SF Pride 2013
I hadn't planned on going to Pride this year. But a photography opportunity opened up to me on Friday -- taking photos of a dance troupe, Hot Pink Feathers, IN the parade -- and that coupled with the Supreme Court's rulings on Prop 8 and DOMA sealed the deal.
I had never experienced the "back end" (ahem) of a parade before, and certainly not SF Pride. Obviously things were even huger and happier and more amazing than usual this year because of marriage, but it struck me while on the parade route that, hey, I'd never really been in a parade before -- ever.
The privilege of getting to hang out with these fun, talented people, and the opportunity to participate in the parade was a much more meaningful experience, personally, than I'd imagined.
I was with float #108. Amazingly, there were apparently more than three hundred floats/groups in the parade this year, which took up more than five hours of broadcast time (I later found out). There was another official photographer for our group, a nice guy, and as we walked up to the first turn onto Market Street, I bounced along saying "Ahhhhh, I am SO excited!" He asked, "Have you ever done this before?" I responded, "I think I danced along with a float or something many years ago, but not really." He looked at me and said "Just wait til you turn the corner."
Just wait til you turn the corner.
It really HIT me at that moment exactly what he meant and the profound meaning behind what I was doing. Having become disillusioned with Pride years earlier due to what I felt was a hijacking of festivities by other communities, I hadn't even planned on attending this year until I got the invitation to work with a dance troupe, taking photos of them before & during the parade.
Being a part of the parade was so unexpectedly important to me. The people of SF -- not the bandwagoning, wasted fall-over drunk, can't-miss-a-party group who attends the party in Civic Center, but families and people who actually care enough to stand eight-deep on either side of Market Street screaming for 5 hours ... I mean, wow. For the first time I felt like a part of this community, where no one judged me because of my marital status, where I could beam the entire way to Civic Center and people weren't just supporting the dancers, or the community at large -- they were there for me, too, along with all of those people. It felt like the world's most awesome celebration in the world's most beautiful city and the corporate floats and the Manning supporters all had their moments and it was just ... everything it should have been, and more. I've been waiting for this day, for this year, passionately for half a lifetime, and it felt even sweeter than I imagined it would.
When I got home yesterday, I recorded the re-broadcast of the parade on local TV. I ended up watching nearly three hours of it in order to get to the part where my group went by. I'll admit it: I was dying to know whether I could see myself on TV. I totally could, for a couple of seconds I enter the frame and take a photo, then retreat. How freaking cool is that?! I was already feeling so liberated, and had also been doing something unusual -- I wore a miniskirt to the parade and left my legs bare. For me to do that is a really big deal and something that never happens because I am not a huge fan of my legs. But when I saw myself on TV last night ... at first I didn't recognize myself, and I mean that in a good way!
Life, my friends, in spite of the challenges, is better than it has ever been -- especially for so many of my friends and so many in my community. Yesterday was so full of love. ♥