In a Pagan online group someone asked about the [American] 'Pagan Pride' and whether we feel this is of relevance for UK Pagans. Funnily enough, I only recently talked about this with my hubby.
So here's my "twist" and what I replied: I -am- actually rather proud to be Heathen - to follow the native pagan Sitte of my cultural heritage and family ancestors. And while I do not "parade" it, (sorry, couldn't resist the pun!), I am neither shy nor secretive about following the Alte Sitte and my family being a Heathen family.
As a side-note and interestingly - for me anyway - I do not feel the same 'pride' towards being [Hindu] Shakta (i.e. non-dual Goddess devotee, which is a loose if somewhat in-accurate English label) ... which is strange as this aspect of me is -absolutely- paramount in terms of spirituality / world-view / way of life for me ... I simply wouldn't say I am 'proud' about it; (words like 'content', 'fulfilled', 'happy' fit better). But then again, I'm not a -cultural- [observing] Hindu.
It's a strange thing about 'pride' thinking about it: for me, I feel pride to belong to certain social groups that either I am happy to belong to or that I deeply identify with or which I simply deem to be great in some way. For example, I am deeply proud of my family; my Heathen Kindred; at [most] times I am proud of my native country (Germany) or my adopted home-country (England/Britain); etc.
Then there's pride about personal and collective achievements - and achievements by individual members of the 'pride-group'.
As to parades (of any kind really) - I just find them weird! Even watching them makes me cringe and feel uncomfortable. (Having said that, I don't need to like them to acknowledge that other people might like and need them and it's no skin of my back when they do and do hold them.)
However, living in a country which is in part governed by the Church of England (House of Lords!) with the head of state being the head of the state church, and a Christian bias and privileges in schools and everywhere really, we will have to continue to show flag if we want to retain and build on social acceptance to having freedom to openly live as pagan.
I just don't think Pride Parades are the way - at least not the best or only way.
Another issue I have with 'Pagan Pride' parades, is that they give the impression [to outsiders] that 'Paganism' is a thing – even a unified thing … Which it simply isn't. Not meaning any offence, I do not feel represented by Wiccans, or Druids, or Eclectics, or whatever. Heck, I don't even feel represented by any given Heathen (or Shakta for that matter) group or organisation.
Even the lines for who's in or out in the LGBT – and even Black – community are blurred!
People can rarely be labelled and put into neat boxes – which in my book is a good thing! I strongly support diversity!
So bottom line for me is that in our society/world we need to continue to fight for personal liberty, so that anybody and everybody is treated with the respect which should be accorded -purely- on the basis of being a [human] living being. I don't want to be respected for sexual orientation, religion, skin-colour what have you – that is a personal thing which should be -kept out(!)- of politics.
I believe we need a change of paradigm: it's not the 'attributes' that need supporting – like being pagan, gay, black etc. - it's people who need supporting in being accepted and respected -regardless- of personal individual attributes.