Next month is June, which means that Pride and all the celebratory festivities that come with it, are coming fast. This year, the Seattle Pride parade and festivities have been moved from the Capitol Hill neighborhood (the center of Seattle’s gay community) to downtown and ultimately, Seattle Center. This means a lot more visibility for the parade (and the issues accompanying the parade), and I suspect more protestors given that the festivities will be on less traditionally friendly teritory.
It’s great to think that this will enhance visibility. Seattle is a pretty small town, after all. It’s not the size of Chicago, where I went to many a parade. As liberal as the Left Coast might be, the small-townishness is pretty evident, and the liberal vs. not is a bit more apparent. Maybe this is because in Chicago, the parade (and the neighborhood the parade is in) is focused on the young, beautiful gay boys and their loud stereotypical music hanging out at their lush and loud stereotypical bars/clubs. I’m not saying this isn’t great, but it smacks of a bit of out-and-proud counter-cultureness that taunts the urbane sensibilities of both the cosmopolitan and blue collar Democratic Chicagoan. The colors and attitude of Chicago Pride scream every color of the rainbow in revelrie in honor of the single, available, virile, hunky 20-something gay man. This is not to say that other aspects of the LGBTQ community aren’t there, but the vibe very much focuses on the former.
Last year I wandered out of my house with a couple of friends to take part in Seattle’s festivities. The whole thing was much less a revelrie in the young, virile gay man, but more a revelrie in the kinky (straight and queer), and just plain queer people next door. People with families, steady jobs and a mind towards social change and political movements. The vibe was much less, “we came to party” and more, “we came to make a statement, celebrate, and be home to cook dinner and spend time with the ones we love.”
I wonder if the Seattle style might be more offensive to the more anti-gay people of our country. I can only suspect that it’s easier for some anti-gay people to pish-posh the gay boys of Chicago. Afterall, it’s a world that is so Id defined that it doesn’t command an introspection or empathic response, for perhaps these haters have no concept of celebrating there own sexual expression. I would think that LGBTQ people living and celebrating their lives in a way that was so similar to the stereotypical heterosexual standard might be more problematic. Marriage seeking? Church going? Child raising? Oh god, gay people are people too?!
I’m concerned about how this years Pride festivities will go. The move to Seattle Center for Pride upset many businesses, community groups and individuals who want to keep Pride in the neighborhood. This has spawned another parade and festival on Capitol Hill.
I’m thinking perhaps I’ll stay in the neighborhood this year, if only because I don’t want to be reminded of how far LGBTQ people have yet to go to be equally accepted by the wider world.