Spent most of yesterday out in the rain/sun combination that is lovely Minnesota weather…at Loring Park, home to the nation’s third largest Pride festival.

Many folks have spoken critically of Pride as a concept, Savage doing so with perhaps the most visability. So here’s the reply i’m going with…

You can’t discuss the public implications of gay pride without understanding a historical perspective. Thirty years ago, when these celebrations were in their infancy, our community was invisible. I repeat, invisible. Mainstream news organizations did not cover our community; our civil rights struggles had no legitimacy; and if we were covered, it usually focused on negative or stereotypical images.

Indeed.

I’m lucky, and i know it. I attend a school whose offical policy is one of protection and affirmation. I live in a town that holds the 3rd largest Pride celebration in the nation (Note to other major urban areas. Try holding yours for free, and see what it does for attendance.)

But even then, Pride is a welcome relief. I’m with my people, and it’s all good for a while. We forget our internal struggles for a while (a few Michigan Womyn’s Space t-shirts notwithstanding). We let our hair down.

I’m lucky. I carry a very small burden indeed, especially in contrast to my queer fore-mothers, fathers, parents…who came before me and rightously declared that there would be no more silence. But i still breathe easier when i take that weight off, when i am in space that feels so free.

Excerpted from recollections of a impromtu speech given by a fitness instructor/go-go dancer from last year’s parade (read with approximatly the same conviction as Mel Gibson’s “Freedom Speech” from Braveheart):

And when you go back home tomorrow, when you go back to work tomorrow…you will not go back in to the closet. Do you hear me? We’ve gotten out. Pride, people. Pride doesn’t end tomorrow. Pride three hundred sixty five days a year.

I smiled, and the church ladies of St. Paul Ref cheered.

-sly

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