The collaboration debate between LawSoc and the LGBTQ+ Soc on the motion ‘This House Believes Pride Parades Are Not For Straights’ brought the house back to the roots of Pride Parades. The debate which was run in collaboration with LGBTQ+ Soc explored the history of Pride, and its recent conversion away from a protest and into a celebration.
Speaking first for the proposition was Elijah Quinn who quickly gave a clearer definition to the debate by saying that they would for the purposes of this debate be considering straights as those who identify as cisgender and hetrosexual. This was to allow for the inclusion of Trans individuals in Pride under the motion. They then went onto speak of the history of Pride as a protest by the LGBTQ+ community in the battle for equal rights and acceptance. However, the expressed dismay at its conversion into a party day. They lamented the fact that ‘Pride was an excuse to be gay for a day’ without understanding the suffering the community has gone through to get to this point. It also perpetuated the myth that homophobia was dead in Ireland, something that could not be said given the fact that Ireland still lacks hate crime laws and statistics. They would concluded by saying that the ‘Queer community does not exist for the benefit of the straight community’ and neither does Pride.
Speaking first for the opposition was Hannah Egan, who attacked the motion straight out of the gates for cutting Trans persons who identify as straight out of Pride. She would go on to say the Trans community already faced enough exclusion without being excluded from their own community. However she did criticise the tendency of ‘Straights to turn it into something for themselves.’ Despite this she welcomed the presence of straight people at Pride as it was a protest, and ‘Because it is it is a protest the more people the better.’ She would further say that straight people can help the LGBTQ+ community achieve its goals of seeking equal rights. Finishing up she said that Pride can have straights participate ‘as long as straight people understand that Pride is neither for or about them.’
Up next for the proposition was Cora Keegan who began by saying that she never dreamed of excluding Trans people from Pride or the LGBTQ+ community. However she was fed up of Pride being twisted into something that it was not meant to be. Contituning on the thread of Pride as a protest Keegan attacked the idea of Pride being a celebration saying ‘Pride is not about believing in yourself, or is it about a community who are not oppressed.’ She went on to say that she was fed up with the fact that Pride which was meant to be an open was essentially being attended by people who weren’t open about the fact they were just there to party. She also said that while it was important to provide a safe space for those who are still questioning their identity, there was a greater need to protect those already out. Finally she finished by attacking the straight who were in effect ‘taking up the space meant for this [LGBTQ+] community.
Shane Sweeney spoke next for the opposition, referring to himself as the ‘straight person of the queer people.’ He came to the defense of straight people who appear to drunk and messy at Pride by saying that the members of the LGBTQ+ could be messy too. He went on to emphasise the importance of having open safe spaces for people who may not have friends in the community, to access the community. Sweeney went on to express his concern that that excluding the straights from Pride could also lead to a situation where people do not believe themselves sufficiently queer to attend Pride, or intimidate people from not attending for fear of not being welcome. Finishing on a joking note, Sweeney painted a picture of a worse case scenario if the straights were not permitted to attend Pride, where they would start their own version of Pride.
Sam Brophy was the final speaker in favour of the motion, and they went straight for attacking what Pride has been changed into, its corporate influences and the fact that it is used to promote brands. Brophy even attacked well meaning groups like the SU who are seemingly unaware of the fact that Pride is a protest. This was clearest due to the fact that the SU this year attempted to change the chants that the UCD group were using into one the promote the SU brand. They also criticised the presence of brands who like to connect themselves with Pride for promotional purpose, but remain tone deaf to the needs of the community and their own workers. Brophy came back to the main point that proposition, ‘Pride began as a protest and until we are equal it should stay that.’
Aoibh Cotter Curran was closing for opposition, and emphasised that they was actually morally proposition, but they was beaten to the place by Keegan. They comes back to a regular issue opposition has in the motion itself. They also expands opposition’s argument by saying that the exclusion of some a few could lead to more including Bi persons, ace and trans people. The sum up by emphasising that as long as the straights know there place in Pride, they should be welcome
By Aaron Bowman – CoEditor