The Boston Gay Pride Parade

It happens almost every year, whether it’s a Pride Parade in Albany, Boston, or Rochester: I get a little teary-eyed. If there weren’t a ton of people around me, I’d probably let out a torrent. Instead, I keep it mostly inside, and on a rainy year like this no one notices a few extra drops on my face.

I can’t fully explain it. Part of it is the simple act of marching ~ the collective energy and efforts of a group of people who have, at some point in our lives, been marginalized and hated ~ if not specifically or individually then as a whole ~ all together and in unison.

Part of it is the various groups ~ the Youth Group, the Gay Fathers, the Dykes on Bikes ~ each one of them is moving in their own right, each one has a tale to tell, of hurt and hope, of triumph and tragedy, of life and death.

And part of it is simply the sea of smiling faces ~ friends, families, and complete strangers, all coming together in celebration and commemoration. For all these reasons, I always feel overcome at various parts of the parade, and it never fails to elicit a few heartfelt tears from an otherwise-stone heart. Such was the case as I stood under a concrete eve near Shreve, Crump, & Low, watching the Boston Gay Pride Parade move slowly by in the rain. From the giddy drag queens to the dancing go-go-guys, from the Trolleys of gay octogenarians to the little rainbow-flag-waving child, everyone was joyful and happy, despite the non-stop rain and a chilly breeze. Even the leather-masked men were all smiles through their harnesses.

I still believe that if you think of someone at their happiest, when they’re smiling or laughing or finding joy in the world, you can never really be mad at them. You can’t hate someone’s happiness. (At least I can’t.) More importantly, you can’t hate someone’s love.

Whenever I try to understand the reasons for attacking gay marriage, I can’t get beyond the fact that it is, at its core, an attack on love. And how can anyone be hated for loving? That kind of hatred is something I cannot access, cannot fathom. That kind of hatred doesn’t make sense to my head or heart. And on that rainy day in Massachusetts, in the city where Andy and I were married ~ just a few blocks from where we were joined in the Boston Public Garden ~ there was nothing but love around me. In that safety, in that warmth, in that relief, I cried out of joy and hope for what the world could, and should, be.

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