What is Pride Month in 2024?

Two shirtless men lie on a bed together, heads close as they smile intimately.
Pride Month means a lot of different things to different people – and for some in the LGBTQIA+ community it can be about celebrating love and sex. Also, no this isn’t a picture of Matt and his boyfriend. Sorry.

“I’m sorry I got sick during Pride Month,” my boyfriend says, wrapping an arm around my shoulders as we snuggle naked in my bed.

“Ninety-six?” I murmur, my eyes still closed as I rest my head on his shoulder.

For those of you who don’t know – which I’m assuming is all of you – my partner has a tendency to say ‘sorry’ for everything that he thinks is inconveniencing my life that he is in no way responsible for. It’s a childhood trauma thing. So I’ve been charging him $1 for each unnecessary sorry for nearly 2 years now. Mostly it’s to break the mental association with feeling bad about a situation and immediately taking responsibility for it. But if he ever does reach $100 I’m going to use the money to buy something nice for him. Like a massage. The good news is that he’s getting better at not apologising for everything.

“What? No! We should be boning all month,” he says. “Nothings gayer than lots of gay sex.”

And okay, that’s true. But is that what pride month means in 2024? Just being able to have all the sex we want?

Pride Month 7 Years After Marriage Equality

My friend Jack and I took a walk recently. He’s a social butterfly who has a bad habit of booking 3 social catch ups every day, and his marriage to his husband Jimmy was one of the first I attended after we got through the plebeshite the then Coalition government put up. I deliberately slept through the results announcements so I wouldn’t have to wake up and anxiously wait to see if Australia had decided I was human enough to get human rights.

Anyway, Jack’s wedding was very traditional. There was a garden ceremony, walking up the aisle one at a time, and a reception with dinner, dancing, and family speeches including from a very drunk aunt who told us all how she despised the institution of marriage but totally supported *this* one because not doing so would get her kicked out of the family. And repeated those points for about 20 minutes. And now, nearly a decade later, Jack told me something I’d always wondered.

“I think I got married because of my family’s expectations rather than because it was something I wanted to do.”

Still, I had to double check. “So…do you wish you didn’t get married to Jimmy?” I asked, looking behind us to where Jimmy was deep in conversation with another of our friends.

“No, I just… I feel like when we got married I just took on all this baggage and expectations of what being married is. You know. Straight stuff.”

“You mean like which one of you is the girl?” We both laughed at that. The laugh when something’s not funny, but true enough that you have to laugh – or spend too much of your life crying.

“Sure, but also the idea that we’d just be us. What if I don’t want the hetero relationship model?  What if I don’t want to be monogamous?

“Don’t look at me,” I said. “I’m not.”


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Charting Our Own Course

To be fair, I’m not doing polyamory. At least, not now. My partner and I agree that we’re not currently up for the sheer amount of communication and emotional labour required to make a poly relationship work for everyone involved. We have a range of friends who manage polycules with grace, tact, and understanding and we know how much work they put in. And right now we’re being selfish. That said, we’re not physically monogamous. And we both like it that way. For us, it feels daunting to ask one individual to be everything at all times and meet all of our social, emotional and sexual needs. So we take pains to forge friendships and support networks outside our relationship, and ensure that one person’s sexual needs aren’t the responsibility or burden of the other person.

And from our conversation, Jack and Jimmy were looking at going down the same road. And I hope it works for them. I don’t if I’m going to see them at the MCR rope bondage classes, Adam nude nights, or at a Trough Party, but it’s becoming clear from podcasts like Sex.Life that what was once, kinky, gay, niche or all three are now things a lot of heterosexual people are exploring. Once of the best things about being gay was breaking out of gender norms at a younger age, and it’s great to see more straight people finding their own, meaningful path.

Read more: What does it mean to be asexual by Caroline Cull.

Why Is Pride Month?

I don’t really know what to make of Pride Month. It’s American for a start, so it feels a bit odd happening several months after Midsumma, Mardi Gras and Australia’s main queer celebrations (although I’m sure the Southern Hibearnation crew disagree). For those who don’t know, Pride month started as a protest against police brutality in the 1960s America, so back in the pre-history days for western queers when just existing while homosexual was a crime. And somewhere between then and now, the fight changed from ‘letting us exist as us’ to ‘showing that we’re just like them’.

And to be fair, some people are. Some queer folk just want to live completely inside the heterosexual life paradigm, get jobs, have/adopt kids, buy a house and live in hopefully blissful monogamy. Others prefer to define our own relationships on terms that work for us. Some people still don’t have the option.

Is Pinkwashing Bad?

There’s a joke that companies only care about queers in June, and there’s a cultural pushback from mostly younger queers demanding authentic support from big businesses. And sure, that would be amazing, but there’s also an older group of LGBTQIA+ elders looking on in some dismay as something they fought hard for – mainstream acceptance – is being eroded away.

Take straight people using the non-gendered term ‘partner’ for their significant other. Many young queers want that term is reserved for people in same sex relationships because straight people have other words and they want to have one that’s just ours. And they don’t understand that we – the community – asked our straight allies use it back in the day when we were expected to only say husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Back when we were more easily fired for being queer. And back when saying partner meant people knew we were queer and then made life hard for us. Back when companies weren’t our friend and didn’t see us as a valuable market with disposable income to burn.

So yes, companies could be doing a lot more than changing their logo on social media to include a rainbow. And there are some genuinely supportive brands around – and if you choose to shop there, they may even survive. But the fact that we don’t know if we’re safe to push harder for more, or have to look at pinkwashing as a necessary evil speaks volumes about why pride matters – whether it’s just one month or not.

Pride Month isn’t everything. And it also is.

My feelings around pride month are big, mixed up, and probably inconsistent. Much like the month itself. Pride month means parties and celebrating that the same young queers wanting to keep the word ‘partner’ as their special relationship moniker may be the first generation to grow up without same sex marriage being illegal in their countries. It means remembering that the trans community is under increased oppression in the west – especially in the UK. It means being visible, and reminding companies that yes, we do have purchasing power and allies, and as long as we continue to reach out and build bridges, more people will join us than not. Even if it’s just for the vibes.

Watch: Abigail Thorn explains what navigating the UK’s health system is like for trans people. Article continues below.

Maybe, just maybe, some of that should be things we do outside of pride month. Maybe it’s like a relationship – we put so much on pride month because there’s only one of it. Only one time to get all our needs met and trying cram all that into the one thing is an impossible task. So maybe ask yourself what pride plans you’re going to have for July. Or August. Or next January and February.

As for me? My recent STI test came back negative, so I’m off to organise a threesome with my boyfriend and one of our regular friends with benefits. What? Pride month is nearly over and I’m celebrating my way.