There has been an unsettling argument made in these forums that Pride Month is somehow based on an unjustifiable premise. In other words, since straight people shouldn't take pride in their heterosexuality, neither should gay people take pride in their homosexuality. More nuanced versions of this argument might claim that the fact that these orientations were assigned at birth--and are thus unchosen--render them not worth celebrating.
This argument, while popular in some quarters, is ill-informed. It comes from a place of ignorance or strawmanning that is rooted in attitudes of privilege, a lack of critical analysis, and/or, more charitably, misunderstanding. The strawman on which the entire argument rests is that Pride is a celebration of homosexuality. In fact, Pride is not a celebration of homosexuality, but of something related, yet far more consequential.
LGBTQ+ people have faced historic discrimination across the globe. We were persecuted by Nazis, lynched in the American South, and stoned to death in the Middle East. In many places, being gay still carries the death sentence. Even where being LGBTQ+ is not an executable offense, gay people may face official and unofficial persecution. Gay people leaving bars at night may be victims of gay bashing assaults or murders. Across the US, it is legal to fire an employee simply for being gay. In dozens of countries, we are denied access to civil unions and marriage. We may face life imprisonment for such arcane crimes as "carnal knowledge against the order of nature." We may be denied the ability to adopt or we may feel the torture of being rejected by the family we love for being something we did not choose to be.
In the face of such everyday oppression, gay people have formed a sense of community, united in our struggle for basic human rights and respect. From the Stonewall Riots to Obergefell, gay people in the US and around the world have fought together for the attainment of the fundamental dignities that we are owed. And through this joint endeavor, we have gained solidarity.
Pride is a Celebration of our solidarity as a community. It is a celebration of all the battles (win or lose), of all the martyrs and heroes who fought for our equality, of all the successes and defeats that paved the way for equality, and for the sense of shared identity that we have forged through centuries of fighting to be recognized as equal persons in the sight of law and public morality.
Pride is also a message of solidarity sent out to all those still fighting oppression. This message is twofold. First, Pride is an act of performativity which enacts a narrative of value for all those people who ask themselves, like I once did, "am I a monster because I am gay? Am I a freak? Am I worthless?" Suicide is a leading cause of death within the LGBTQ+ community, and for all those struggling with depression as they confront their orientations and identities, Pride is a message of hope. It tells them that life can--and does--get better. Pride is not a celebration of homosexuality, but it is a reaffirmation of our human worth notwithstanding our homosexuality. It is a reminder to those depressed kids just starting to navigate their feelings that they are not less human because they are gay.
Second, Pride is clarion call to all those around the world who cannot imagine their own countries coming to accept them as equal and valuable persons. To them, it communicates that the gay community is strong, vibrant, and unified in our commitment to keep on fighting, to keep on the rainbow train to victory. We will not be silent. We will not go away. We will not shut up. We will not stop resisting. We will press on with our message of love, acceptance, and togetherness. We will put on a spectacle to be a counterpoint the hate and prejudice so many of us face.
Pride then is both a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and a rallying cry for that community to keep on fighting. The ignorance of those who critique it as a celebration of homosexuality itself is revealed by the very utterance by which those critics present their argument. Pride is not about homosexuality itself. It is about having Pride in how far we have come, in what we have achieved, in the community we have, and in the humanity we all share, irrespective of our orientations and identities.