A funny thing happens every June. It’s akin to a seasonal awakening, a biological imperative. Just as the birds fly south for the winter and the flowers spring to life in May, the gays begin to sprinkle out of their slumber. At first, it starts with a smattering; a gay guy here, a gay girl there. But by the third week in the sixth month, it’s like a giant flood of rainbowness. In New York City, the flood culminates with the Gay Pride Parade, a day I have had a love/hate relationship with since my early twenties.
Let’s start with the love. Living in Boston for much of my twenties, “Happy Pride!” rang out from the queer masses on the second Saturday in June. It was always sunny; proof that God Hates Fuck-ups Who Hate Fags. Oh, how I loved this day; hanging out with friends in Boston Common, watching in amazement as drag queens strutted along the steaming asphalt in seven inch heels, drinking mass quantities of alcohol, and ultimately going home alone. OK that part sucked but the rest was great. And yet something always bugged me.
Deep down, I couldn’t help but wonder if the parade was a good marketing move. Five second clips of the parade on the evening news made us look like club-hopping, sex crazed maniacs. And while that wasn’t exactly off base, it wasn’t entirely true either. Shouldn’t pride be a bit more serious, more, well, prideful?
Fast forward a decade. I haven’t been to a pride parade in five years. The thought of schlepping to Greenwich Village to watch gay men thrusting on a pride float to techno beats makes my head want to explode. Now in my mid-thirties, Pride doesn’t hold the same warm place in my heart. I kind of hate it and yet I feel like it has never been more necessary.
In the gay-i-verse, everything has become much too serious – marriage rights, adoption rights, health benefit rights, divorce rights. These are no doubt important but what about party rights? What about embracing what makes us different rights? And trust me, try as we might to play the equal card, we are different. And that’s OK. Really.
So, no, I’ll be nowhere near NYC this Sunday. I’ll be on my couch watching General Hospital on my DVR. And I’m proud of that. But when I see the inevitable debauchery-filled parade clips on the news, I’ll be proud of those, too.