Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Proud Mary

Yes, my friends, I am going to join the chorus of voices singing the sad truth that the Gay Pride weekend in our Nation’s capital lacked…pride. This is my second year in a row celebrating homosexuality in a city with a giant penis-shaped sculpture in the center (take that, Castro), and I have to say, I have been disappointed twice. Yet, I don’t think the blame for my disappointment lies with the organizers of the parade, which I did enjoy. Nor do I believe that the festival, almost twice as large as last year and only a block from the Capitol, contributed to my flat affect. I believe the reason I’m not impressed with Gay Pride in DC is because being gay in DC is really not all that special.

I am still convinced, no matter what “statistics” and “science” say, that half of all males in Washington DC are homos (ladies, you have to figure out your own numbers). Where else can you have a high powered job requiring Blackberry useage, sleep with Congressional staffer, still easily justify driving your BMW, and have any hope of buying a POS house and flipping it for a $200K profit? DC naturally attracts homosexual men. I am living proof. It’s that natural attraction that I think lessens the effect of Gay Pride for those of us that live here. Honestly, seeing a truck full of leather bears screaming down 17th street is what I call low-key for a Saturday night.

The best Gay Pride festival I ever found myself experiencing was in Columbus, Ohio. How is this possible, you ask, when I constantly bemoan my former home state? It took a bit of soul searching to figure this out, so I’ll take you through the process. Both have lesbians on motorcycles. Both have “E” list celebrities that may be considered gay icons. Both have crazy protesters threatening doom and destruction. I’ve had shameful drunken make-out sessions with boys at both events and found myself peeling stickers from various “prideful” organizations off the ass of my jeans in both locations. The big difference, for me, is that being gay in Ohio, or really anywhere in the Midwest, is still different, and the word “pride” becomes much more important in a town where you may not automatically feel that being gay is something to be proud of. Joining in at the end of the parade behind the PFLAG group has added significance when marching down the street arm in arm with your friends makes you feel a little more like yourself than when you got up that morning. In DC, Pride is basically a reason to drink a little more, stay out a little later, and put off those things you were supposed to get done over the weekend.

Now don’t go thinking that I’m totally down on DC’s Pride. I love the fact that every candidate for Mayor in the upcoming election and half of the DC city council marched down the street with drag queens and gave my friend Jim a hug. I love seeing the terrified looks on the faces of tourists as the emerge from the Metro tunnel in Dupont Circle thinking that Lambda Rising is a Greek restaurant and knowing that we’re the majority here. I guess I just hope that we (homos) all appreciate the fact that we don’t need a Pride weekend in this city to be able to be ourselves and live our lives openly, and that while we did have ten seasons of Will & Grace, it’s not always that where everywhere in the country. So if it’s true, that saying our President likes to recite… “Fool me once………shame on…shame on me. Fool me twice….fool me…you can’t get fooled again.” Well, as of next year, when I am sitting on 17th street at 6:30pm watching as the parade begins anew, I’ll be proving W wrong. I totally CAN be fooled again.