It was Gay Pride day in San Francisco. I didn’t watch the parade, but my sweetheart and I went into the Castro to
shop for yarn and a can-opener ogle all the pretty revelers in post-parade effervescence.
Usually, I’m terrified of crowds. Every sports crowd feels like a riot waiting to happen. More worrisome is the implication of mandated participation. You have to be pro-home, or at least pro-visitor, but those of us who are not involved do not compute to some fans. Especially those with a predilection for violence and a measure of inebriation.
Not so, at pride. It’s a day of celebrating perseverance of identity-acceptance despite oppression. Everyone is still unsettled from the wake of the Orlando Pulse shooting, and our year has encountered fierce resistance against the right to marry. In retrospect, the outrageousness of the displays to convey the thoughts that we are lovable as we are, and we love you for who you are. reflect the desperation by which we fight a loud and vicious opposition. It’s a posture of solidarity much like the American flags that were hoisted everywhere in response to the 9/11 attacks. It’s not to say that the gay community is weak, or that pluralism and social tolerance are doomed to fail to bigotry culture: Gays do have the right to marry in the US now, after all. But the ones who fight against equality are also desperate, as if accepting us as their neighbors would shatter their minds. Maybe it would.
Still there seems to be an agreed upon notion at pride that it would be bad form for participants to be too rude.* Interestingly, the police were out in force, and more agreeable to the festivities going on than I’ve seen them (such as at protests). There was an air that they had fewer concerns of rowdy participants, but more concerns of interlopers or counter-protests or, butterflies forbid, a violent attack.
But thankfully, the only news is how fabulous everything was. For my sweetheart and I, it was a pleasant day, if one in which my nose got a tad much sun.
* This notion that pride is a nice crowd may not really be founded. Pink Saturday, a multi-stage party along the Castro, was cancelled after the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence resigned from organizing it, due to safety risks that could not be reconciled. Were I to guess, this just may be the results of Pride just getting too big, which means that the memo of why everyone has to play nice doesn’t always fully circulate. Generally, every community and sector will have its bad actors.
Also, though, if the Pink Party happened, the Castro area would have been thrumming with ear-splitting music and the street packed end to end with people. So my day was probably better without it.
I’m still behind by one post. I know.