All day, it’s been
fabulous and fierce and filled with so much love that we can hardly
imagine how the day could be any better. We’ve consumed so much Gay
Pride that we can hardly swallow. And still the sun is out and boyz
by the score heading to Pier 54.
It’s after six when we get there, and Jonathan Porter’s at the
boards, and the pier is packed with the population of Iceland, at
least, and the first person we run into is none other than Kat—and
the song is M People’s “How Could I Love You More?” Purr-fection
And then it’s “Need You to Love Me More”—and you can tell that’s the
kind of uptrip it’s going to be: a journey through songs which
remind us why we’re here. The celebration of who we are and why we
keep going in the face of adversity. We’re here together to remind
ourselves how to survive as individuals. Strength in numbers, e
pluribus unum—and all that jazz. You don’t feel so alone when you
realize how many others face the same hurdles. And there’s a t-shirt
with the acronym O.D.D. That’s it! The new personality disorder.
We’re O.D.D. on a planet that too often doesn’t get us.
It’s a sea of color and sunglasses. Banners whipping in the breeze.
And such an array of people—crammed together. We’re a force to be
reckoned with—when we’re united like this. Old friends and new
ones—like the one who asks us, in the midst of the crowd, “Can I use
your cup?” There’s only ice left in it, but “Take it,” we
say—whereupon he uses it to pee. “The lines are atrocious,” he says
shrugging. “You can keep that,” we say.
So many people. We stand on the platform and gaze out over the mass
of beauty. Once a year, it’s like this. Once a year, we get to gaze
on this gorgeous tapestry of color. The sun setting behind us, over
the river, behind the Jersey skyline. They’ve run out of energy
drinks and alcohol—imagine that! They’re handing out liter bottles
of juice as the fireworks go off to “All You Need is Love.” What
could be more appropriate? All of us know it. We’ve been exercising
that fact all day and all evening.
And as the fireworks end with a flurry of bursts, Jonathan Porter
ushers us off the Pier with Stephanie Mill’s “Home.” Another
chestnut from back in the day, when “The Wiz” was on Broadway, but
it’s perfect for now: a reminder that home is where we find peace
And still, there’s one more—a ukulele version of “Over the Rainbow.”
Harold Arlen smiling overhead as the group of us stops traffic and
walks home together. Same time, next year: Pride on the Pier.