Following the launch of a Pride Band for Apple Watch last summer, Apple today has revealed an all-new Pride Band for Apple Watch, which will be available to purchase today on Apple.com. The band has the colorful hues of the rainbow, with white stripes between each color.
In addition, users will be able to set a new Pride Apple Watch face on their devices at the end of the keynote.
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Except it’s not that easy, even now. I “came out” almost 20 years ago, but I still come into contact with people who don’t realise I’m gay, and say incredibly offensive things *right in front of my damn face* about gay people, without even realising they’re describing me.
And when that happens I have a choice. Confront them about it, and (apparently) “make a big deal” about my sexuality, and face possible escalation of their homophobia. Or let it slide, scurry back into the closet for a while, pretend I didn’t hear anything. I did that once at the start of a new job, and spent the next couple years hiding my sexuality from people at work, so as not to cause a scene, to avoid making things complicated.
And I hated myself for doing that, for letting fear and hesitation win and retreating back to the safety zone of being “normal”. So the reason I, personally, bought last year’s Pride band (and will be buying this year’s too), and enjoy wearing it from time to time, is because it reminds me to not be afraid or ashamed of who I am. It’s a colourful, bright, stripey mark that stops me from shuffling back into the shadows. It’s a symbol of the big extended family I belong to, that I stand with, together, refusing to shut up and go away. And that’s a big deal for us.
Oddly, perhaps, it took me a very long time to understand what pride was supposed to be about. In general I found gay pride parades very alienating as they seemed to be focussed on sex. As a survivor of sexual abuse, I find sex a pretty terrifying thing, so I felt like gay pride wasn't really for people like me.
And then I thought about what the word "pride" means. A recent survey in the UK asked people whether they were proud to be British. It's an accident of birth, I thought, so I'm not sure it makes sense to say I'm proud of it. Grateful perhaps. There are worse places to be born.
But then I realised that the opposite of pride is shame. And oh how much of my life I've wasted in being ashamed of being gay. It's almost impossible not to be. Homophobia has been regularly and loudly shoved down my throat my entire life. I knew I was gay by the age of 9. I knew I had to deny and hide it by the age of 12. When I was finally forced to come out to my parents, when I was 19, they disowned me and our previously loving relationship was permanently destroyed. My dad was ashamed of me.
For what? I didn't choose to be gay any more than I chose to be right-handed. Why do all these people hate me?
Black people certainly know about irrational hatred and persecution. But the fact that they're black has at least one plus point: it's easy to find other black people. And other black people who get you.
But since gay people are encouraged to hide, it can be really quite hard to find other ones. Certainly at high school I was fairly sure I was the only gay person in the school, and possibly the world. I did try to become straight. I really did.
I'm old enough to remember things like the UK's notorious Section 28 law — that described homosexual relationships as "pretended" and effectively banned schools from offering support to gay people. Nice.
I'm not sure why, but when I saw this year's pride band, and the way it was paired with the new watch face, I immediately knew I wanted to wear it. If only to say to myself that I'm done with being ashamed.
As for people who don't get it. Well, I half understand you. In a way, you're lucky that you don't. It means you haven't had to put up with the giant crapfest that is being gay. Black people's parents don't disown them for being black. Their parents don't wish they were white.
But, to be honest, I suspect that if you don't get it and feel the need to attack it then that's because you've been a victim of the deafening, relentless barrage of noise that constantly tells society that being gay is wrong. And despite there being no rational basis to this, you've bought it and now you're passing it along.
It's a watch strap. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
That being said, if they made bands that catered to other minorities, I don’t think it’d be an issue, same as this.