San Diego held its annual Gay Pride Parade a couple weeks ago. It was the first one I’ve been in town for since coming out a few years ago, and it turned out to be a particular awesome opportunity. The parade took place on a weekend when I not only had my daughter with me, but my partner was staying with us as well. Before the weekend kicked off, I’d thought the three of us would just go and watch the parade from a comfortable corner. We’d see gay pridefulness, a lot of creative use of rainbows, and some luminous drag queens.
Then I received a text from one of my best friends, who’s the chief of staff for a local gay council member; it seems the councilman always gathers together a contingent of folks to actually march in the parade. And in her message, my friend said she thought it might be fun for my own little gang to actually join the group.
I decided to accept her invitation, and a few days later, I found myself having an experience I never would’ve predicted when I first came out: marching front and center in a gay pride parade. With my partner and my daughter at my side.
Quite a day. Here are just a few of the things we saw:
Best Use of Rainbow Colors On a Dog 1 of 7
This was the most awesome application of rainbow colors that we saw all day. I rarely use the word "Fabulous," since it just plays into a stereotype, but... that dog is FABULOUS.
Drag Queens Who Knew How to Bring It 2 of 7
This was my daughter's first time seeing drag queens of any kind, let alone those of the highest Priscilla-grade. It took her a few seconds to realize she wasn't looking at an extremely fancy woman. She stared eagerly, was very curious, and said she thought the wigs were amazing. I kept waiting for deeper questions about the nature of drag queendom, but she was simply enchanted by the shiny.
Biggest Flag in Town 3 of 7
We'd been playing Spot the Rainbows all around town for the last couple of weeks. But when my daughter saw this flag, which cast a long, colorful shadow over us all, she said, "WHOA. I want to hold that one!"
LaToya 4 of 7
I know. The picture is so blurry it could be easy to mistake her for another drag queen. But LaToya Jackson was apparently one of the Grand Poobahs of the parade this year. Apparently she's a big deal in gay circles. (I did not know this prior.) I'll be honest -- I was really hoping to get a glimpse of George Takei. But it was nice to have the LTJ's support.
A Whole Lot of Acceptance 5 of 7
My daughter is no stranger to parades. But I don't think she was expecting to look out into the crowds on both sides of the street and see so many smiling faces, hear so many cheers, and read so many signs all showing such total warmth and support. We both thought this particular quote from God was nice.
One Bigot with a Bullhorn 6 of 7
Of course I knew this guy would be there. This was our only rough moment of the day. I considered trying to maneuver my daughter to the other side of the street when I saw this spectacle coming up, but she didn't miss it. Her entire face turned dark with anger, and I saw her actually gritting her teeth. It was a good moment to gesture all around us and explain to her that even though this dude will always be around in one form or another, the people on the side of acceptance and equality will always outnumber him.
Us 7 of 7
This isn't what we saw when we looked around. This is what others saw when they looked at us.
Best parade ever.