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Submitted by on June 27, 2011 – 12:34 AM14 Comments

I went to Pride today. I went by mistake, and not really willingly, because I suffered some sort of nuclear brain fart while planning my afternoon and thought coming into the city on the west side would work out really awesomely for meeting my non-carnal spouse Wing at a cinema at East Houston and 2nd Avenue. For those of you unfamiliar with Manhattan geography: not awesome at all. If the Pride parade route is a boomerang, I emerged from the car near the elbow, and physically could not get out of the crook of that arm for two hours — not going south, not looping out to the river, no how.

I couldn’t get to the movie, and I couldn’t sit anywhere and read, so I wandered around and dug the atmo. I counted bridal veils (dozens) and pairs of buttless pants (surprisingly few, boo) (come on, butts = good times), and I remembered seeing Quentin Crisp at Pride years ago, and the thrill I got from that, seeing his purple hat go by. I got shooed off a stoop, and I helped form a screen of bodies behind which a queen could perform a flying re-tuck. I watched a big line of couples wait patiently to take pictures in front of the huge wedding-cake window display at Michael Kors. It’s easy for me to forget what Pride is about, that it’s still necessary; I’ve lived in the city a long time and I’ve been gay-friendly much longer than that, so I was standing at the 184th crosswalk I couldn’t use all, “I’ve been proud of y’all — can a hag with plans get this barricade moved maybe?” But folks come from all over the country and all over the world for Pride, from places where it isn’t safe to hang out, hold hands, and be.

(And dear those places: seriously, that’s unacceptable. You know it’s unacceptable. Get with the tolerance. It’s not that hard, Chris Christie. And what is that? He’s “not a fan” of gay marriage? What a weird locution, like it’s a sports team and he’s refusing to wear the jersey on game day or something. Get over it, Butterpants.)

So the afternoon started out seeming like a hassle, but there’s a hassle, and then there’s that kind of hassle. Not really comparable, so I just enjoyed the signage and the energy, and in my perambulations, I discovered another awesome thing about Pride: the crowd knows what it’s doing. It knows how to…crowd. Yeah, it got bottlenecky at street corners at times, and you had people stopping short or walking four abreast here and there, but compared to the average afternoon on 7th Ave. in the Slope? So minimal. People knew how to move. People observed lanes, texted at speed, didn’t spill on neighbors or push. The few messy drunks I saw had friends on duty with it. No ralphing, no fighting, no bad vibes really at all — everyone happy, dancing, patient with the congestion. My single biggest peeve about public behavior generally is that people’s basic awareness of their surroundings, and corresponding courteousness to others, has taken a nosedive in the last few years (probably thanks to iPods and smartphones et al.), and it took me a while to notice that peeve’s absence today, that the Pride crowd collectively understood, hey, other people exist. Perhaps you have to drive regularly in Brooklyn to appreciate the rarity of that, but in any case, it’s really quite rad to spend time in a huge clump of people who don’t confuse fun with flailing about. Or who flail politely, I guess.

I wonder why that is. Correlation is not causation, of course, but given the dearth of backwards-baseball-hatted chipsters in the area…who knows. Who cares! Well done, fellow Priders! A-minus.




  • john says:

    That’s what you get for driving into Manhattan!

    My experience with Pride has been going to work (in Chelsea) in the midst of it for several years. My favorite reference to it was a south Asian vendor referring to the marchers as “the colorful people.”

    Today things seemed curiously subdued, at least in my area. Maybe everyone was still recovering from Friday night? I heard one young man complaining that his group didn’t know what it was doing and was just walking around. Well, that’s cool too.

  • Ipomen Scarlet says:

    It’s really exciting!

    So often, New York’s an inspiration.

    Down here in Australia, a sizable majority of the population supports gay marriage, but we are unfortunately led by moronic retrogrades. It’s bizarre: our politicians are otherwise utterly poll-driven but in this instance, they’re prepared to make a stand.

    Anyway, your state’s decision is not only right, but it will hopefully reignite the debate here in Oz.

  • StillAnotherKate says:

    “Can a hag with plans get this barricade moved maybe?” This has made my day!!

  • Cara says:

    I was in Chicago’s Pride parade yesterday and it was awesome (in all senses of the word) despite a couple of problems at the beginning*. Our group was directly in front of a Spanish-language radio station who had two guys in homemade butterfly costumes carrying their banner.

