Who doesn’t get a frisson of childish pleasure out of watching a parade go by? The brightly colored floats, ridden by smiling strangers in even more colorful costumes. The marching bands. The baton twirlers. The mobs of people jostling for space on the curb. What’s not to love?
And who are those lucky folks that get to be IN that parade? Yesterday it was me and Tigger.
Seattle’s Pride Parade happens every June, to coincide with the anniversary of Stonewall, and no, I don’t mean Stonewall Jackson. Tig and I marched with the AIDS org I work for. We wore our agency-branded t-shirts, carried a banner, and waved at the throngs of cheering spectators.
If you’ve never been to a Gay Event, I assure you it was quite a spectacle. My 11-year-old admired the elaborate, fruit-encrusted hat of a woman in fancy dress without ever suspecting it was actually a man. The ROTC (Really Outrageous Twirling Corp) marched just in front of us, frequently stopping to perform a routine with wooden rifles that I’m certain the U.S. Military would disapprove of.
Politicians swarmed the area. Hizzoner the Mayor made himself conspicuous. A King County Councilmember was there in a vintage car with a bevy of blond, re-election-sign-carrying supporters. And the Grand Marshal was none other than Washington Governor Christine Gregoire.
Thousands of people lined the streets. They cheered every contingent, even us, even though we weren’t doing anything but marching along. They cheered us for the work we do, and for turning out, and for being Proud right along with them. The whole thing was so happy and peaceful and full of love and music and color I started having 60’s flashbacks, even though I was just a little kid in the 60’s. There was no conflict. I saw no protestors except for one lone dude with a “turn away from sin, something something Jesus” sign (I couldn’t read the whole thing, too many people in the way), and even he didn’t look like his heart was in it.
We went home tired and overheated (92 degrees yesterday. Yes, in Seattle!), only to find our house was Disaster Central. Here’s a mind-boggler for y’all: how did my basement get flooded on a hot summer day without a single drop of rain? Hint: twas not an act of God, but very much an act of Man.
Hint #2: What happens when you send a man to a toy store with a child in one hand and a credit card in the other?