Why I Have No 'Gay Pride'

But 'the absence of pride is not shame,' Jesse Bering concludes
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2011 4:00 PM CDT
Why I Have No 'Gay Pride'
A gay rights activist dances under a rainbow flag during the Gay Pride parade in downtown Athens, on Saturday, June 4, 2011.   (AP Photo/Kostas Tsironis)

(Newser) – It's LGBT Pride month, but research psychologist Jesse Bering is certainly not proud of the fact that he's gay. The way he sees it, "pride" can be defined in three main ways, and none matches the way he feels about his sexual orientation. Pride is sometimes defined as, according to the OED, "an excessively high opinion of one's own worth." That's not a good thing. In fact, it's so bad that to Christians, pride is one of the seven deadly sins. "Now, if embracing 'gay pride' were done simply for the slap-in-the-face-to-religion effect, I’d be all for it," he writes in Scientific American. But there are many gay Christians, and even gay atheists don't like that type of pride—so the definition doesn't fit.

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There's also the "good type" of pride, a feeling of satisfaction derived from something that "one believes does one credit." This is probably closer to what people mean when they refer to "gay pride," but there's just one problem: This type of pride relates to accomplishments one can control, which doesn't jibe with the popular belief that gays are "born this way." There is one last definition of pride that perhaps fits the best: self-respect. "This feeling occurs when we have an accurate sense of our value in society and our self-esteem matches that estimation," Bering writes, and he "can almost get on board" with it, except that it implies the existence of "a largely mythical, collective gay identity." That's why he has no gay pride—"but, and here’s the real kicker, so listen up, the absence of pride is not shame." (Read more Gay Pride Week stories.)

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