There wasn’t marriage equality to cheer—at
least not in New York, not yet—but that didn’t keep Governor Paterson from marching and more than half a million
spectators lining Fifth Avenue from 52nd Street to
the Village from cheering loudly and dancing in the streets. It
may not be right yet, our LGBT life on planet Earth, but all
around the world, there were Pride celebrations on Sunday.
There’s change in the air—and the numerous banners and stickers
listing the six states already standing tall for LGBT marriage
equality were a reminder that change is coming.
And this year, our allies stood alongside us, proclaiming their
support on t-shirts and floats with messages like:
ANTI-VIOLENCE / PRO GAY, I LOVE THE GAYS, PFLAG – IT’S ALL
and I SEE
We did, too—see gay people everywhere. Happy, smiling gay
people, cheering and holding hands and hugging and kissing—a day
without fear, a day without opprobrium for whom we love. That’s
a day to celebrate, a day that becomes the norm.
It’s a long day, a long parade—and sometimes we
hear people from out of town complaining about the parade’s
pace. But, people—look around. There’s a parade on the
sidewalk, too. Walk along
Fifth Avenue, move from midtown into Chelsea and the
Village—catch the Pride fever and just be happy.
For once you’ve made it into the Village, and
you find yourself standing along Christopher Street, just beyond
Stonewall Inn, where it all started forty years ago, a world
revolution still circling the globe—that’s where the cheering
intensifies, louder and with more passion—and as you stand
there, taking in the many colors of our community, a rainbow
coalition undivided by geography, and as you see the young kids,
smiling, holding hands, and the children on parents’ shoulders,
waving a gay flag—that’s when you might find yourself completely
enveloped by love, basking in love, all-pervasive and
encompassing—and there’s nothing to do but be grateful and
proud, for that is Pride. That is the Parade.
Or as one t-shirt put it: I LOVE NEW YORK MORE THAN EVAH.
Of course, then there’s the Pier Dance—or rather the world’s
gayest meet-and-greet. This is where you smash into the
boyfriends of yesteryear (and their new hotties) and last
month’s trick from Houston and that great Dane you nearly chased
Cocktails sloshing (this year named for Candis Cayne and Lady
Bunny), and sailboats along the Hudson, their rainbow banners
whipping in the breeze, and fireboats shooting off
rainbow-colored water plumes, and the Empire State Building, the
world’s largest Art Deco erection, glowing lavender. Why not
give in to the romance of the night? Fireworks blasting
overhead, illuminating the sky…
Oh yeah, and there’s music—and dancing. And
this year, three deejays, Phillip Kimball, Jack Reina, and Corey
Craig—and as someone mentioned, their sets were a lyrical
commentary on the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion
and the quest for LGBT marriage equality. Or you could just
dance—or flag—or gaze at Guy Smith’s mesmerizing light show.
There’s such a variety of ways to enjoy this party. It’s all
what you give to it—and why would you want to resist having fun,
and especially when the monies raised enable Pride to happen
every year? For in the end, the Pier Dance is a sea of smiling
faces, dancing along the River under a moonlit night at the
beginning of summer in
New York. Give it up for Pier Dance and be proud you’re helping
Pride happen. Do it for all those kids who line the streets in
need of gay love.
Because that’s Pride in New York—or as the PFLAG float said it
ALL ABOUT THE LOVE.