An odd concept really. A sin in Christianity and other religions, yet widely celebrated in all walks of society. As a British gay man, I have had Pride shoved in my face since I was a teenager. Every summer, cities all over the UK celebrate ‘Gay Pride’ with street parades and other festival type celebrations. I’m often asked by straight friends ‘But why do gay people have gay pride? We don’t have straight pride.’ I answer that it’s because we have had a hard time and are coming out with our heads high, or something to that effect. In reality, I know Gay Pride is largely to do with equal rights, which I would never argue with. However, I find the whole ‘I’m proud to be gay’ and, as I heard repeatedly at the recent Brit awards, ‘I’m proud to be British’ a little… hypocritical. Why are we so proud of something we have had no part in?
None of us have any control over our true sexuality, just as we have no input into our nationality. It really bothers me that some people born in Britain make out that they are proud to be British because of the wars and other historical factors that they weren’t even alive for. Of course, we may well be glad to be British. I know I definitely am. In terms of equality, the health service, our freedom as individuals, our opportunities, you would be mad to not be glad you happened to be born in the UK to British parents. When you consider that where you are born on the planet and what nationality your parents are completely dictates your rights, it’s a little sad. Imagine if you were born in Egypt as a gay man. You could be hanged if caught acting on your sexuality. Are those gay men any different to me and other British gay men? No. They were simply born to Egyptian parents in a country 2000 miles away. They did nothing to be in their position, just as I did nothing to be in mine. Yet we are all so proud. I think relieved is more like it.