I had the singular pleasure of attending the Queens Pride a few weeks ago. Not being a fan of outdoor events (I have never been to a concert) I wasn’t thrilled initially but curiosity won hands down over initial reluctance. Do I regret going? NO WAY. Going to a new country and experiencing their way of life is one thing, but going to experience and see a whole new side to being gay is an opportunity not to be missed!
Sadly I missed the actual parade since I was too busy seeing other sights and sounds of the city. The event took place in Jackson Heights and there was a lot to see and do, lots of guys and girls many who had been hibernating in the city’s numerous gyms waiting for the summer sun to shine on their well-oiled (and barely-clothed) specimens of musculature. There were drag performances (first time seeing a drag queen live), as well as musical and dance performances, lots of stands selling everything from tattoos and sex toys to hair dryers and baby clothes- including obscenely
hung huge sausages. I managed to pick up a couple of army-themed clothing (I’m in the midst of a strong uniform fetish) as well as get a few numbers in the process.
And the people again! There were a lot of really good looking men and women. One of my friends saw me checking out a group of very pretty girls in bikinis and told me that they were ALL transgender. I never would have guessed! It was great to see that everyone had the freedom to be who they were and who they chose to be and the freedom to celebrate it. At one point I saw some policemen around started to freeze up until I was informed that they were there to keep the peace and ensure no homophobes ruined the party. There was a lot of public displays of affection: personally I’m not too crazy about couples of any kind groping each other and playing tonsil hockey in public but it was nice to see gay couples doing it for a change. It was also nice to see gay couples with their kids. I must admit that having children is something I really want and currently it seems like something that won’t happen soon here (after all how can I have kids when I’m not even allowed to have a partner).
One of the city’s council members took to the stage to say a few words and commented that the first pride festival in the city had very few attendees because of the fear of being bashed which was more common-place then and he felt very pleased that so many people could come out to be a part of the celebration without feeling like they should watch their backs. The very first festival was held in 1993 after a young man was killed by a bunch of hoodlums who found him as they were looking for a gay man to “stretch out”. It’s ironic how such events tend to have such sad beginnings. After a few more performances, Martha Walsh brought it to a close with “It’s Raining Men!” reminding us that she is still “our Weathergirl!”
Pride is a celebration of freedom, and to be a part of such an event is to celebrate the freedom to be who we are. It is awe-inspiring to be a part of this, to see how freely people in other parts of the world can be, where all views, opinions are accepted, where you can choose to live how you see fit without fear of being arrested, publicly ridiculed, fired or otherwise harmed. It doesn’t mean these things do not happen, it’s just that you know that the justice system is at least willing to look into such issues and laws exist to protect you.
We ended the evening by heading to the clubs most of which had been in full swing all day. There were scattered
golden rain showers which ended with not one but TWO rainbows. I guess one wasn’t fabulous enough.