Yesterday afternoon Megan and I went to a party in celebration of Gay Pride day, hosted by my married friends Ron and David. My major concern for the party, of course, was what to wear; I went with a shirt that was about two sizes too small. A guy’s gotta look hot for Pride, right? We got a bottle of pink wine to bring, and on arrival we were handed Jell-O shots that had rainbow layers in perfect ROY-G-BIV order.
There was some dancing, and some chips and dip, and grilling, and beer and cookies. But on the way home, it got serious. I’d been thinking of it as an excuse for grilling and drinking and wearing silly clothes and flirting. But afterwards, Megan and I talked about how we’d kind of misunderstood it. Yeah, sure, it’s a party. But we’d also met Ron’s parents and David’s sister, and talked with people who had been at the parade when it was a march for justice, too. And it’s not just a day for grilling – not any more than Memorial Day, which I also take for granted as a party excuse rather than as a day to honor people who died for things I hold dear.
So, yeah, it’s a victory that Doritos and N*Star were at the parade. And it’s a victory that a guy like me can wear a tight shirt and eat rainbow-colored alcoholic desserts without fear of backlash when co-workers and family hear about it. And while it’s sad that the Gays For Patsy country dancing group has fewer members than it used to, that’s also a victory in its own way, because it’s a sign that gay people can now join any old dance group and it’s not a big deal. But it’s not really fair to think you’re celebrating gay pride if you just send a corporate truck down a parade route and hand out snack chips. And you can’t, or shouldn’t, just borrow being gay for an afternoon as an excuse to get drunk.
The real story there, the real victory, is that Ron’s parents are there at his cookout, chatting about lawn care and paint chips with their son-in-law in a way that you’d never ever have imagined fifty years ago.