Faces of Pride: Lara Özlen || Istanbul Pride

“It is important for us to shout out loud and being more visible since there are no legal regulations in relation to hate crimes or marriage equality in Turkey.”

Faces of Pride: Alexa Hoffmann || Barbados Pride

“In a society such as Barbados, where religious ideologies and pop culture influence prejudice against LGBT persons, Pride stands as a statement by those who participate that they will not bow to the shame anticipated by those who are against the idea of us being treated as equals in society.”

Faces of Pride: Slavco Dimitrov | Skopje Pride Weekend

“Heteronormativity has always been also co-constituted with a class system of capitalist exploitation, racial divisions and exclusions on the grounds of ethnicity, hence fighting sexual and gender inequality must attend to all these other inequalities and systems as well.”

Faces Of Pride: Anil Persaud || Guyana Pride

“The LGBT community truly marched with pride in their veins as it was not only a parade but it was a movement and a clear statement – we exist and we deserve rights, like any other human being.”

Faces of Pride: Hadi Damien || Beirut Pride

“Be kind, yet firm, and trust that we are moving forward, no matter what. It is called evolution. We will get there, for we are genuine and authentic.”

Faces of Pride

For the summer months most of our social media feeds are full of posts about Pride. It’s Pride Month, and for a lot of people, that’s great!

I’ve seen so many happy people celebrating, some posting about their personal and collective achievements due to their respective Pride parades, parades that took place for the very first time this year and of course also those that got cancelled and where people got arrested for organizing or participating in Pride parades. Most news were positive. These posts all came from friends and people I’ve connected with through mutual activism; they live all over the world and do amazing work.

On the other hand, almost all of my friends and contacts from Germany and the US only post critically about Pride: the rainbow flag not being inclusive, the selling-out of Pride, the racism, the anti-semitism, the pinkwashing and so much more. I love all of these people and value their opinions equally. So sometimes I find it hard to position myself between these two poles, both of which I understand and agree with.

Last year, I went to the Pride parades in Sofia and Montenegro and saw firsthand what the Pride meant to people. I saw how important and what a huge step it was to have police support, to be allowed to march and to have your safety protected. I also know what it means for people to have businesses publicly support you in places where most families would not accept you if you came out. I feel incredibly lucky that I had a chance to learn about this and to meet so many lovely people when I was invited to show TQU’s #TheGalleryProject in both of these places.

Until then, I never cared much about Pride parades and was definitely on the criticizing end. My experiences with Pride parades in Germany made me uncomfortable. They were dominated by white gay men, a party without much political course and the companies and politicians on the floats celebrating Pride weren’t doing anything for the rights of the LGBTQI community the rest of the year. It was never a place where I saw my struggles represented or felt safe or even welcome.

So I wanted to explore these different pictures that I had of Pride and I wanted to do this in a way that anyone else interested could profit from it too. And I wanted to conduct it  in a way that would highlight the people behind the Prides, the people that put hours of work, if not their whole lives into making these events happen, but are hardly ever seen or recognized by the participants.

You can find #FacesOfPride on Instagram and Twitter and you can read the full interviews on TQU’S website. Faces of Pride is made up of a lot of extraordinary people making the most amazing things happen. I cried many times reading their wise and kind words, and feel humbled that they answered my questions.

I’m very glad to present to you this little zine full of hope, full of love and strength, full of power and the will to make a difference.

As for myself, I will keep criticizing mainstream prides for their hypocrisy, racism, anti-semitism, pinkwashing, capitalist exclusion, etc. wherever necessary while at the same time supporting all of those for whom Pride is an amazing tool to strengthen their rights and visibility, and a moment of relief in hard times. I encourage you to do the same, so that we can all be proud together.

Love and strength and solidarity to all of you,

Verena, founder of TQU

Happy (critical) Pride 2018 everyone!

FACES OF PRIDE

– interviews

Faces of Pride: Alexa Hoffmann || Barbados Pride

Faces of Pride: Alexa Hoffmann || Barbados Pride

“In a society such as Barbados, where religious ideologies and pop culture influence prejudice against LGBT persons, Pride stands as a statement by those who participate that they will not bow to the shame anticipated by those who are against the idea of us being treated as equals in society.”
Faces Of Pride: Evie Wu || Shanghai Pride

Faces Of Pride: Evie Wu || Shanghai Pride

“This year is the 10th year of pride in Shanghai and we initiate CnPRIDE at this moment with grassroots organizations around Mainland China, that have developed for years and that have the capability to organize a festival or an event for their local community. From May to July, the whole community around the mainland can celebrate TOGETHER!”
Faces Of Pride: Julia Maciocha || Warsaw Pride

Faces Of Pride: Julia Maciocha || Warsaw Pride

“For me it’s important because it’s gathering many minorities, not only LGBTQ people. We have 13 demands and more and more people are joining the parade because they feel this is their celebration too. It’s only one day in Warsaw when people can wear rainbow, hold hands and be protected by the police. It’s like a big breath we take, that we have to hold for one year.”
Faces Of Pride: Anil Persaud || Guyana Pride

Faces Of Pride: Anil Persaud || Guyana Pride

“The LGBT community truly marched with pride in their veins as it was not only a parade but it was a movement and a clear statement – we exist and we deserve rights, like any other human being.”
Faces Of Pride: Maurice Tomlinson || Montego Bay Pride

Faces Of Pride: Maurice Tomlinson || Montego Bay Pride

“Montego Bay Pride also is an opportunity for the small LGBT community to share survival strategies, feel empowered knowing that we are not alone, and show solidarity for each other as we “gear up” to face another challenging year in a very hostile environment.”