Last weekend was Gay Pride in San Francisco. Now, I know that they have Gay Pride celebrations in other cities, but Pride was born here in my neck of the woods — and yet, I’ve never been there to celebrate. So this year, I lost my Gay Pride virginity. Matt, Siena and I showed up for the Gay Pride festival at the Civic Center, the Dyke March at Dolores Park, and the Gay Pride parade down Market Street.
I probably grew up like many of you when it comes to all things homosexual. I was raised to think that homosexuality was a sin and that gays could be reformed, if only they accepted Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior. So when one of my dear friends in college informed me that she couldn’t hang out with me any more because she was secretly in the closet and madly in love with me, it totally freaked me out.
But I’ve evolved since then. Half of my best friends are gay, and many of my patients are lesbians and post sex-change transsexuals. These people are some of the Pinkest people I know. They OWN who they are, even when it means being judged by their families, their employers, their friends, and society at large. I think it takes so much courage to live out loud (and really let your freak flag fly!).
Way out of the closet
We were staying at a friend’s house in the Castro, where the rainbow flags fly high from most of the neighbors’ houses and the party was rocking right down the street, and where the hot, buff security guards wore thigh-high striped tights and pink tutus. Lady Gaga blared from loudspeakers and people came way out of the closet. T-shirts read “Can’t Think Straight” and “I Can See Queerly Now” and (this one made me smile) “I LOVE PINK.”
One stage sported topless middle-aged women demonstrating self breast exams and breast cancer awareness. Another showed men in thongs dancing like nobody was watching. The Gay Pride parade, led by The Color Purple author Alice Walker as Grand Marshall, featured gay cheerleaders kicking, flipping, and pom-poming, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom shaking hands and high-fiving, and a float full of trannies bedazzled in their finest.
As you can imagine, repealing Proposition 8, which outlaws gay marriage in California, got a lot of attention. Those who managed to get married before Prop 8 (or went elsewhere for a ceremony) walked hand in hand, holding signs showing how long they had been married. One gay couple boasted a 44 year marriage, and the crowd went wild when they walked by.
We belong together
The highlight of the Gay Pride weekend for me was when a flash mob broke out on the steps of the civic center, dancing away to “We Belong Together” from Grease. (Our very own new Editor-in-Pink Lauren Nagel was among the dancers and the video went viral after being posted on Huffington Post!)
My four year old Siena high-fived women in pink boas and men in pink tutus, while shaking her booty to Barbara Streisand tunes. She asked me what gay means, and I told her that it means boys love boys and girls love girls. Her response: “Well, I love Kate (her best friend).” I just nodded. Yes, the way I see it, love is good — no matter how you slice it.
A Society based on love, acceptance, and equality
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for the homosexuals of the world who live a life in the closet, but those at the Gay Pride festivities were definitely out – and proud of it. And I say, more power to ‘em! I think gay rights are the last hold-out of the civil rights movement, and I can’t wait to see the day when gays are granted the same rights as everyone else. Why should they be any different? I trust that the day will come when our country’s desire for a society based on love, acceptance, and equality will outweigh our tendencies towards hatred, judgment, and fear. Gay marriage will be legal everywhere, and gays won’t have to hide in the closet to be accepted in their homes, their workplaces, the military, or anywhere else.
Until that day comes, I’m here, in support of our brother and sisters who just happen to love those of the same sex.
What do you think? Are you in support of gay rights? Would you go to a Gay Pride parade? Do you raise your children to accept those who are different? Can you view the gay people in your life as equal, lovable, authentic people deserving of all the same love and civil rights as everyone else? Can you use your magical eyes to see beyond the masks we may wear, into the hearts of those who may be different than you are? Are you gay? Are you able to OWN it? Do tell…