I’ve always enjoyed the Toronto Pride parade for its fanfare, over the top hotness, activism and messages. Every year that I’ve gone has been a blast, filled with stop ins at hotel washrooms and bars (no line ups!), impromptu spin the bottle at Church and Wellesley, and more ogling of the human body than my eyes could handle.
The idea of actually marching in the parade has been something I’ve thought of for years; first as a bisexually identified woman, and then as a queer woman, but to be honest, I didn’t think that I should be allowed to march for one particular – and admittedly somewhat twisted in my head – reason:
I haven’t suffered.
There’s been this weird notion that I’ve held onto that because I haven’t suffered for my sexuality, that I don’t deserve to walk in the parade. Sure, I’ve lost friends for being non-monogamous, have potentially not gotten jobs for being so open about my sexuality and have had horrible things said about me on the internet about my “lifestyle”, but there’s a part of me that believes that this is just par for the course. Even though I consider myself a huge ally for the LGBTQ community, I’ve never felt entitled to walk the same street during the parade march.
Then the other day I received an email from @PolyCultureClub here in Toronto. This is the first year that a polyamorous group is marching in the parade and – as a community leader – they were hoping that I would join. First I was flabbergasted to be called a community leader, but allowed myself to take the compliment.
I immediately wanted to say yes, but still found myself conflicted. I feel like there’s a biase against me as a woman who is married, yet is able to have multiple female and male lovers in addition to my partner at home. I am aware all of this leaves me quite privileged.
And then I stopped for a minute to be honest with myself.
Am I proud of the fact that I am in a healthy, happy and honest non-monogamous relationship, (together for 11 years, open for 6)
Has it been really challenging, many many times, to be open and be strong together as a couple? Does my “privilege” come with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, making it not really like privilege at all?
Do I do everything that I can to support my fellow LGBTQ community? And do I want to march beside them to show my solidarity, support and love?
So shut the hell up, Self, put on some rainbow earrings and go march in the parade today.
And that’s just what I’m doing.