Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gay Pride

Main Street was abuzz as I stood on the peace picket under the warm sun today. The Gay Pride Parade was going to be held and traffic was snarled, people were dressed in their most noticeable clothing, and there was a certain festivity in the air.

In one sense, those who might feel under-appreciated or under-valued had a time to shine and express solidarity: Fifteen minutes or a couple of hours, not so much of fame, as of knowing you were not alone.

Vendors sold hats and necklaces and boas and flags ... most of them colored with some version of a rainbow. There were women with fat behinds and short haircuts and stern faces; lots of people, mostly women, holding hands; men who were in the process of or had completed sex change operations; teenagers with lots of piercings and hair dyed in luminescent pink or orange or turquoise; but mostly people were smiling and the kids ... well the kids were people who didn't wave words like "diversity" like some weapon. They were smiling and happy and waiting for the parade and held flags because ... well, because they were alive and those who protected them had brought them.

It feels so odd these days to think that once upon a time, "gay" simply meant a kind of merry happiness and "diverse" carried no code-word political undercurrent but simply meant ... well ... diverse ... or varied and different.

The whole of Main Street felt happy and, whether tall or short, man or woman, young or old, fat or thin, happiness is not exclusive. Anyone can be happy. Whether they need to feel proud about it, I leave to them.

I didn't stay for the parade itself ... I've seen parades before and besides, an hour and a half in the sunshine had made me hungry.

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