    *Someone slashed the tires on several floats the night before the parade. This is not only hateful but also pointless as a protest. The parade can still go on without floats.

  • Jen S 1.0 says:

    Gay Pride’s always been a fun and darling way to spend the weekend here in Seattle. Walking to work on Sunday my husband and I saw a bunch of nude bicyclists. Our only comments were me: “Great body paint! But that seems chafey.” and my husband “Ohhh, what if you fell down? Or caught a bee in the naughty bits?” But it’s good to know that the few and proud will strip down and paint up for the cause and aren’t wimps like us boring ol’ married hets.

  • Stephanie says:

    My employer actually participates in our local Pride parade (finding that out was AWESOME) and one year I walked alongside the float handing out bottled water, which was welcome on a hot July day. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done at a work-sponsored event.

    Pride is (here in San Diego at least) a 99% positive event and people are having SUCH a good time. It’s nice to know you’re surrounded by people who “get it” and don’t hate the gays. Even as a married straight gal it is still super inspiring.

  • Elyse says:

    “I’ve been proud of y’all — can a hag with plans get this barricade moved maybe?”
    Love. It made me snort.

  • Kim says:

    This morning at Starbucks (…yeah), in front of me in line were two tall, beautiful young men, impeccably dressed for business-casual Seattle and unfailingly polite. When the dark-haired one of the pair turned around after collecting his coffee, I saw a smear of glitter still sparkling at his temple, and thought “I hope you had an AWESOME time yesterday, kiddo.”

  • Erin W says:

    “Not a fan”! That’s HILARIOUS. Especially because I generally use that expression to mean “I tried it, but it wasn’t for me.”

  • mel says:

    Oh, I would give anything to be a part of a crowd that knows how to crowd. We are into the major “fest” season here (Chicago-Milwaukee corridor), but I can’t get up the gumption to go to any of them. Crowd behavior is just abysmal.

  • Jenn says:

    I’m totally out of the loop, since I didn’t know Pride was this weekend, but the fact that it was just after the vote is so awesome. No one could have planned that better.

  • Princess Leah says:

    RE: ‘those places’–I spent the weekend at a family wedding in the midwest, met a totally awesome new family member who is a teacher in a town near Chicago. She told me that she had to go all the way to the state capital with a group of her students to get permission for a gay/straight alliance on campus. Because? Because the local officials would not allow a ‘sex club’ at their school.

    She was very upbeat & midwesternishly cool about the whole thing while I was spilling my drink on my toes, I was sputtering so badly. Cool-ass teacher’s school board, meet 2011. Yikes!

  • Sandman says:

    It IS a weird locution, but then that might be par for Christie’s oddly constructed course. In the article linked to, he says, about the possibility of running for Vice President, “[t]he person who picks me as vice president would have to be sedated.” God help me, I have no clue what that’s supposed to mean. It’s sad when people don’t hear the stuff in their heads before it tumbles out of their mouths.

    “Not a fan,” geez. Howzabout you be fan of equality under the law, then, ‘kay?

  • JAT says:

    Milwaukee Pride is one of the yearly fests at the lakeside festival grounds. Since it started, there’ve been varying levels of antigay protest outside the gates. So PFLAG counter-protests with signs like “God BLESSED me with a gay son” and “Welcome Pridefest.” This year, I could not see the antigay protesters at all.

    None. No signs, no bullhorns, no fliers.

    The PFLAG folks were there, however. (Calling “Welcome to Pridefest! Have a good time!”)

    This seems like a funny year to give up. I suppose they may have misbehaved enough to be run off on Day 1, though I didn’t see any news coverage of it. Our local news habitually waits to report on Pride until it’s going on (end of broadcast note: “Pridefest opened Friday night and runs until Sunday at 5 pm”), and usually doesn’t mention it in general festival or festival-park coverage (“After the break: renovations at Henry Maier Festival Park! To be finished before the opening ethnic festival, Polish Fest!” (weekend after Pride)), so any number of things might have happened without coverage.

    So. Maybe hopeful. Gov. Scott Walker is a 3@)$#^)@$$#*(+, so nothing good is coming statewide unless he’s recalled.

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