Scroll To Top

I Have Pride Exhaustion


It's OK to live a bit of life out from underneath the rainbow, writes Amanda Kerri.

This year, our local Pride was quite different than in the past. They moved the parade to Saturday, and instead of holding a street festival on Sunday, they decided to rent a whole water park/concert venue for the day. They had games, vendors, food, and all other sorts of exciting new things this year that they've never had before. I didn't go. Didn't go last year either. Unless something changes, I probably won't go next year. It's not because I'm trying to make some sort of political statement, I'm not protesting something with my absence, which would totally be felt and cause folks all sorts of consternation. I just didn't want to go. That's it. I'm kind of burned out on Pride these days, and I don't think I'm alone in this.

I know this may cause some folks who regularly hate-read my articles some anger because I sure do have some opinions on how Pride should be run, just like everyone else does, but I assure you it doesn't come from a place of hypocrisy. I still love Pride; I'm just bored with going. For three years I was a part of Pride. I sat on the local board, helped with fundraisers, went to every meeting, helped decide on what entertainers to have, vendors to book. Then when Pride rolled around, I spent sometimes 20 hours at Pride doing all sorts of things to help keep it running. When I quit the board, I was burned out and didn't want to have a thing to do with it for a bit. At the same time I quit going out to the bars and mostly unplugged from LGBTQ online communities too. For no other reason than I was a bit fatigued with it.

The thing is, a lot of folks feel this way about LGBTQ culture, places, and events. Some are those distasteful folks who are all "Ugh, I'm not like those gay folks." We all have met a few. Some are butch bros and don't want to be around anyone other than their type. Look, anyone who lives near a military base knows the gay bars are full of some of the butchest, manliest men who love men. Meanwhile, others think LGBTQ culture is trashy. Oh, you think antiquing and getting excited about Pottery Barn isn't LGBTQ culture? C'mon.

Then there are those, like me, who just need a break from it all. I love that our local group did something different with the water park party. The same old street festival-parade-bars thing was a bit old and repetitive. That's why a lot of folks don't go out anymore. They've gotten bored with it all. When you're young, the bars and parties are a blast. Oh, man, are they a blast. Drinking and dancing, shooting pool if that's your thing, and just hanging out. But after a bit ... meh. The music gets a little loud, the bars a little crowded or just plain tiresome. Some just stop going or end up going to the quieter, less crowded bars. Some decide that they don't need to go to the bars at all. With Pride, the parades are fun and all, but they can end up being the same thing over and over. The street vendors are always the same, and honestly, how much rainbow-themed swag do you really need to own? Also, let's face it, June is hot, and standing on the street in the middle of the day for hours can just plain suck.

The community can get fatiguing. I mean, I keep writing and commenting on it all, but after a while, the drama gets repetitive. So you check out for a bit. You develop a core group of LGBTQ friends you spend time with and do things that aren't centered on your non-straight, non-cis existence. Instead of talking all about queer things, you discuss work or issues not pertaining to your sexual or gender identity.

I think this mostly comes with age and time. For a lot of folks, when they come out or first get a chance to really spend time in an LGBTQ community, they go all out and let it make up a huge part of their existence. There's nothing wrong with all this. Hell, honestly, I would expect it and find it odd for young LGBTQ folks or those freshly out to not spend almost every waking hour making their lives about being LGBTQ and occupying those spaces. Yet things change as you age. Do you really think someone like RuPaul spends every waking hour consumed with drag and queer liberation? God, that would be unhealthy. After a day at the studio he probably heads home, puts on a ratty T-shirt and sweatpants, and watches The Good Place in the recliner from time to time. Probably has some goofy little hobby like making model boats or flying drones or something.

He and so many other LGBTQ celebrities who are so much a part of our culture don't live a 24/7 LGBTQ existence. Neither do we. It's good and healthy for us to kind of live a bit of life out from underneath that rainbow. It's fine to take a break from it all, to just live a bit of a normal old life away from the community for a bit. Finding things that help define who you are outside of that life is important to being a well-rounded person. I'll eventually go back to Pride at some point. I still like going to the bars, and I definitely stay plugged into LGBTQ culture. OK, the parts that don't drive me up the wall. I'm just taking some time to enjoy the other parts of my life.

Amanda Kerri is an Oklahoma-based writer and comedian, a regular contributor to The Advocate, and a former board member for Oklahoma City Pride. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Kerri.

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Amanda Kerri