This past Saturday, the Better Half and I traveled into Boston for an errand that required a trip to the city. As we wended our way toward our destination, I looked at the passing crowds and noted their colorful attire and festive raiment.
“What’s with the people in rainbow wigs?” I mused to the Better Half. And then it dawned on us.
It was Boston Pride and we’d had no idea.
This led to no small amount of wry amusement on our parts about how we have completed our metamorphosis into a thoroughly domesticated couple. We’ve marched in the Pride parades in New York twice and Boston once, and while it’s never been something we’ve circled on our calendars it’s been an event we’ve tried to attend when we could. This year? Totally oblivious. (I spent the morning of the parade last year folding laundry in our kitchen, but I was at least aware that it was happening.)
Anyhow, we went about our business. After it was done, we had a little bit of time to take the kids around Boston and see what bits of the celebration were still going on. Let me tell you, there is nothing that will win you beatific smiles from total strangers more than being Gay Couple with Kids during Pride. (Even more than when we’re shopping in Whole Foods!) It was actually very nice, and reminded us of why we like showing up for the parade in the first place.
*insert sound of needle being dragged across an old vinyl record*
How to put this delicately? Um… so the last time I went to the Boston parade, I noted a contingent of participants there from a certain fetish community. It is a community about which I know very little, other than their activities involve a very specific kind of role-play, the appeal of which eludes me utterly. Cunning, savvy readers will know to whom I refer from a subtle clue I have left elsewhere in this post.
Now, even though I do not grok why on earth anyone would get their jollies by behaving like members of this particular group, I have no problem with their doing what they do. I am generally OK with consenting adults doing what they want together without everyone else feeling the need to cluck disapprovingly about it. The same applies to these people.
It’s time the LGBT community got a grip and figured out what it wants its message to be. Because the atrophied, vestigial social conservative part of my soul squealed in horror as my son caught sight of the… conspicuously oddly-garbed people and immediately inquired as to why they were thus displayed. Thankfully, there were many, many balloons around, and he was easily distracted by some as we beat a hasty retreat. I’m sorry, but one cannot simultaneously proclaim “We’re totally normal, relatable people!” and “Let your freak flag fly!” One cannot. Something can’t be simultaneously family-friendly and outrageously exhibitionist.
I’m sorry, it just can’t.
Now, since gender and sexuality are defining aspects to the LGBT’s community’s very identity, it would be naive and unreasonable to expect these elements not to be on flamboyant display. But while who one loves is foundational to our movement, how we go about doing so seems an unnecessarily explicit spin on “pride.” Particularly when people who inhabit the fringier fringes of the fetish community show up dressed like they’re gonna get busy any minute.
I glory that the LGBT community contains multitudes, and I am loath to start excluding people. Hell, Pride is technically a whole week (with different cities hosting their celebrations throughout the month). There is time enough for the fetish community to host and publicize events for people who want to attend such things! I have zero problem with that.
But the parade? No. Strollers and extreme fetish-wear don’t belong at the same event, and if the community wants to point people toward the former they’re going to have to realize that the latter belongs somewhere else.