Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pride and Birthdays, Among Other Things

Note to self: get Kourtney a motorcycle license....

O Summer, how I've missed you!  I didn't realize how much I missed the long days, the warmth, the smells... LOVE IT! But there are a few other things that make me look forward to summer, and one of those is Pride weekend.

What is it about the whole Gay Pride Weekend that is so fascinating and magical for me?  Is it the splash of rainbow on pretty much every corner, on every flag and sticker and neck tie?  Is it the fact that  people are free-- encouraged, even-- to wear flamboyant clothes (or nothing at all)?  Is it the mountains of glitter and confetti and neon fabric?  Or is it that fact that for one weekend you are surrounded by THOUSANDS of LGBT people, making you feel less of a strange minority and more like, I dunno, a human being worth being celebrated?  Okay, I think you might know which one is most important to me.  And that's how it really feels.  One weekend a year (ONE, out of a whole year!), I'm no longer in the straight world where everyone who doesn't know me assumes I'm straight (unless, you know, I'm making out with my girlfriend on a street corner, which I do like never);  for one weekend a year I don't have to worry about the whole "I'm gay" conversation every time some stranger asks if I have a boyfriend (you'd be surprised how many old ladies on the bus absolutely need to know everything about my private life, and then tell me all the things I'm doing wrong).  It doesn't matter if you're gay, straight, or anything in between, because everyone is there to celebrate you! It's an affirmation that being an LGBT person is more than just "okay" or tolerated, it's something to celebrate and be proud of!

Dunno when gays claimed the rainbow, but I appreciate the colors!

What I love about the parade in particular is all of the support that is out there for the LGBT community, so much that the parade is hours and hours long.  I mean, it starts at 10:30, and when I left at 3pm yesterday it was still going.  That's a LONG parade! And it wasn't a bunch of gays holding up signs that say "Hey! Look at how awesome we are! Yay!" There are all kinds of people marching down the street in support of Gay Pride-- Episcopalian priests, feminist strippers, the SF police department, elementary schools and cheerleaders, marching bands and dance companies; it was nice to see Mormons for Marriage Equality this year (shout out to my homies!).  There were countless kids with their parents; many were holding signs that said "I love my two mommies!" and others were running down the street with beside their floats, high-fiving the people in the crowds and yelling "HAPPY PRIDE!!!" to everyone.  And the little ones, still in strollers or baby carriers, dozed as their daddies held them or their mothers pushed them down the street, exhausted by the hours of walking and completely oblivious to the constant blast of music and the screams of the crowds.  And then there were the single guys and gals in fishnets and tule skirts and boy shorts with suspenders.  All walks of life walked down that parade route; I've seen a congregation of Catholics in support of gay marriage followed by men in leather-- if nothing else, Pride is about diversity and community!

San Francisco Cheer Squad!

Pride Weekend isn't for everyone, I get that.  Not everyone wants to walk down the street and see a guy wearing only a fanny pack, or a woman in hot pants and black tape covering her nipples.  Some people are squeamish about men in leather.  And yes, I know plenty of people who would be shocked to see men in fishnets and stilettos. But hey, maybe we all celebrate our Pride in different ways, and that's okay.  It's one weekend a year.  If we can't be ourselves then, when can we?

I can see how this might be awkward for you...
In other news, I turn 22 on Friday.  Am I looking forward to it?  I'm not sure.  22 is that much closer to 30, and I know that I still have 8 years left, but there's just so much I need to get done in that time!  I have high expectations of myself, dreams that I've had since I was little, and suddenly the time has come for me to put in the real work.  Suddenly I'm wondering, will I get my Ph.D?  Will I be able to be an academic AND get married AND have kids?  Can I do sociological research AND be a childbirth advocate/doula AND be the hippie-feminist-offbeat mama and wife that I so desperately want to be?Are my dreams folly?

This is what I think about on the cusp of 22.

Birthday Cake Fail.
I have no big plans for the big 2-2.... unlike last year, it's unlikely that I will be taking a shot from between the breast of an asian transsexual (good times...).  However, I think I'm okay with not doing anything big.  I'm always torn, because I know the average twenty-something would go out clubbing and drinking and partying, but I just don't see the point. I don't want to spend 8 bucks per drink when I can spend 0 bucks on drinks at home. :P  I'm not a big drinker in general, and I don't see my birthday as a reason to get hammered.  I don't know if I want to celebrate my life by destroying my liver, thanks.  But I do enjoy a little cake, and luckily I have a mother who is generous enough to make me my favorite flavor-- LEMON.  At last, something to look forward to, worry free!

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