Today was the second day of the Utah Pride Festival. Hopefully everyone had a Happy Pride! Word on the street is that it is one of the largest in the entire country. I believe it. I went for my first time 4 years ago with a couple of new lesbian friends. I love festivals, so that is what it was to me – at the time.
Fast forward to today; I have an incredible group of gay and lesbian friends. I feel proud when I go to the parade and the festival now. I believe it is good to have a cause to feel strongly about and to support it. It is perfect people watching too. As I walked around the festival grounds today, I couldn’t help but wonder why people were there? The obvious answer is because they are in the LGBT community or family of LGBT, but look a little closer and you will see that may not be the case for everyone. I couldn’t help but wonder if people were there just because it was a festival and there was beer? What about the part of the LGBT community that stayed home because of no interest? Why did those people chose to come out an celebrate vs. those that didn’t? Why was I there? Besides to support my friends… Two words: Drag Queens!
I remember the first time I went, I had heard it was just nakedness and debauchery in little old downtown Salt Lake City! It wasn’t but it was pretty shocking seeing people walking around in their skivvies. I never felt awkward about it, but I could only imagine someone that didn’t have an open mind and what they would think at the sights?Maybe there was a little bit of jealousy because I would love to feel comfortable enough to walk around like they were? This year seemed pretty mellow in the nakedness but don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of cleavage and butt cheeks hanging out!
Now, my next observation: in 4 years I have not been hit on by a lesbian. Not that I wanted to, but let me tell you this-the gay boys love my boobs! I really love how brazen the community is. I am sure that alcohol adds to the openness, yet again maybe it doesn’t? Maybe it is just how the people I came across are? I also love being around the gay community because so many people HUG! Even when they don’t know you, you get the best hugs and most people are willing to introduce themselves without skipping a beat and leaving a moment for awkwardness. I probably won’t ever see any of those people again but it was nice. The sentimental part of all of it… I have plenty of friends that can’t get married or have benefits because of laws against gay marriage. I have friends who have been shunned by their families, but I also have plenty of friends who have families that are SO supportive. When the families in the parade walk by it makes me get choked up a little bit. They are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and it is so neat to see them stepping out of a comfort zone and shouting to downtown Salt Lake, “this is my kid or my sibling and I am so proud!” I think we all yearn for that though, being any person not just gay!
I challenge anyone that is feeling trepidation about their local Pride festival just to go and watch. Think about what you see, take it all in, and see that it is such an amazing community! You don’t have to agree with homosexuality, and if you don’t want to pay to go in, at least head to the parade and see how many local supporters (people and businesses) there are. Forget anyone’s agenda; gay or otherwise.. and just have fun. Perhaps you can be just that person at a fun festival that just wants a beer!
As my favorite shirt that I saw this weekend said: Straight, but I got your back!