This summer my friends and I went to the Stockholm Pride festival. This annual love festival for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people has taken place every summer since 1998 and has become more and more popular through the years. I've been thinking a lot about what Pride and homosexuality means to me and I'd like to share my thoughts with you.
I came out as a homosexual four years ago, 16 years old. After that I've changed a lot and become a completely different person. I feel more comfortable about myself and I enjoy my life more. My family didn't take it that well at first but now they don't have problems with me being a homosexual.
My dad once told me, concerning my sexuality: "You might get beaten up!" I just replied: "Dad, people get beaten up for a lot of things, it doesn't matter what you do. People get annoyed about everything. I'd rather get beaten up for being myself than pretending to be someone I'm not. The only way to make people get rid of their prejudice is to not hide. If we are going to change this society we have to dare to be ourselves."
I've always liked straight forward and honest people. There's nothing worse than people who talk behind people's backs. That's why I always think it's great when heterosexual people come up to me and ask questions. I've even experienced straight guys telling me that they are homophobic but are willing to change their opinion.
It's quite usual that straight guys have something against gay guys. I'm not really sure about why it is that way, but I guess it's because they're not secure about their own sexuality or that they in general are afraid of things they don't know much about. Many of them don't dare to approach these persons because they are afraid that the homosexual guys are going to make a move on them. They take it for granted that just because you're gay you hit on any male person. Isn't that silly? Even gay men have platonic relations to other guys, believe me!
Many people claim that homosexuality is abnormal and that it's against the laws of nature.
They often say that man was born with the instinct of reproduction. But it doesn't have to mean that just because you're straight you want to have children, does it? And besides, homosexuality exists among animals as well so why turn love into something biological? Actually I think that is pretty scary.
I believe that we are all born bisexual and that we then are affected by society to "choose" what suits us the most. When we are born we don't know anything, we are completely in reset status and indifferent. Almost everything that we know, we learn as children. In that way homosexuality may depend on upbringing or that kind of factors, or maybe it's genetic. Whatsoever, I don't think that there's nothing wrong with that. If your son wants to play with Barbie dolls and try on mother's clothes, let him do that. You don't want to force any roles on your child, do you?
Many people refer to religion to make homosexuality something sinful and abnormal.
I believe that if there is a God who is good, he accepts all human beings the way they are. My grandmother is religious and she often tells me that they sometimes discuss homosexuality in the church. She tells me quite clearly that she doesn't have any problems with that. It's good because it also tells me that there are many Christians who accept homosexuals.
I don't understand how people have the energy to get involved with other people's private lives. Why harass and hurt people just because they are different from you? Even if you would have problems with homosexual persons I think you might as well keep it for yourself or at least be open-minded for other opinions.
At first I found it a little bit silly to have a festival for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, because I thought that it would make the distance between members of the LGBT-society and heterosexuals even bigger. I tried to think about it differently and thought that it probably would be a little bit strange to have a similar love festival for heterosexual persons.
However, I changed my mind after a while. Just like other minority groups, LGBT-persons have often been harassed and persecuted because of their sexual orientation for many years. So why not let these people celebrate that they finally dare to be themselves? The fact that development has got so far that the hatred against LGBT-persons has decreased is a sign of us becoming more educated and that people listen more to their hearts and conscience.
So, what does Pride mean to me? Pride is for me a big celebration of love where for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people get together with heterosexuals and have fun. It's a festival that makes us who belong to this minority group to show that we dare to be ourselves and that we won't be oppressed. I hope that in the future we'll be more open for things that stand out and are a little different.
The most important thing is that we all respect each other.
© Dennis Svedberg Hellström