June is Pride month, which means that cities across the nation will be swarmed with shirtless men, loud, cheerful music, and corporate sponsorships. But, just to be contrary, San Diego doesn’t celebrate until July. Our Pride is always a week away from Comic-Con. Which means that you can sometimes see certain people, such as myself, in both places.
- 1. Tell me about your first Pride.
- It was a long, long time ago. I was still in college, and the festival had to be held on campus. I think it was the only open space on the main street that was large enough. It was a really nice venue, though, with green lawns and towering oaks for shade. I remember that I essentially snuck in, because I walked up from the back side of the campus rather than through the gates, and so missed the table charging admission. There were the usual booths for tolerant churches, for support groups, and for souvenirs. There was a commitment ceremony on the stage and part of the AIDS quilt in an auditorium. It was more like a picnic or crafts fair than the modern booze-and-lube-sponsored partygasm.
- 2. What did that first Pride mean to you?
- Mainly that the world wasn’t completely filled with homophobes. That there were some people who I could be accepted by. And maybe among those people, there might even be someone for me. And one day, years later, I found him.
- 3. How many different Prides have you been to?
- I’ve only been to Pride in about four cities. San Francisco, once, but mostly San Diego.
- 4. Do you fly the Pride Flag and/or stick it to anything?
- I have occasionally returned home with a few stuck to myself.
- 5. Do you still celebrate Pride? What does it mean to you now?
- I try to go every year. It’s really more of a pilgrimage to see my people. That moment, when all the thousands of spectators leave the sidewalk to follow the last of the parade down the street to the festival is really quite breathtaking.
- 6. Does Pride need improving? If so, what changes would you make?
- Maybe. It means something different to everyone. There are those who expect a booze-fueled partygasm complete with go-go boys in speedos. Maybe that’s not entirely for me, but who am I to cancel that for everyone? But there are also those who feel that mainstream acceptance is the most important thing, and that the party elements— like the go-go boys, the men in assless chaps, and the drag queens— are somehow hampering acceptance, and should be toned way down. But I doubt many people would flock to attend such a solemn and serious gathering, either. In the end, we should just remember the symbol of the rainbow. We are not all one homogeneous group, and we shouldn’t try to make ourselves one.
- 7. How do you give back?
- I’m not quite sure exactly what that means, but I’m pretty sure that I’m pretty bad about community support.
What kind of trouble or embarrassing moment have you had during Pride?
- It has strongly been suggested that I should be ashamed of my dancing, or rather, the spastic mockery that I have no right to call dancing.