San Francisco Pride Parade: Part One

We kept calling it the Gay Pride Parade, but the official name, San Francisco Pride Parade, is a much better name. For me, it was the feel good event of the year, maybe the last couple of years. It just made me beam with pride that I live here, live near San Francisco, live in California which, there is no doubt, will soon legalize marriage between two people who love each other.

I went to a Pet Parade in Palo Alto about 40 years ago; a 4th of July Parade in Sonoma last year; and, now, this. Pretty steep curve.

What moved me the most was not the outrageousness – although there was plenty of outrageousness – but the normalness. Just normal people. Gay normal people. On this day, just after the marriage ruling in New York, gay normal people who are happy.

I always thought that it would have been easier to have grown up named Jerry Smilkstein. Then I wouldn’t have had the When do I tell them I am Jewish, dance. And I am not even really Jewish to the Jews, just to bigots. If I said nothing, I was worried that somebody would say something like “I Jewed them down on the golf clubs.” and, then, I would have to do the dance. But from, sort of, behind the curve. It must be ten times worse if you are gay. Somebody has to be a lot better human being than me to grow up gay and not become a serial killer, or, at least, permanently outraged. There is no way to be auto-outed and you have to even out yourself to your parents.

It is pretty hard to watch this parade and not become aware that they are just extraordinary human beings.

There are big people and little people – sometimes together – people that seem a little embarrassed at how little they are wearing and people that seem to be wearing more than usual. Mostly people just being themselves.

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