Pride Fatigue and How to Beat It
Personal thoughts on Pride, theme, and a book review of Light by Nathan Burgoine.
If you’ve been part of the LGBTQIA community since before we added the QIA or if you’ve attended as many pride celebrations as I have (Pittsburgh, Austin, Chicago x 2, Toronto x 3), then you might have experienced what I like to call "pride fatigue."
I’ve been a pride fatigue sufferer for three years now. I came down with the condition three years ago at Chicago Pride. The crowds were large, the underaged straight girl to queer adult ratio was too high, it was hot as fuck, and I couldn’t figure out how to get to the bar where alcoholic beverages awaited.
My thought as I soberly sweated out my relaxer surrounded by a bunch of loud little girls?
You couldn’t pay me enough to go to another fucking Pride Parade.
The next year I went to Pride Toronto with a friend, but that’s neither here nor there. Even when you’re fatigued you can rally to take your friend to the best Pride celebration in North America.
My point is, this year, I was ready to let the event go by without any sort of recognition.
But then Light by Nathan Burgoine fell into my lap.
Beyond the paranormal plot, beyond the cool psychokinetic shit that goes down is a simple story that I imagine is familiar to many a queer person.
Kieran, the main character, enjoys celebrating Pride.
Everyday during Pride week, he wakes up and checks out what events might be worth going to. That is his day-to-day life throughout the course of this book. While living his life, he’s also battling hate personified and doing his best to hide certain things about himself from friends and family. There’s a voice in his head telling him to hide.
Halfway through the book, I was hit with the theme of this story. Kieran gets knocked back, he gets hurt by hate incarnate. His friends and family tell him he should be scared, they tell him he should stop going to these Pride events that have suddenly gotten dangerous.
What does Kieran do?
He wakes up the next day and checks out the Pride calendar to see what events he’s going to like he's done everyday before. His attitude is bright and light and there is humor even though hate and fear tried to get the best of him. And that is so emblematic of the queer community.
No matter how much shit gets dumped on you, you live your life and you have fun. That’s why Pride is so colorful and why parades are dances with joyous music instead of angry marches. Pride is a celebration of living your fullest live despite the fear and hate that’s always trying to stop you. In Light, Kieran does just that. He even finds time to fall in love with a sexy French Canadian bear.
There’s even a beautiful “love wins” moment near the end.
And a gay superhero named “Rainbow Man” who uses his power to light up a dance party. Because what the fuck else would a gay superhero do, am I right?
This book embodies the spirit of Pride. And I imagine taking it off my bookshelf every May just to remind myself what it’s all about. If you’re an artist reading this, please go contact Nathan Burgoine and figure out how to make this shit a comic book. It'd be so good. Imagine an entire series of Rainbow Man battling hate with love and light.
I listened to On Writing by Stephen King recently and he says theme isn’t something that you write in the first draft. It’s something you discover in later drafts and punch up. Or it may even be something the readers catch that the author hasn’t. So I don’t know if Nathan Burgoine intended Light and the tale of Kieran fighting off a hate group with his psychokinetic powers to be an allegory for the everyday struggles of an average queer person or if by simply centering the book around an authentic queer character it became this bigger piece about everyday life.
Either way, my god, is it good.
Questions for the audience:
- Do you have a favorite book that get you into the Pride spirit? Give some recommendations!
- Have you read a book with a theme that really resonated with you? Which one and why? \
- Are you having / have you had a Happy Pride?
Mad love, light, and rainbows,