Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

This weekend marked the thirty-third annual Gay Pride Festival and Parade here in San Diego. Both the parade participants and casual revelers, as well as innocent bystanders, joined in the festivities to remind the world that gays deserve the same rights as others and that people should be left free to live their unique lifestyle, void of judgement or hate. Gay pride is also a symbol of solidarity and an opportunity for people to express the vivid (and fun-loving!) personalities which reflect the diverse gay communities throughout the world.

Along with that celebration of gay diversity and freedom comes a sense of love and solidarity among all walks of people, gay, asexual, bisexual, straight, other. . . the collective feelings filling the streets of the Hillcrest neighborhood this weekend were of happiness and pride and dancing and love. Their was an outpouring of community support in the way of floats, ranging from local plumbing companies (yes, I see the irony there) to a car driven by three ordained members of a local Catholic church. They are perhaps the only three openly supportive members of the entire religion, but at least it's a start. I was surprised and happy to see a lot of religious organizations out to lend their support, including one float on which a couple got married right in the middle of the parade!

I had an incredible time joining in the fray. There were costumes and dancers and performers in the street, and happy, sunburnt and slightly drunk people crowding the sidewalks and restaurant patios. The crowd was a diverse as San Diego gets, with many many families in attendance and for sure everyone who had a dog brought him along. There were quite a few dogs dressed up in Pride gear, outfitted with rainbow scarves and leashes and hats; rainbows adorned human heads and clothing and faces as far as the eye could see. It seemed that day as though everyone was just a little bit gay, and damn proud of it. At least in the sense that we were all there in support of the general concept of acceptance and love and allowing people the freedom to live the way they wants

Unfortunately, it was apparent that not everyone felt the same way I did about the festive gathering, as evidenced by these hateful (and not very intelligent or attractive) people:
(By my count, I match about five of the items on his list, so I should probably find myself a handbasket for the trip).

I really have no clue whatsoever how this could possibly be rationalized, but I couldn't get back there to ask the man to explain his sign or to have a conversation or exchange of ideas, because all the hate-mongers were well-protected behind the yellow police line and about five mounted officers. There was no conversation going on; it was a one-siding outpouring of fear rhetoric and thoughtless scripture quoting. The phrase popped into my mind: "Hell hath no fury like a latent homosexual." I got a kick out of how seriously these people seemed to take themselves, but was and still am also frightened by what such vile ignorance means, as well. It's saddening that in the face of so much joy and love and solidarity there are those among us who feel compelled to bastardize and interpret beautiful stories and lessons of acceptance to supposedly justify their fear and hate. I love the irony that they all got to sniff California-sun-warmed horse shit wafting towards them all day long. An apt metaphor for their actions and hateful words. Fortunately those around didn't pay them much attention and those who did just shouted love into their faces. Five bitter and fearful men against an entire city of joyful revelers. Can't bring this party down, no no.


Heather said...

Thank the universe that we are not like the haters. I cannot imagine living that way.

Heather said...

And? Hell awaits me. Because these describe me.

General Heathen

Not a SPECIFIC heathen, mind you. A general one.