It's time again for that Technicolor wonderment San Francisco's Gay Pride. You know the event that's like if you took Mardi Gras, a frat party, a rave, a cosplay convention, a street faire, and a parade put into a blender and wrapped in a gaudy glittery rainbow-colored she'll (and being Pride, served at $10.50 a pop.) I continue to be astounded by this event, even after being packed like a sardine on a BART train that took my almost an hour just to get on. (BART must stand Bad at Regulating Traffic. They have like a trillion customers for the day but the utilize only a weekend schedule? Come on now!) But Gay Pride is a such a blast it's usually worth dealing with the huge crowds, loud and sometimes obnoxious kids, and overpriced rainbow draped knickknacks and costumes so outlandish that even Lady Gaga. Plus, to pander to the growing illiteracy of the internet, for this post I've finally saved up 1,000 words and traded them for pictures! Yes, nothing shows off the wonder of Pride like awkward, poorly-cropped, unfocused photos (sorry, Annie Leibowitz I'm not.)
And this is why I still get a sense of awe and...well...pride at Pride. Even though I've been to these before, it's amazing how massive the gathering is. I think there were more people at this year's event then ever before. Despite my earlier complaint about crowds, there is a unspoken bond of temporary camaraderie amidst large groups of people who are like you (or at least openly willing to accept people like you). When you are part of a group that's encouraged, nay, persuaded to remain "invisible" and "unacknowledged," having such a blatant visible presence gives a sense of unity (and safety). There is power in numbers. I also continue to be amazed at the different types of people that were at Pride. When I was growing up their was a perception of the gay community consisting primarily of buff upwardly-mobile white men, which made someone like me feel even more awkward and alienated from people. To see a wide range of enthicities, body types, ages, religious orientations and interests, marching, partying with each other, promoting their various causes shows that the LGBT community us far more vast than the stereotypes suggest. We are in fact everywhere, even if it doesn't always seem that way. However we do have events like Pride to remind us of that fact, which is why I'll always have an appreciation for the event.
I know that (piggybacking on the gay marriage issue I posted about earlier) there is criticism of Pride events as pointless large scale parties that gives a false sense of status about our lot muffles a lot of the issues that still need protest and activism to fight against. And to be fair, there is some truth in that accusation. Then again there were activist groups that wee represented at Pride too. BlackLivesMatter was there and groups calling for the release of Chelsea Manning. Also, so what? Sometimes socializing CAN be an act of protest in and of itself, particularly when a segment of society demands you remain marginalized at best and unseen as worse (something that becomes particularly apparent when we look at Gay Pride events around the world such as Turkey) That's one of the principals behind he rainbow flag. Something that bright and vivid is going to be noticeable and stands out (Especially when it's in the form of skimpy hot pants). Who says we shouldn't have the chance to defy society's expectations and be bright and vivid too? (I won't be in multicolored Lycra though, I promise!)
Update: One group that unfortunately was not represented at San Francisco was ISIS's sex toy division like CNN reported it was in London. Now to be fair to CNN, if you've seen the size of some of those things, you can understand how they might confuse them for Weapons of Mass Destruction. Still I hope San Francisco rectifies this situation next year and invites "terrorists" so that Gaystopo can finish terrorizing Real American with our oh-so penetrating weapons.
Update 2 Electric Boogaloo: Updated to remove a link to a Taiwanese event that I am now convinced was NOT a gay pride event but the misinterpretation of some conspiracy-theory nutcase. Usually I would be wise enough to see through stuff like that and I apologize for naively helping to sow confusion about a tragic event.