Paris Gay Pride, an iconic event celebrating diversity and the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, had a confusing edition this year! With the decision to restrict traditional floats and prioritize electric vehicles and bike-pulled "floats" for ecological reasons, some wonder if ecology has become a pretext to punish festivities. While France commemorated the 10th anniversary of the vote on same-sex marriage, this edition should have been a memorable celebration. However, reality turned out to be disappointing, raising questions about the essence of the festivities itself. As Benjamin Sire aptly puts it in Franc-Tireur: "It's a failure!"
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The loss of the festive essence
For some years now, the Gay Pride of Paris has become the "March of Pride", gradually abandoning the term "gay" (happy) and, perhaps, the true meaning of the celebration. This development was accompanied by a gloomy atmosphere, with few and unattractive floats, thus reducing the media impact of the event. The striking images, which have always been a key element of this march, seem to have lost their importance, leaving a feeling of indifference.
Politicization and diversion of priorities
Throughout the procession, political parties took the opportunity to promote their programs, turning away from the real fights against homophobia and transphobia. At the head of the procession, few outstanding personalities were present, with the exception of a flag of "La France Insoumise" (Insubordinate France), the party of the French extreme left. Ironically, the leader of this party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, supports Ousame Sonko, Senegalese presidential candidate, who has included the criminalization of homosexuality in his program. This obvious contradiction aroused strong criticism and increased the feeling of confusion.
The lack of clear claims
One of the most worrying aspects of this edition is the absence of clear demands denouncing homophobia, transphobia and fundamentalism. A few days earlier, an attempted bombing of a pride march in Vienna was foiled, highlighting the importance of remembering the ongoing challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community. Unfortunately, this year, the claims got lost, and the opportunity to speak out clearly about these issues was missed.
The Search for the Spirit of Stonewall
Examining the events of this Paris Gay Pride, one is entitled to ask: where has the spirit of Stonewall gone? The historic Stonewall event in 1969, considered the starting point of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, was characterized by fierce resistance against oppression and an indomitable will to demand equality and freedom. However, in this edition of the Gay Pride of Paris, this spirit seemed strangely absent.
Paris Gay Pride, which should have been a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ+ love, acceptance and pride, seems to have lost its soul. The green restrictions, while admirable in their purpose, resulted in a dreary march lacking the festive energy the event is famous for. Political hijacking and the lack of clear demands have diverted attention from the real issues that the LGBTQ+ community continues to face.
It is essential to return to the very essence of Gay Pride, to rediscover the spirit of resistance and celebration that has inspired entire generations. It is necessary to remind the world that the fight against homophobia, transphobia and fundamentalism remains an urgent fight and that the rights and dignity of each individual must be respected.
Gay Pride Paris 2023 was a missed opportunity, but that shouldn't be cause for discouragement. It is a call to action, to a deep reflection on the fundamental values that must guide this march and to a renewed commitment to the fight for equality and justice for all.
It's time to give Paris Gay Pride its true sparkle, its sense of celebration and its ability to bring people together around a common cause. Let's hope that future editions will be able to rediscover the authentic soul of this event and will continue to advance the LGBTQ+ cause with audacity and determination.
Photo : M. MEZGER/ D.R.
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