Iowa City Pride Week has come and gone, and it is with great sorrow that I put my rainbow leotard back in the closet for another year. In IC, Pride Week is an opportunity for the LGBTQ community to come together and celebrate their achievements and culture, as well as reunite with the 12 other people on the queer side of Tinder, all of whom they’ve already dated. For straight people, it is an opportunity to show support for their queer friends and family, and also to get really, really drunk. And that’s OK! Sometimes, you need to cut loose and have a few rainbow Jell-O shots in the middle of the afternoon, and any gay bar worth its salt is happy to take your money.
However, there is a right and wrong way to do Pride. Below, I’ve given some helpful hints for future Prides (CRPrideFest is July 6!):
Do not act surprised/offended if a gay person flirts with you at a Pride event. Pride is not inherently about meeting potential partners, but for some people, it is, and it’s incredibly insulting when someone who says they support the LGBTQ community is offended at the assumption they might be gay. This is especially true if you show up to karaoke at Studio 13 or Belle’s Basix in a flannel shirt and belt out a flawless rendition of “Constant Craving.” What else are people supposed to think?
Refrain from doing anything generally considered offensive or objectionable. This includes using pejorative terms of any kind or perpetuating harmful stereotypes. For the most part, people get this instinctively, but apparently, it’s not universal. This weekend, I saw like five white girls wearing bindis. This isn’t Coachella. Also, don’t make out with your boyfriend/girlfriend at Pride events. It’s not offensive, exactly, so much as it is gross. Mainstream media these days is overrun with heterosexual relationships. Stop shoving it down everyone’s throat, y’know?
Pride isn’t just about partying! Do something to show your appreciation for a member of the LGBTQ community during Pride Week. Help a trans person move. Buy your bi friend a platonic vodka cranberry. Tell a lesbian you like her new haircut. Then, donate to a worthy charity, like PFLAG or The Trevor Project. And next time? Bring some snacks. Everyone likes artichoke dip.
This article was originally published in Little Village issue 266.