This was our third year participating. In the past, we marched with the Episcopal Diocese of New York and The Love-Yourself Project. This year, we marched with the Family Equality Council, along side the LGBT Center. This is the same group that hosts Family Week in Provincetown, which we are attending in late July on Cape Cod.
The day was bright and beautiful and the crowd was warm and embracing. Our girls were shining stars (mostly). At first, the glittery attention was alluring but that waned quickly. Well before the mid-way mark, they had ditched their wagon ride in preference of our shoulders and backs. At some point, they became downright bored! Even still, for much of the route, I had the privilege of carrying two 35 pound toddlers on my body. The crowd loved it but my achy Monday-morning back is PISSED off at my Hercules complex. I'm sure it was the adrenaline that made me barely notice the effort involved to carry them.
Anyway, with the entirety of the spectacle along the parade route - dancing drag queens, loud and pounding music, glitter flying from all corners, buff men in thongs, topless women, balloons, banners, and giant rainbow flags, etc... - can you guess what was the most exciting part for our little girls?
Once they saw an ice cream truck parked on a side street that we were rapidly passing, the balloon of sensory overload had been popped. As a matter of fact, Aria, who was on my shoulders at the time, began screaming at the top of her lungs, 'ICE - CREAM - TRUCK!!!!'
We may have to establish a new parade in honor of ice cream pride! Lest you be concerned, they did receive their creamy reward once we made it to the end. But first, Aria spent 20 or 30 minutes on my back in a back-pack carrier SOUND ASLEEP! I sometimes find it hard to sleep in total dark and total silence. I admire the kind of resolve that can catch zzzzz's among the chaos of gay pride!?!?!
She only woke up only because we passed an enthusiastic bystander in a 2nd floor apartment who was squirting a water gun into the crowd. Aria was really angry when she caught an eyeful of H2O, interrupting her dreams of ice cream trucks.
It was a very special day and a tradition I hope we will continue.
Someone asked me why we still march. Presumably this was asked because there has been a historic shift in the pendulum of justice knocking down many equality barriers that were sturdy pillars of opposition just a few years ago.
Of course, that is true. And in fact, this year marked the highest number of corporate sponsors walking in the parade along side every politician who is not opposed to human rights. But the stark reality is that there is still a very long way to go - both in law and in practice before our community is accepted without prejudice everywhere.
However, for us, it is a simpler answer that I thought about yesterday as we were walking.
We march because we are proud....we are proud because we are a family!!!