I know that pride month is long over, and it would appear I’m quite a bit behind, but this actually is when Pride happens in our city. I’d been having a glum summer so far, and this day really helped lift my spirits. My partner and I marched in the parade with the local gay alliance (the one I’ve been doing office volunteer work with, since January).
I woke up early to help create 8 balloon “backpacks” to be worn at the parade. I didn’t end up claiming one to wear, so my partner and I decided to create our own balloon backpacks, you know, so we would fit in better.
As we marched, I seriously could feet the pride sinking in, for real. The parade followed a new route this year, and it was a definite improvement. Lots of people cheering, protesters much less prominent (for whatever reason.) My partner and I held hands for a while! I said hi to and hugged other people I knew from the alliance. It feels super great to know I’m starting to become more connected to this community, a little bit.
This was not my first time marching in the parade, not by a long shot. But it was my first time marching with a group, legit. For about 7 years straight, I would merge in with the parade to do my own thing, sometimes with my partner and friends, sometimes just with my drag buddy. In my own way, I was protesting the fact that groups have to pay for a spot. I strongly felt that, even though I didn’t belong to a group, I belonged in the parade. It was always kinda chaotic. Frenzied, manic energy (sort of forced, sometimes).
We walked with boomboxes playing our fave song (not the club hits.) We rode our bikes. We handed out flyers for radical queer reading groups, for performance nights, for the anarchist community space. We gave away candy and hugs. We hoola-hooped, danced, ALWAYS created huge gaps between ourselves and those in front of us (accidentally) because we were interacting with the crowds so much which caused us to delay walking forward, haha. At some point, it started to feel exhausting, but I kept thinking I had to keep doing it – it was a tradition. Last year, I let myself off the hook, didn’t even attend. This year, we’re figuring out different ways to do it. It felt pretty great.
I read some reflections on Pride this past month – that it’s corporate, that it’s not inclusive, that it’s not worthwhile or necessary any longer. If, by chance you do feel this way, next year, consider making Pride your own by merging into the thick of it, or streaking through the middle of it, and giving voice to whatever it is you feel you want to say. Be the people you feel you’re not seeing!