It’s Pride week in my city and my partner, Liz, and I have hit on the perfect way to celebrate. We’re going to spend the whole of parade day staining our back deck.
I remember my first Pride. I was alone, barely “out” and entirely terrified. I’d heard the thing to do was to appear naked, so I wore shorts that almost didn’t cover my knees.
For me, naked is a relative term.
My first fifteen minutes on Church Street I was blasted with a high-power water gun, bumped into by two men chained together at the nipples and hit on by a woman with a pink Mohawk wearing nothing but Daisy Duke shorts and a smile. I loved it all.
My favourite Pride moment occurred years later.
A gaggle of elderly lady tourists stopped my friends and me, asking in halting English, “What is happening here?”
We said it was Gay Pride.
They consulted their translation book and announced, “We gay too!”
Later we passed them again, decked in sparkly boas, sporting temporary rainbow tattoos and slightly tipsy.
“I don’t think they know what gay is,” a friend said.
I suspect they did.
Over the years, Pride has changed.
You now see things you’d never expect.
Like, straight people.
The ratio of straight to gay spectators has become so high they’ll soon have to stock the street with gays just to keep up the image of the event.
Most gay people choose to spend the parade period engaging in other crucial social planning issues; staking out the best seats in the beer garden for when the event’s over.
This year, my glorious transwoman daughter, Jade, is getting ready to attend Pride for the first time.
I have to admit, I never imagined myself saying to my child, “You’re not going anywhere in just a leather mini skirt and black bra, missy. For God’s sake, put on some sunscreen.”
And, Liz and I?
Our way of honouring what Gay Pride has achieved is to behave in a way that would have been unthinkable in previous decades … just like any other middle age, married couple.
If gay men and women before us fought for anything, it was for being gay simply not to matter.
So, come parade day, my wife and I will raise a cold beer in gratitude to those who made our wonderful, normal life and love possible.
Hopefully on a newly stained deck.