Identity / Life

Much Ado about Pride

June is LGBT Pride Month and we’ve written about both the beauty and the questions that arise when our community assembles. As the month winds down, I have a confession to make. Twin Cities Pride is this weekend and I’m not going. In fact, I’m leaving today for Boston to spend the weekend with friends from college – friends who are mostly straight. GASP! I meet up with these friends once a year and when this weekend was thrown out as the best for a get together, I didn’t hesitate to say, “Yep! Count me in!” because I must confess: I haven’t been to Pride in years.

Before kids, Luisa and I were part of the Lesbian Avengers and were actively involved in Pride and the Dyke March that always took place the night before the parade. We planned and marched and tabled and passed out candy from the back of a truck. We were super gay all the time. After having kids, we still went down to the park for the festival and took our kids to see the parade. They loved the candy and the rainbows and the music and all the people.

Then, one year, it was hot and we were tired and Luisa and I gave each other a look that said, “Nobody says we have to go to Pride…” and we stayed home. Since then, we have only gone one other time and I remember sitting on the sidewalk watching the parade of politicians and churches and businesses and thinking, “When did this get so boring?” and I realized there just weren’t enough fabulous drag queens owning the street in their heels and boys in tiny shorts gyrating to disco and dykes in cut off t-shirts shooting the crowd with water guns. When I came out, my mother said, “Why do gays have to flaunt it?” As I watched that boring parade, my question was, “Why don’t we flaunt it like we used to?”

We haven’t been back since and I could try to pretend that I take issue with the corporate takeover of Pride or that I’m anti-assimilationist or that I am still as radical as I was when I stood on the steps of the Federal Court House eating fire while the American flag burned at my feet. But, the truth is that I just don’t want to deal with the heat and the crowds and the expense and the parking.

I have Gay Guilt because I truly believe that Pride is still important, that visibility matters. I recognize how empowering it is to stand in the middle of a city you love, a city you call home, and be surrounded by LGBT people and allies for a day or two. I also believe it is good for our kids to be there, to see the LGBT community in all its diverse glory. I welcomed the opportunity to explain assless chaps to my seven year old son. I mean that. There is magic in all of that.

But I am coming to terms with the idea that I don’t have to be there. I can spend the weekend at home with my family or I can go to Boston to be with friends. The Big Queer World will keep on spinning whether I am there or not but I take comfort in knowing that there will be thousands of LGBT people gathering to celebrate love and truth. To those representing in the Twin Cities and all those who have shown up in cities all around the country and world, thank you. I’ll toast you this weekend – cheers queers! Also, could you do me a favor? If you’ve got it, flaunt it.

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: THE JOURNAL

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