Without Pride I couldn’t be me
BY NINA ARSENAULT
(this article was originally published by NOW Magazine’s annual Pride issue, June 3oth, 2011)
I do not define “queer” in terms of lgbt identities, but as a lifestyle that does not mesh with the hetero-normative model. Queer pride to me is not the same thing as gay or even trans pride.
Queer pride means that even though I don’t fit in, this difference makes my life vibrant and vital.
Queer pride means I know there will only ever be one of me, and therefore my expression in the world is unique. If I diminish myself, something irreplaceable is lost. I am proud of my difference, and I prefer it to sameness.
Queer pride means I genuinely like people who are out of the ordinary. I admire fierce individualists. I encourage uniqueness in others.
Queer pride means I recognize struggle and how challenging a queer lifestyle is inside a culture that seeks to homogenize.
Queer pride means I can embody the roles of the interloper, the heretic, the provocateur, the revolutionary, the pioneer, the pathfinder, the pilgrim, the zealot, the troublemaker, the disrupter, the explorer and the radical. I can create and live a fabulous, grand life. I can make my identity into a work of art.
Queer pride means I visually aesthetisize my difference.
Queer pride means I am proud to be part of a lineage of artists who create queer art.
Queer pride means my voice as an artist is a battle cry of resistance against (predominantly American) cultural hegemony.
Queer pride means I am interested in the avant-garde.
Queer pride means I can dialogue honestly with those living heteronormative lifestyles.
Queer pride means I love myself and others.
Queer pride means I’ve stopped trying to fit in.
Queer pride means I can be myself.
Nina Arsenault is a writer and trans-disciplinary artist who’s worked in television, film, photography, video art, print journalism and theatre.
above photo by Drasko Bogdanovic