About a year ago, during last year's D.C. Pride season, I wrote a post questioning the meaning of Gay Pride in this community.
My thoughts on the matter remain largely unchanged.
Don't get me wrong, I still did the whole out and about thing. The parade was interesting, but not as "affirming" as I somehow remembered it to be. There were a surprising number of politicians in the parade. It started, there was a gay group or two, then -- I am not making this up -- a slew of something like 200 local politicians. Mayoral candidates, city council candidates, Eleanor Holmes Norton. As far as I know, two of these people were gay. It was unclear just how friendly any of these people were to gay causes. Even though it was kinda boring, I thought it was a little neat that these politicians know that gay people are such a huge and influential voting bloc that we cannot be ignored.
(Speaking of, was Carol Schwartz totally absent this year?)
The usual cast of characters was present as always. I shed a small tear of happiness when PFLAG came around, and SMYAL too. I and some friends basically begged for cheap stupid trinkets like beads and candies (even got beaned in the head a few times) and some discount coupons for crap I'll probably never need. The Results float, as usual, didn't impress me. An ideal representation of gay pride? Not particularly.
After the parade I met up with some other people and hit a bar. Thankfully, we picked a not-too-popular one, so we could talk, have a few drinks, and relax. I accidentally flirted with Mr. Mid-Atlantic 2006, who was smokin' hot and very nice to boot, which made him that much sexier. Bodies I can take or leave. Nice personalities attached to those bodies? I swoon.
Today I dragged myself out to the festival for a little bit. I sound bitter and old when I say this, but it was kind of the same tired crew of tents as always. Overpriced foodstuffs in the midst of tent after tent of the same groups I've seen there year in and year out. By now if I haven't joined these affinity groups, I'm probably just not going to. I suppose a part of me only went to the festival because, in the event that someone was actually counting, I wanted to be one of the people "counted" as taking part in the celebration. But in the end I really only stopped at one booth, registered for a drawing for a trip to Barcelona (wish me luck!), stood around with my friends, then bailed to hit a bar.
My friends and I just generally made absolute fools of ourselves for a few hours, during which time I only consumed three beverages (I was feeling cheap). Even flirted with a random guy upstairs. He has my card. I'm not holding my breath. Even if he does contact me, I'm still the Mayor.
And that was my pride weekend. It's odd that I still feel like it was strangely anticlimactic. What more did I expect of it, given my negative-skewing view of the entire affair? I don't know, but a part of me acknowledges that by now it's a tradition that I'm strangely duty-bound to respect: each year I, with the city's cadre of fellow queers and queer-friendlies, proudly and happily take to the streets. And each year I'll probably complain just a little bit more about it.
Uh... Happy Pride. :)