On Sunday afternoon, I went to New York’s Pride Parade to join in the celebration. I’d never been before, and when I stepped off of the train at 42nd street I was immediately overwhelmed by the sheer joy contained in that enormous, rainbow-clad crowd of the LGBTQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Trans, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and Ally) community.
The music was loud and the crowd let loose a huge roar as they recognized each song—particularly the appropriately chosen “I’m Coming Out.”
I bought a rainbow flag and wandered along the parade route with a friend, surprised to find myself getting choked up a couple times. I’m not usually a crier, but I just kept thinking about how amazing it was that after so many years of hard work and struggling against oppression, we could gather hundreds of thousands of people in a celebration of love—of all kinds. Not to mention the impressive personal journeys of those who attended as non-heterosexuals— heteronormativity (assumed heterosexuality) is an unfortunate aspect of patriarchy which can make coming out very difficult.
The parade was great—so many different groups were represented! (Enough to last for nearly 7 hours!) From political movements to gay bars, asexual support groups to law firms, it seemed that everyone was embracing the movement.
There were a few detractors—we passed a religious protest group who stood along the side of the street, rosaries upheld, silently praying. They didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s spirits. Everyone pretty much ignored them. No one was going to cast a shadow on our day of celebration, love and acceptance!
It seems like in the past few years, LGBT rights have taken off, gaining sudden traction across the country. Sometimes I worry, though, that the success of the movement is more due to its rising popularity than to actual convictions. What will happen in 20 or 30 years, when popular opinion and social momentum are no longer providing support? It reminds me of the issues of abortion and reproductive rights, which, though always controversial, made significant progress before sharply regressing. I’m really hoping that the LGBT movement doesn’t follow a similar path.
I guess all we can do about it is keep moving forward, supporting the movement as we go! And always remember that #loveislove
Images courtesy of nydailynews.com and Splash News.