Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pride

This will be one in a series of catchup posts. I should have posted this two weeks ago, when it actually happened, but for one reason or another, I didn't.

The Houston Pride Parade occurred on the 27th of June, and despite my typical crowd anxiety (again with the anxiety?), I really wanted to go. I certainly wasn't going to brave an estimated 150,000 person crowd alone, so I asked L if she was available that day. She already had plans, and funnily enough, she said she's got crowd anxiety stuff too. I mentioned that it was occurring to C and E, and that I would really like to go see. C volunteered, and so off we went.

I debated for a few days on whether I wanted to present femme there. I thought that of any place, that would be a safe enough place. After all, these were some of "my people". But then all my anxiety basically overruled my reasoning; at the time, I had not been in girl-mode out "in the wild", and I was still very uninterested in even taking the risk of being the recipient of pointing and laughing. Me and my anxiety. I don't say, you say? Sure, sure.

So we went. We parked several blocks away, as I knew that both traffic and parking was going to be a complete nightmare. On the walk to the parade route, I kept fighting the urge to turn around. I really can't stand crowds; a crowd situation can, and often does, turn even the most mild-mannered person into a comple jerk. Shove, shove, push, and the inevitability of somebody taller standing in front of little old me. Sigh.

We got to the route about 20 minutes before the parade was to start, and worked our way slowly down the side of the street, looking for a good place to stand. We found a spot not too far down, behind a group of girls who had brought their lawn chairs. I could see! That was a bit of a choke point for all the people walking by, so there was plenty of movement there, but we were able to squeeze in behind the seated people without too much problem.

The parade started late. That's a given for something like this, though. I can't remember how late, but I think it was at least a half-hour. Maybe closer to an hour? However late it was, it gave me the opportunity to do some good people watching. And because we were right next to a constant stream of people moving by us, there was a lot of really interesting people-watching to do. People in every size, shape, color, and description. There were also several guys on the street, in the parade route, apparently trying to rile up the crowd.

One the parade started, some of the groups who were represented surprised me a little. There were probably a dozen different churches and religious groups. There was a couple of legal offices. All the candidates for the upcoming mayoral election were there; some even had floats. The diversity councils from several of the large oil companies had their entire contingents marching. The Houston Pride Band was there. HTGA and STAG were there. PFLAG was certainly there. Several LGBT-positive nightclubs had groups there. It was a cacophony of different groups, but it was a beautiful noise.

The crowd got more rowdy as the parade went on, which is fairly typical when there is a lot of drinking going on. Drunken gays and lesbians are just as boorish as drunken straight people. The gay guys who basically pushed in front of me and prevented me from seeing, were completely obnoxious and really drunk. There was another girl who insisted on having her hands on her hips, with her elbows way out wide, practically poking me in the still-tender boobs every time she moved. The supremely drunk lesbian to my left, who could barely stand up, and whose slurred speech could barely be understood, was just embarrassing. In the "we're just like everyone else" theme, drunken assholes are drunken assholes, no matter their race, creed, color, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Why do people insist on doing that to themselves, and ruining everyone else's fun?

After the parade was over, C and I started walking to find a place to get some food. I had been so worked up, I hadn't eaten dinner, and I think C ate a bit of a snack before we left, so we were both pretty hungry. We settled on a pizza place that sold by the slice, several blocks away from where we stood to watch the parade. There were several other parade-watchers there, so it was an interesting crowd. I was still too keyed up to eat much, but was able to take the raw edge off my hunger. C's stomach is a bottomless pit, so he just piled it in.

On the trek back to the car, we passed by a group in which C thought he recognized someone. We stopped to talk to them, and the person turned out to not be who he thought it was. Though one of the group of three was fairly drunk, she was still very respectful and pleasant, and wanted pictures of both of us. It was cute.

So all in all it was more positive than negative. I got home foolishly late, and I was very tired, but it was a good experience.

No comments: