This was my first Pride weekend with ‘a partner’ let alone, Michael. This year definitely stands out as one to remember, even though last year’s festivities were right up there. A lot has happened between last pride and this pride. Friendships have been severed. Harsh words have been spoken. New alliances have formed. I also own up to filling a void left by a close friend who went on to find love and happiness which then freed me up to find my own.
The weather played havoc with attendance to the parade. In the six or so years that I have been going to the parade, I cannot remember being able to walk though the crowd with so little friction as I did today with Michael. I placed a few calls to friends and I was not surprised to hear that many were indifferent about what to do given the midday showers that hit Toronto. By the time the sun appeared, so did the crowds. People were spreading into beer gardens like water through a garden hose. In terms of Fashion, there was quite a spread. Full on nudity, boas, and men in chaps so tight that I could see their religion. Typical stuff. I am guessing that the porportion of straight participants (those who are in the gardens, watching the parade and taking in the shows) is rising. While this is all well and good for the city, I hope that the core focus of the event does not change.
I want to make a contribution to a future Pride event – whether as a volunteer, or representing one of the special groups who also take part in the celebration. I can’t help but reflect on my first pride that almost never happened (thanks Jared) and the second pride that did not happen due to injury (2004; broken jaw). Between the injury and the next pride in 2005 were dark times – fear, insecurity, tension with coming out and to what degree (work only? family? friends?). Years later, all of that is a non-issue-at least for me. It is what it is. I can’t change who I am. I just have to hope that it gets closer to being a non issue for everyone else.