Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Small Town Pride, continued

http://emackinations.tumblr.com/

Here's my account of my first-ever Pride event. My oldest drove me to the Pride family picnic and then went on some errands.  For this year, I wanted to check out the scene by myself.  I only stayed for about thirty minutes;   it would have been too painful to stay any longer.

It was my first time ever being in a (small) crowd of people where everyone was either gay or gay-friendly.  It's hard to describe, but I felt the beginnings of a very special feeling..... as though I "belonged", not completely, but it was a start. 
 
By far the best part of the event was seeing the very large number of teenagers, all of them very attractive, hip and seemingly self-confident. These youngsters had every manner rainbow-striped Pride gear, from packsacks, t-shirts, t-shirt minidresses, dog leashes, purses and hats... all clearly purchased for such such an occasion.   They were just so cool!   I was so proud of their courage!  These kids are so lucky to be growing up in a country with such a strong acceptance of LGBT people.

Another surprise:  I was expecting to see a lot of hefty lesbians with buzz cuts, wearing work boots and flannel shirts.  (I apologize for that stereotype.)  Instead, I saw attractive women in their 30s who appeared to be there as same-sex couples with children, looking like any mothers you see see at a playground with their kids. 

I bought a Pride t-shirt and flag, took my 12 of 12 pictures, walked around the site and admired a beautiful young policeman. He had am amazing bubble butt highlighted by the tightest policeman's pants. He was on duty at the city police's job recruitment table, with the goal or improving diversity amongst its police force. I wondered, did they send a gay policeman to the LGBT picnic?  Another stereotype:  straight policemen wear tight pants, too, I'm sure!

Sadly, there were not too many 25 - 50 year old men present.   I was there in the late afternoon and the kids' activities were still in full swing. I'm sure the hot guys were going to show up for the evening's entertainment ending at 11:00 pm.

I chatted to a old friend  who hugged me and offered her condolences. I said, "What for?".  I didn't realize at first that she was referring to my marriage breakdown.  I told her, pointing around me, that this is why marriage failed... "I finally figured out I was gay!"   I said the kids were perfectly fine with me being gay and she said, "Of course they are;  you two are the most fantastic parents ever!"  Another bit of support! 


I didn't go into the tent where all the LGBT groups had displays.  No one else was in there and I suddenly chickened out, not wanting to be at the centre of attention. I'll check out their websites  for all the info I need.


My goals for next year:
  1. participate more fully in more of the Pride week events
  2. help out on the organizing committee
  3. What I really want to do the most; attend a big city Pride Parade!

14 comments:

  1. anne marie in phillyJune 14, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    as your blog title reads "one step at a time". you made it 30 minutes this year; next year perhaps a half day; the following year...

    the fact that you went in pain is a nod to your determination! love you, buddybear!

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  2. It's really cool that you did this. Did you see anyone there you knew? Recognize anyone?

    I think 30 minutes at the pride event is great. Dayton pride is so dinky, we saw the whole thing in 12 minutes flat.

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  3. anne marie: thanks! I was determined to go, come hell or high water, injury or not. My oldest rearranged her day to ensure that I was driven there on time.

    Cubby: it was a full week of excellent events! The organizers did well. I avoided a group of students from my kids' school at the far end of the playground. They were volunteers in the kids' area, face-painting and supervising the big blow-up bouncy thing.

    I met another person there; a good friend who hadn't seen since last year. (I described my "coming out" conversation with her in the third-last paragraph of the post)

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  4. Wonderful!! Being in a place where I can just be gay is so very affirming. It's like going home - to the home I never had.

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  5. Wonderful life-affirming action on your part, B.B. What a blinder of a 'step'! Feel so thrilled for you.
    That special sense of 'belonging' you talk of helps to keep us alive, vibrant and wanting more. I think you were right not to stay too long. I know that when I go to these events, always alone, it's not long before one starts envying all those others there with friends, and one's own loneliness can soon becomes crushing - and it's conspicuous too. But at least you talked with others, which helps a lot.
    Do all you can while you can. There are very many of us who'd give so much to be back at your age and (saving your recent health scares) with the energy to do most of what you want. It was a tonic reading your blog this morning. Very best of luck on future adventures!

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  6. Congrats on your 30 minutes of Pride! Me? I'm a bit jaded - I've long ago gave up watching Boston's Pride events. I've been doing it for 25 years. But, it's there for the newbies like yourself and the churches who want our souls and the businesses that want my pink cash. You KNOW your Pride Events have gone ho-hum mainstream when the banks, travel agencies and insurance groups marching, outnumber the community groups. LOL

    You forgot one goal for next year: Get my weenie worked over by an attractive man.

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  7. Good for you! If you're health and finances were in shape you could still fit in a big city Pride event this year. San Francisco is the last weekend in June ;-)

    I agree that the best part has to be that young people these days are better able to grow into this more naturally. However, I think that it is also important that you are there because the kids need to see that beyond the 'flash and dazzle' this is what it looks like in all the stages and ages of life.

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  8. Jim: New York Pride, here I come! (one day...)

    Raybeard: "Do all you can while you can." Wise words indeed! Believe me, I know!! This is why I am so determined to push ahead on my gay journey; there's no time to waste!

    Your description of being "always alone" saddened me, however. I wish that your situation could be different, somehow.

    Living in the same small town all my life and surrounded by extended family and friends, I am never lacking in someone to do things with. What I hope for in the future is to find a special man to share my life with; I'm pretty optimistic about that as well.

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  9. RG: You have a point, RG, about the commercial aspects of big city Pride. However, having gays regarded as a powerful and visible economic force in society has its benefits, too. Regarding your "worked over" comment. ;-)

    Will: Yes, those gay teenagers could not even imagine that middle-aged and elderly LGBT folk are still on a "gay journey" as well.
    A trip to SF Pride would be very special ... one day, before I'm too old to enjoy it!!

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  10. You'll never be too old to enjoy Pride! Glad that you bumped into your friend! And don't lose your shyness. It's part of your charm, Buddy Bear!

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  11. Very many thanks for your kind concern for me above, B.B., but my situation is largely of my own making.

    I do fervently hope that you find your 'special one' - and soon. Someone fulfilling your needs at this pivotal moment of your life would be so wonderful. It would be truly marvellous to read about it in a near-future blog of yours. So I'll keep waiting and watching. Rooting for it to happen, Beautiful.

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  12. This is great. It was a really brave step for you. Having grown up in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business, this took a lot of courage. I don't think people who are used to big city pride event can grasp the gravity of that. There is no anonymity in a small town. You should be very proud of yourself. We all are.

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  13. Hey, man, glad to know your first Pride went so well! That's how you do it, bit by bit, so don't feel bad about not taking a more active part or staying very long, those things will come with time. It was already very brave of you to go!

    Best,
    J.

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  14. So happy that you had a chance to partake in some of the activities this year.

    Cheers,
    BosGuy

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