Pride and spectacle (part 2)

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That night ended without G and me kissing anyone at all.

Block party officially ended at 11am. But the real party, perhaps to some, was just starting. They probably went to the many gay bars in town and sustained further their pride night stupor.

Meanwhile G and I aimed for the train back home. On the corner of Mission and 16th, where the train station is, a muted-down, no nudity, all-walks-of-life street dancing party is beginning to wind down. The homeless. The nomads. The travelers. The neighbors. Michael Jackson was the theme. We couldn’t pass that up. We danced with a beautifully dressed black lady.

We may miss our train, I told G. We left against our hearts’ desire.

The next day we went back to the city for the Pride Parade. I’d never seen the train that full. Everybody was going to San Francisco. We emerged from the subway and a sea of happy people on Market Street welcomed us. It was a gorgeously sunny day.

On my left, someone was standing on a stool with a sign that reads: “Homosexuality is a national security threat.”

The parade began. Men and women wearing pink costumes with protruding elongated balloons that look like tail feathers pointing to the skies smiled wide to the cheering crowd. They waved and crowd waved back, clicking shutters. A middle-aged lady a couple feet from me was shouting something I couldn’t hear but it looks like she’s cheering them on, like a mother to her daughter during a ballet recital.

Then it happened. I didn’t expect it to come. But it came from somewhere. A question came and I knew the answer but it’s an answer still hard to face and accept. It’s a question that made me cry.

Why need Pride?

There’s no day to celebrate and be proud you’re a guy who likes girls, or girls who kiss boys. No day to come out and actually prove to the world that being straight is a natural thing. There is no need to be extravagant, spend millions, to stop traffic, to draw thousands of people, goggle at the people on the parade like it’s a freak show.

A preacher in the next block was exhorting the immediate onlookers in front of him “Only Jesus can save you!”

Why did we invent a day like Pride?

Because we have to. We need to. We weren’t treated equal. We have to put on a show, like circus came to town, dress funny and bend backwards just to send a message. We have to be naked on the street and be looked down upon as a filthy weirdo. We have to bring out “role models” among ourselves to say, it seems, look we are good, fine people. It’s as if we have to justify every damn purpose for existing: we are in your entertainment, we are in your government, we are in your coffee, we are in your fashion, we are in your military, we are in your dream of better world. And still, it doesn’t seem enough. We still have to do something like this every year, every where in the world.

This question and this answer made me cry while most people were cheering, clapping and greeting each other “Happy Pride!” I wasn’t expecting that for my first pride parade.

But I’m grateful for that moment. Despite the spectacle, I thought my first pride was quite meaningful.


Written by markus

June 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Posted in Travel

Tagged with ,

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