Flashback to Gay Pride past. I’m young, outloudandproud and marching down 5th Avenue on a hot, sticky Sunday in June. There is a meagre handful of gay-haters with poorly designed signs void of poetry outside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Laughable really. And as happy and vibrant and upstanding as we all must have looked to those earnest Christians, I’m pretty sure that when my friend and I decided to swap spit in front of them, they were not the least bit tempted to go gay. We just couldn’t resist taunting them. We were young. No one could tell us we’re wrong.
While we marched and chanted and sweat profusely, we’d come to a dead halt every so often. Perhaps a tranny had broken a heel or a launched baton got caught in a politician’s bullhorn. During those stalled moments, I’d imagine Prides to come. Family was always in my future. I envisioned my lady friend and I marching with a kid or two waving flags and beaming with love. Why, we’re the freakin’ poster children of gay families, and it feels good. The parade started moving again, and I returned to reality realizing that my current girlfriend is clearly NOT going to be the mother of my unborn children. Note to self: ditch crazy chick.
Our first Gay Pride as a family was in London. Asher was 7 months old, and he puked up pureed apricots a half hour into the parade, and we left early. Just as well. While there are many things about London I love and miss, London Gay Pride is underwhelming at best. The Brits are not a celebratory people by nature unless they’re piss drunk or cheering on their favourite footie team. Come on you Spurs!! And the notion that all gay men are tan, fit and the hottest dancers to shake their groove things is not universal-especially in London where the boys are pasty, beer-gutted and completely uncoordinated. Sorry, boys. Admittedly harsh but fair. Gay Pride London was sadly lacklustre compared to Pride in NYC.
Family Gay Pride of my dreams: Take 2. June 2006. Asher is 2 ½, and I was 5 months pregnant with Levi. Rainy day. Asher still napped, and we never pushed him through naptime. After almost 7 months of severe sleep deprivation, we sleep-trained with a vengeance and refused to ever stray from the sleep schedule. Needless to say, our short visit did not come close to fulfilling my Gay Pride Family Fantasy.
2009. Almost there. Levi did not care for the loud whistle blowing. I’m with him. Whistles are so Y1K. For the first 20 minutes, Gabriella and Levi stood away from the crowds in the storefront shadows while Asher and I were curb side. Eventually, Levi got with the program and joined us. The first float we saw was led by a U-Haul truck, but I couldn’t make out what it was pulling initially. “Look, Gabriella! A U-Haul! Must be the lesbian float.”
Asher particularly liked the floats with bubbles, balloons and/or roller bladers swerving around it. The men in black leather gimp suits did not seem to cause as much concern as the fact that there were cars in the parade where cars were not allowed. We spent more time discussing the parade-car loophole than why that man was dressed like a piggy.
Asher thought the costumes and dresses were very pretty and never cottoned on to the fact that the only people in dresses were men. As the groups passed, Asher would look at the banner he couldn’t read and ask what each one said.
GLIFAA Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies “That one says that everyone should have equal rights all over the world.”
Cross Dressers International “That one, um, that one says that everyone should be able to wear whatever they want to wear….all over the world.”
Butch Femme Society “Um, that one says that girls can love anyone they want to love, dress however they’d like to dress and strap one on if they want.” No! I didn’t say the part of about the strap on.
I was grateful that we missed the NAMBLA contingency this year.
Overall, the boys had a great time, and I think they’ll enjoy it even more next year though I’m going to have to prepare my explanations a little more thoughtfully. We’re such a colourful people. After a quick stop for dinner and a cupcake at Cupcake Cafe, we loaded up the mini-van.
Gabriella: Hey! Why are you rolling down the windows? The A/C is on!
Deborah: I want to look at all the gays.
G: We’ve been looking at gays all day.
D: I know, but I want to be a part of it a little longer-while I’m sitting down in the car. Never mind. We’re too far uptown now. Only fringe gays up here. So tell me, did you feel proud, Gabriella?
G: Yes. I was actually emotional at times.
D: Like when the Pleasure Chest float drove by, and they passed out wooden spanking sticks to everyone?
G: Yeah then.
D: It was so hot when you took one look at them and said, ‘Hey, they’d make great paint sticks. Grab one for me.’
G: How about you. Proud?
D: Yes. It was a great day with the family.
Once again I took a moment to imagine Prides yet to come. Perhaps we’ll be marching in the parade one year soon instead of cheering on the sidelines. Maybe the boys will want to march in the do-good section of their choosing one day. Perhaps Asher will choose to march down 5th Avenue sporting nothing but a leather thong and a ring in his nipple and Levi will be in full make up wearing his Carmen Miranda outfit and my gold Dior high heels. Hmm, best to focus on the present.