I’m pausing in the middle of mostly California-focused posts to talk about pride (after all, it’s important to keep you guys on your toes!).
Okay, so that ‘p’ in pride should be capital. On Saturday afternoon, Andy and I went to the Hudson Pride Parade and Festival! The weather was pretty much as picture perfect as you could get (unless you’re, I don’t know, in the Caribbean or something), and the town of Hudson is full of a great mix of people, restaurants, antique shops, and architectural beauty. Grand setting for Pride!
A little back story: this was my first Pride in four years, and my last one before that was also four years prior. How I’ve missed that celebrating and being surrounded by the queer community! From age 18 to 25, I was an out and proud lesbian and wanted the whole world to know. So Pride was a regular thing: I love the event itself, the pageantry, the spectacle, the outpouring of love and declaration of freedom. I would seek the unusual and provocative with my camera, especially at the Dyke March in New York City (heads up, some of the pics at that link are not work friendly!).
Then, I met Andy in 2007 and everything that I knew about myself was called into question again. I basically went through a second identity crisis (coming out was difficult enough the first time!), but that didn’t stop me from going ahead with my first adult heterosexual relationship. For this and several other reasons, 2007 was quite the mind-blowing year.
All of which is to say that my queer identity was sort of put on the back burner for awhile, unsure of its place in my life. My relationship with Andy evolved, I traveled around some more, realized it was okay to still be attracted to women, and we got married in 2011.
I suppose if I were into labels, like I was as an identity-seeking adolescent, I would say that I’m bisexual– but I don’t use labels now- except maybe ‘married’ and ‘wife’ 🙂 I’m someone who loves others regardless of their gender, and I’m lucky to be with someone who loves me exactly for me.
I’m sure the 2007 me would have thought it would be such a big deal for Andy and I to go to a Pride event together, but in reality, Saturday afternoon was mostly like any other local event we’d attend: cute Hudson Valley town with crowds, lighthouse near the waterfront park, and enticing sidewalk cafes. Of course, there was the added element of glee that I felt, all the while thinking Yay! Pride again! I wish there were women holding hands in Kingston, too. Ohmygod that rainbow-covered dog is so cute, etc etc.
One thing I especially liked about the family friendliness was just that: families. It makes me so happy to see gay families celebrating, kids holding Pride flags and not having any concept of abnormal or sinful.
Seeing young people in their teens and twenties brought back memories of being loud and proud:
There was a grassroots activist group called Milk Not Jails: great costumes, festive music, and a passionate speaker who got up on stage to talk about forging a relationship between rural New York’s prison economy and agriculture (once I checked their website, their mission became clearer, but I’m still hazy on the ice cream parlour attire):
These ladies were quite eye catching:
What made the event even more fun was how the whole of Warren Street, Hudson’s main drag, participated in the festivities. There were signs, rainbow flags, and bits of flair everywhere. Here’s part of the window display in a thrift store:
Now that I had that small taste of Pride, I’m sort of hoping we can somehow get down to the city for the NYC Pride March. It’s just such an event, you know? We’ll see!
June is Pride Month! Besides New York, I’ve also been to Stockholm Pride, as well as smaller events in Erfurt, Germany, and back home on Long Island. Have you ever been to Pride where you live?
We have to dare to be ourselves, no matter how strange or frightening that self may prove to be. –May Sarton
Thank you for sharing that! I have great admiration for people who are brave and perceptive enough to know who they are and are able to act on what makes them happy. I’m so happy for you (and Andy!) 😀
Oh wow, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this comment, Kristina. I wasn’t sure if I was getting *too* personal, but ultimately it felt right, and now I know it was. Thank you!
I love seeing people stand up for equality!
Me too, Liz. I swell up inside with positive feelings and wish I was around that energy more often!
I just love how everyone here looks so happy! I love people who are so open and secure with who they are and they celebrate! More people in more locations need to stand up for equality! These pictures depict a happiness that is so rare and gorgeous!
I completely agree, Katherine! Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂
haha this looked like alot of fun. Love the rainbow nation scene with the dog in same attire. A very light hearted yet entertaining post. thank you
It was a lot of fun!
Ah, this is what I get for slacking on blog reading for a couple weeks! Thanks for alerting me to this post. Once again, so glad to find a kindred spirit who knows what it’s like to wrestle with identity!
You’re quite welcome, Raechel- it’s moments like this that make me so glad I’ve kept up the blog- connections! 🙂
[…] Gender difference aside (Happy Pride weekend, NYC!), there are a few things that made Andy stand out from anyone else I had been attracted to or dated. He had (and has) this visible passion and charisma that I noticed right away. I was drawn to his adventurous spirit, and when I got to know him better, the fact that we shared a lot of social, moral, and environmental values. Most importantly, I felt at ease with him right away– wherever he was, that’s what home felt like. Thankfully, seven years later, that feeling has persisted! […]