.  And even if none of those extreme measures would actually be taken, she's afraid of losing everything.

But she wouldn't lose me.  I would still be there.

And maybe that's why she's committed to staying in the closet: she knows I will adore her even when she chooses family and fear over girlfriend and Pride.  We had a big argument last night because she claimed I was trying to make her feel guilty (I probably was) and why did I even invite her to Pride when I knew she'd say no?  I was just playing games, trying to make her feel bad, trying to make a point, wasn't I? And on and on...

I invited her because it wasn't a decision I could make on her behalf.  She had to make that choice for herself.  And yeah, her choice hurt me and I probably lashed out a little and I definitely wasn't as supportive or understanding of her predicament as I could have been... but I'll do better next time.

Unless I react exactly the same way, which is what usually happens.  The lessons I learn writing blog posts don't always translate into real world changes.

Just one more thing to beat myself up about.

I always get choked up at Pride.  It's one thing to line the streets, but marching in protest or celebration or both... that takes guts.  Despite the primarily fun and frivolous atmosphere, I always cry on parade day.



  1. Hi, Giselle --

    This is a crappy situation. I'm really sorry this is happening to you, and it makes perfect sense to me that it hurts.

    I am in an open relationship and my girlfriend is not out to her family. They are older churchgoing folk who have negative attitudes about homosexuality. She doesn't feel like being out to them is worth the effort.

    I've met them several times, but they have no idea I'm her girlfriend. To be honest, I don't really feel bad about that. I figure it's more about them than it is about me.

    I think I would feel very differently if she required me to hide her from people in my life, if she wouldn't hold my hand in public, or attend events with me as my girlfriend.

    This is a tough situation. I wish you both the best.

  2. Thank you for your support, Lily. It means a lot to me.

    It sucks to feel at odds with any person you love, and I understand that's what she's trying to prevent within her family. She's out with my family, and they LOVE her--my mom, especially. Even so, she's convinced that "your family thinks I'm a freak." (Nope, actually they think you're sweet and smart and generous.) When people believe what they choose instead of what's real it can be very hard to change their minds.


  3. I feel for both of you. Being completely uninformed (except for what I read in this blog post) I think to myself that of course you would invite your girlfriend to parade for the reasons that are important to you, even though you would fully expect her to say no. And of course she would say no for reasons that are important to her, even though she wishes she could make you happy by saying yes.

    I have a habit of making snap judgements about people (true or erroneous, it's kinda my super power) so I will totally pretend like I know you now :) It sounds to me like, even though you both have different priorities in your outside world (ie. family, pride, etc.) you remain each other's number one priority, which is where the guilt comes in on both sides. Of course, I could totally be talking out my ass, here. :) Either way, if you want company for Pride next year, please please please come out with us! We are totally lame but in kind of a fun way. :)

    By the way, this whole thing could be avoided if they just scheduled Pride NOT on Canada Day!!!

  4. I invite everyone to talk out of their asses. It pleases me. Thank you for the invite, D.C.