Pride with Some Prejudice
Let's start with a confession. I have never been to Pride.
How did this happen? I ahve been out since I was 16. i was the first gay friend for a bunch of college classmates, everyone I work with knows the score, my parenst and I have dealt with the iusses and moved on beyond. But still somehow i never managed to make Pride in any way shape of form.
Mostly it was the timing.
During my high school years i didn't really have anyone I could have gone to Pride with. And way back then it wasn't really geared towards young kids and even though my mother would have taken me if I asked--it seemed like that would be a Bad Idea. mostly because-to me then-Pride seemed like a big dance party that would be geared towards flirting and meeting boys which are things one should not normally do with a parent. Even a hip mom such as my own.
Then during college Pride fell during the height of summer-the time when most of my college friends had headed back to JErsey or the Midwest or foregin countries far and wide. I felt like it would be weird and lame to go to Pride alone and friendless-non matter how cute I may have been it still would have been akin to a ttoo exclaiming loser.
so when I moved to LA post school I alwys kind of figured I wiuld get around to it. But at times money got in the way, sometimes it was about the lack of interest in anyone around me, other times I just couldn't even figure out the ways to get there. Not having a car was a great excuse to hold off. And then once the subway was built I was always at jobs that made it hard to try and go-working at the summer program, being a manager at Pier 1, my various gigs with Big Brother that always fell during the event... I just never made it.
I also never really tried.
But being with Johnno has always been a bit more expanding my horizons. He is very gay Pride, he hosts on a podcast about the gay nightlife back in Seattle, he has lived in the gay ghetto and had a lot more gay friends than straighst at various points in his life. I knew he would want to go this year and so i braced myself.
See for all of my strum and drag about doing gay things--they usually make me uncomfortable. Something about the crowds, the over the topness of the situation, the feeling of there is something to prove. Add to my own fears and worries about plans in general, crowd in particular and just my own insecurties about not feeling like I had teh friends and the need to be there....
I just would rather hide my head then do anything
But Johnno and I decided that we would give it a serious shot this year. We made plans with friends to meet up at the events which all fell through and led to me feeling like I didn't wnat to go but Johnno insisted we give it a shot. So we made our way down Saturday night for the clubs in Weho, the dance parties and the general crowds of boys and girls and men and womyn who were taking the city by storm.
What amazed me is that once I relaxed (with a few cocktails) I found myself seeing that was really just a big reason to go out and see that we're here. (And yes-queer). There were all types of people and things going on from tough dykes holding hands on the corner to silly skinny bitches being bitter and sarcastic. We danced in a lesbina bar, met a bartender who somehow remembered our drinks when we went back the next morning for the parade. I managed crowds and the heat and the confusion of what we were doing like a champ.
I discovered that Pride is really about a sense of community. Not that we all hold hands and get along-there were the various groups you imagine roaming the streets to busy to talk or notice each other-but it was about the fact that all thee different people thought it was important to be out whether for drinking or danicng or showing off or standing up for something. I admit it was a bit much but it was something I needed to see.
And at the end of the day I am grateful that johnno pushed the issue. We wouldn't have hand held Cher face fans or dance for two hours at lesbina drunk in the middle of the afternoon or watch people learn the Lady Gaga dance or seen a million randon things like out teens or leather queens on bikes or even just the senior citizen bus with the one sign that said 'I'm straight? who cares?' as the lady rode along with all her old gay boy friends.
It was amazing and something to hold to more than my preconcieved thoughts about Pride.