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