Stop the presses: in a turn of events that is unprecedented in all of human history, young people and old people are having difficulty getting along.
A conflict has emerged in Los Angeles over what Pride is and who it’s for. The people running the show have adjusted their focus to millennials, and added the word “music” to the name of the festival. And as a result, everyone has lost their shit.
There’s also some consternation about the ticket price — $35 to get in! But at a recent public meeting, most angry speakers were outraged that Christopher Street West, which organizes the event, is attempting to remain relevant.
Among the changes this year is more of a focus on music. “Adding the word ‘music’ to the title of L.A. Pride is a subtle welcome to a younger generation who does not inherently understand the historical context of the event,” said Chris Classen, president of CSW — a smart guy who, despite the criticism, has a track record of organizing some hugely successful events.
Detractors complained that the event is being transformed into a gay Coachella.
What we’re witnessing here is the gradual evolution of Pride, and the phasing-out of what used to be called “Gay, Inc.”
There was a time when Pride functioned as a sort of social support event. In general, society hated LGBTs, even in enclaves like West Hollywood; so Prides existed for us to come together and have a good time and feel safe.
Nowadays, most of us feel a lot more safe — especially younger folks. A lot of millennials don’t even bother identifying with a particular sexual orientation; they’re just attracted to whoever they want, without the need for any particular support.
So it makes sense that as they take over, and as previous generations die, that the previous incarnations of Pride no longer make much sense. It used to be a social support event that had a little bit of music; now it’s a music event that can provide a little social support.
Of course, it would be a shame if Pride forgot all about the sacrifices and hard work of past generations; and an even bigger shame if it overlooked the hard work still to be done, particularly for trans equality. But we can probably expect activism and outrage to play a smaller and smaller role in Prides from now on.
Given the choice between living through a life-and-death struggle, or just reflecting on past struggles in a museum, most people would probably choose the museum.