Our local Pride Festival has come and gone, but the annual culture war over it goes on. And on.
I never cease to be amazed at the descriptions of our Pride Parade emanating from the “family values” folks. Our local American Family organization sent out an email alert a couple of days before the parade, asking recipients to pray for the grievously damaged souls who participate in the debauched and immoral displays involved, and attaching photos from prior ‘exhibitions.”
I’m not a “family values” person—at least, not in the sense that phrase is typically meant—and I guess I proved it at Pride, because my husband and I took our youngest two grandchildren to the Parade. They had a great time.
The Indianapolis parade began seven years ago, with—to the best of my recollection—the same number of floats: seven. This year, there were 125. For the first year, and several years thereafter, there were small groups of protestors with signs urging participants to “Repent” and “Choose Jesus” (and the ubiquitous “Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve.”), but this year, if they were there, I didn’t see them, although it is possible that they were obscured by the crowd, which gets bigger every year.
So what sorts of inappropriate and sordid behavior did my grandchildren—ages 7 and 9—see?
Several political candidates and officeholders participated, as did local firefighters and police officers. (The police had announced their official participation, only to have authorization to do so yanked by the Mayor in the wake of the AFA email blast, but several participated anyway, on their own time.)
I counted at least four churches. There were dykes on bikes, our local PFlag Chapter and another one that had come all the way from Dayton, Ohio. There were radio stations, hairstyling studios and automobile agencies–plus gay marching bands, a couple of floats featuring local drag artists, and floats entered by a number of GLBT organizations—ranging from the Indiana Youth Group to the GLBT staff and faculty members from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, where I teach.
The raciest float I saw was one featuring a bunch of well-muscled men in fairly skimpy bathing suits, dancing. The suits were pretty tight, but I’ve seen tighter at the local swimming pool.
Most of the people who participated in the parade threw candy, rainbow leis or multicolored strings of beads as they passed. (The candy was the least healthy part of the celebration—I finally had to call a halt before sugar comas set in.)
It is interesting to consider why the parade I saw—and felt perfectly comfortable sharing with my grandchildren—is so different from the parade viewed by our local “God Squad.” I guess it’s true that most of us see what we expect to see—that we view reality through our individual worldviews and social attitudes.
I feel sorry for those who insist on looking for the underside of everything—those who are intent upon seeing smut where there is none.
They miss all the fun.