but thankfully a few hours later it was....
and my first Pride was on. Let me just start by saying, Pride is AWESOME. Yeah, that about sums it up...it's awesome. Now, there was a low point which I will share because I think it's a milestone every gay person must share when they experience it, but other than that, it was more awesome than I expected it to be.
Here's a recap of the day, specifically the funny/memorable stuff. We'll start with the one low point and end with the positives.
So I park my car out in east bumble because I missed the exit and had to take some ass backwards way to get to Duke's campus (where Pride was held). I finally found a parking spot (a.k.a. a spot where I could park) and was praying that a) I wouldn't get a ticket and b) I wouldn't get towed because I-along with many others-had invented parking spots in places where there were no actual lines or parking, but I digress. While I am walking from my car up to where the parade was I realized I was passing some people who were there...but not there because they are out and proud. They would be the crazy fundamentalist right there to picket and protest. Now, I am a Bible-believing, God fearing, Jesus is my homeboy and savior kind of Christian...but I have little patience and no grace for fundamentalist bigots because they represent everything that Jesus opposed and yet are the picture people have in their mind that makes them think all Christians are narrow-minded and crazy-sorry, that's one of my hot button soapboxes I'll climb down now. Anyway, here's the scene of this dude who gets right up in my face as we are both walking the same way toward the parade.
Bigot Fundamentalist-"You need to turn from your sins. God loves you, repent and you will be saved!"
Me-"I know God loves me, I am saved, and homosexuality isn't condemned in the Bible...go to seminary and learn some historical context before you come out here making my savior look like a narrow-minded asshole." (Ok, probably not the best response, but again, I have little patience and things pop out before I can stop them.)
Bigot Fundamentalist-"God hates queers! You will burn in hell for your sins Faggot!"
Seriously, his rage and anger knocked the wind out of me. I have been very lucky and have never had any opposition to being gay until today, at least not to my face. I was hurt, offended, angry and saddened all at the same time. At this point I quickly got on the other side of the street because I could feel the tears in my eyes-and you KNOW I was not going to let this asshole know that he got to me. Now, I know that story was a downer, but as I said earlier, it's a milestone that every gay person experiences at one time or another, I just didn't expect it to happen at Pride.
Now on to the highlights.....
1) Clap it up for the Durham Police Department Y'all! The parade route where I was at was lined on two sides.....one side was the gays.....the other was the picketers with megaphones, posters, and giant crosses...because nothing says God is love like hating people. In between floats and people marching the motorcycle cops rode around in circles blasting their sirens to drown out the bigots and their megaphones. They didn't have to, they chose to....so again, clap it up for the Durham Police Department!
2) I was on the phone with my friend S while we were trying to find one another. Here's the scene-
S-Where are you?
Me-Walking by the railroad tracks.
S-What do you see?
Me-A lot of gay people.
(I mean really, how could l resist that one? She kicked the door wide open!)
There were a lot more people there than I expected, which was AWESOME. For such a conservative state, everyone was out and themselves, with no fear/reservation as to who they were and/or who they loved. There were traditional drag queens, drag queens with beards and goatees, effeminate men sashaying around the grounds, butch women, gender-queer people, femme women, and families there with their kids. It was a little overwhelming, in a good way.
3) Free stuff! Who doesn't love free stuff? If you just raised your hand, put it down we all know you are lying. I jumped on the free stuff bandwagon...pride stickers, HRC stickers, balloons, bags, etc. And all of it was super-gay. Funny scene of S and I (once we found each other) walking around booths.
Me-Where did you get the sticker (white background with a squiggly rainbow)
S-Over here, want me to grab you one?
Me-Uh, yeah...it's free gay stuff. Ironically here is the one place where I wouldn't need a sticker for people to know I'm gay.
S-Uh...you should probably put on the sticker...
Even at Pride I still look like the straight friend who came along to be supportive...wtf...you'd think my lumberjack gait would be a dead clue.
4) No parking ticket, no rain, and my car wasn't towed! Guess who's psyched for Pride 2009 and has two thumbs? This guy (cue thumbs pointing to chest). [Triple points if you know the TV reference!]