Sunday is the local Pride Parade, and events leading up to it have been going on for a week and a half. It’s the 25th anniversary of Pride in this city, and the length and breadth of this event reflects all that it’s accumulated over the years.
This includes its own brew. A local micro-brewery called Half Pints is in its second year of seasonally producing a limited-edition Queer Beer for sale in select liquor stores and on tap at bars and clubs involved in Pride celebrations. It’s fruitier than most beers, although the sweet taste has been toned down this year. I didn’t get a chance to try it last year, as it was sold out everywhere by the time I even heard it existed (I try not to keep up with what happens in my community, for some reason). This year, though, I got it as soon as it came in to the closest liquor store selling it. And it is damn good.
But I’m not “queer”. I go to the Pride Parade annually (or rather, it comes to me as I live in the middle of the route), and it’s like Christmas to me. Everybody’s happy, everybody’s being themselves with the people they love, and everybody’s supporting each other. I’ve never felt unwelcome despite being cisgendered and “straight”, because anybody who supports the human right to love oneself and one’s partner of choosing is welcome to celebrate with those who have fought for that very right for themselves.
So I had no issue buying this beer, thinking I would be judged or liking it would mean I’m gay. First of all, a brew by any other name would taste as good, so if it were called “tough titty-loving straight dude” beer, it would have the same effect. Second of all, I’m not the only non-queer person drinking it. My sister has bought more of it than I have, and she’s even had her boyfriend try it. But last time she picked up some of the last remaining six packs, the cashier at the liquor store said he doesn’t care if it’s called Queer Beer because it’s good, even if his friends make fun of him.
Part of the reason that I go to the Pride Parade is because nobody should feel excluded based on their gender and sexual identities. This event is often criticized citing that “there’s no STRAIGHT pride parade” but THERE IS, and it’s this one (as well as every other day of the year, but anyone making this argument lacks the level of self-awareness to notice the inequalities in public identification between straight and queer people). So if you like colours, and celebrations, and happy people, and dogs because there are always tons of them – consider going to your local pride parade. The clouds will part and the sun will shine, and, even if not in the sky, there will be many, many rainbows.