Yesterday was one of the best days of my life! I can't even begin to describe the rush of my first gay pride parade (so this is going to be a short blog thingy). I've never been so glad to live near New York City! Even at my train station, this small suburban one out in the middle of nowhere, there were MASSES of gay people. I had no idea there were so many of us here, especially when you consider that this was just a sample of the multitudes that must actually live here and decided not to go to the parade. Seeing that, I knew it was going to be a wonderful experience. When we got there and left Penn Station, I was so surprised to see that it was just two blocks over, on Fifth Avenue! I mean, this was the big tourist place, the place we go at Christmas to see all of that stuff; a family place, really, not to mention an affluent area. And here was the parade! Queers of all nationalities and ages, relationship statuses and body types marching, prancing, and dancing their way from 52nd all the way to their haven in the Village. There were motorcyclists and families and cowboys and strippers, marching bands and firemen and dominators and submissives, high society drag queens and volleyball players and clubber boys and congregations, Peruvian groups and Lamba Legal representatives and Swish Priders and proud mothers, Stonewall Veterans and high school gsa groups and choirs and square dancers, and the parade kept coming. And coming. And coming. Actually, I didn't even see the end, but I stood there for at least three hours. By four o'clock, we were ready to make our way to the Marketplace in the Village. BUT, before we went, this float with these drag queens and other men done up like royalty went by, and their footman came out of the back with a white plastic-beaded necklace. He walked over to our side of the street and hands started darting out past me, the voices behind me saying, "Me! Me! Give it to Me!" And then, the strangest thing happened: He waved his hand away and said, "No no no," and he pointed at me and gestured for me to lean forward. He placed the necklace over my head like he was crowning me, then he smiled and said, "Happy Pride!" Everyone around me started cheering for me and all I could do was blush. It was so exciting! The guy next to me, Jo[h]n (I found out later), said to me, "You've been chosen! NO ONE ELSE around here got those beads, and out of all of them (elaborate hand gesture) he chose YOU! You're the chosen one!" I was giddy for the rest of the day, wearing my beads with Pride even though no one but those people around me knew the story behind them, and even though I wasn't anywhere near as beautiful as the majority of those gorgeous, gorgeous New York boys. But I was Proud. I belonged. For one perfect day, the entire city was gay or gay-friendly, and I felt so extremely thankful that I was a part of the happy, screaming, prancing, not-a-care-in-the-world, adversity-forgotten, sexually-free, rainbow-clad, diverse culture/lifestyle/classification/orientation/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-it that is being gay.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am Gay, and I am Proud of it!