Like a James Bond movie, or a fireworks display, the Pride Parade starts with a bang and ends with a bang. The middle was much more prosaic; not prosaic like the Sonoma Fourth of July parade which was white bread boring prosaic, prosaic like regular people prosaic. The Pride Parade starts with Dykes on Bikes. Dykes on Bikes are famous enough so that even I, who before now – had never been to a Gay Parade – have seen dozens of pictures of Dykes on Bikes.
Still, they were a surprise. Surprise number one was that many, if not most, of them on rice-burners, less on Harleys than I had expected. Number two, there were just less of them than I expected. Number three, they soon turned into something more akin to Maidens on Mopeds. Then, rapidly, nice guys in pink shorts, holding hands. I don’t say that derogatorily, it was the most charming thing about the Parade. Just nice people saying Please accept me as I am.
There were times when the spectators were more fun than the paraders.
As an aside, it seems to me that there are two kinds of people who are here, on display. People who put together a costume or outfit to go to the parade or be in the parade and people who get out their costume. The costume, or one of the costumes, that they already had. I lived with a woman, with a spectacular body, who had what she called a cat suit; it was a very tight, black, body suit . She would get out whenever she could. Halloween? Check, wear it with rabbit ears. Costume party? Check, wear it with a white collar and black tie. San Francisco Pride Parade? I’m sure the answer would have been, Check, just wear it. End aside.
But the paraders were plenty entertaining even if they were sometimes a little hard to understand.
And then came the finale: the horsey set and the leather crowd . Both gay and straight and, to my eye at high noon, not all that appealing. But they seemed to be enjoying themselves. It reminded me of the joke; What did the sadist say to the masochist?….. Nooo!
That was pretty much the end of the parade, but it is not where I want to end the post. What moved me most about the parade, what brought me close to tears a couple of times was not the wild and wicked; it was the quiet and nice. The normal. I think that explains what is happening right now with gay marriage and the mainstreaming of gays in general. As long as they were in the closet, in the popular imagination, they could be anything. And past the popular imagination, they could be and do the unimaginable. As they came out of the closet, they began to just be other people. With problems and worries just like anybody else.
So the couple above just becomes another older, sort of overweight couple and not a couple of wackos or, maybe, not yet. The people below just become neighbors, some of who want to get married.