This weekend, we'll see some of the world's biggest and most famous Pride Weekend celebrations take place. New York, San Francisco, and London are all celebrating Pride this weekend, but less than half of queer-identified women feel welcomed at Pride. A new survey from LGBTQ+ women's dating app HER revealed some heartbreaking sentiments in the queer community surrounding Pride festivities, who they're for, and whether queer women will even bother attending.
The survey, which polled 3,003 LGBTQ women in America, found that, while 69 percent of them overall felt welcomed and/or well-represented at Pride, only 47 percent of queer-identified women felt that way, and only 57 percent of bisexual-identified women agreed.
And while 74 percent of respondents said they lived in cities that were hosting Pride events, only 40 percent planned on attending any of them. (Forty percent reported being unsure about attendance, and 20 percent said they wouldn't be going at all.) Thirty-five percent had never been to a Pride event ever! The reasons for not attending varied from "I had no one to accompany me" (33 percent) to "None of the events were of interest to me" (24 percent) to "The town I live in did not have anything planned” (11 percent).
Interestingly, allyship seems like it could play a big role here in boosting LGBTQ+ women's interest in Pride events. Only 22 percent of those surveyed said that the presence of straight people at Pride bothered them, and 42 percent said they loved straight involvement. Since the number one reason LGBTQ+ women don't attend Pride events is because they have no one to go with, it seems like one way straight folks could be good allies is by offering to accompany a queer friend who may not have any company for an event. (Bonus points if you help facilitate your possibly shy queer friend talking to other queer folks!)
Oftentimes, the "straight behaviors" that turn queer folks off at Pride events are swarming Pride functions in huge groups (thereby taking up the space of queer folks and taking focus off of queer community-gathering), "playing gay" (ie., cruising for a fun queer fling, even though you identify as straight and plan to continue reaping its privileges), or demanding that queer folks explain their identities to you. But, by attending Pride alongside a queer person and focusing on lending support, rather that making it about your experience as a straight person, allies can help combat the number one reason LGBTQ+ women don't attend Pride events.
Because, ultimately, 89 percent of the survey's respondents agreed that Pride is beneficial to the LGBTQ+ community, citing "heightened visibility" and "morale boosting" as reasons why. Immersing yourself in queer community as a queer person can be hugely healing, thanks to the alienation, loneliness, and lack of visibility we face on a daily basis. This survey reveals a great opportunity for allies to do the work of allyship (rather than just "performing" allyship) in an effort to help facilitate more and better queer self-care.