Just as we stepped out of the train station in downtown Seattle, vroooom, vrooooom, vrooooom. Kari ran, I couldn’t because my ankle still isn’t quite right from being cooped up in plaster for a few months. I grinned – Dykes on Bikes, still leading the parade.
The street was packed, lined both sides with cheering flag waving happy Seattlites. There was Starbucks, damn near leading the parade; the biggest roar for a big black car containing Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire.
For a while there I was thinkin’ it was all a rather mild and delightful corporate event – phone companies, insurance companies, my favourite food heaven Whole Food Market, Budd Light, local Chambers of Commerce; then came an old laugh out loud fave, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Like waaaaaay too many Americans, they are seriously, waddlingly wobbly in the flesh.
After that it was on! Superheroes, local libraries, cheerleaders, hula hoopers, rollerbladers, hospitals, children and dogs. Americans take their dogs everywhere, even into change rooms in their local clothing store, it’s one of the many things I love about them.
Pride, pride, pride. Gay, gay, gay. And that got me thinking . . . what happened to the word ‘lesbian’ on all those banners? It’s still visible in the acronym – GLBTG . . . so when, and more perversely why, did women disappear from the public politics of sexuality? I can only imaaaaagine the back room conversations as the visionaries watched something precious fade once again into the mists.
Thud – uh-oh – please don’t trawl out the argument ‘gay’ represents everybody, that would be far far far far far too much like telling me the word ‘man’ really does include me as a woman.
I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation . . .
For three hours, all the shades of a rainbow gendered world paraded by. The Latinos were wild in white and, uh-oh, that got me thinking again . . . gay marriage (fancy that, not gay and lesbian marriage). Gay marriage, the current political sport setting the social politics agenda in the West.
Really folks, can’t we do better than ‘marriage equality’? Why set the bar so low? Look deeper, this is a civil rights issue. An equal rights issue. All that bloody breath us feminists wasted for three decades shining a light on the realities of institutionalized marriage.(sparing a thought for the decades and probably millennia before that) . . . I think we need to admit it’s not gay marriage we want, it’s normalization. The right to the same fantasy.
Legalize Gay Cupcakes put the humour back in my day. So did a long slick white car inscribed (in pink of course) Barbie’s Dream Hearse. And the scary leather lot cracking their whips. And the kid in a stroller sporting this sign: ‘With a lesbian mom, trans dad and gay donor – I’m bound to fabulous!’
There was the lewd and lascivious, the exhibitionists who seem to think the whole world is interested in their penis, turning & posing for each and every camera that flashed their way (I’m surprised the parade moved on at all) – fascinating that in Seattle a man can walk stark naked down the street and a woman cannot show her nipples, hence the ‘patchies’ on the breasts of the pretty painted women.
And OMG there’s the Australian rugby team. True story, there they are in their green and gold kicking a bloody ball down the street. Then came the politicians, shaking hands all the way up the street. By the time the GLBTG for Obamas turned up, Kari and I decided to join the parade. We walked along waving. I borrowed an American flag to wave and paired it with a rainbow flag in the other hand. Wave, wave, wave. Smile. Smile. Smile. High fives with the crowd. All the way to the park, where thousands and thousands and thousands of people gloried in the rare sunshine and soaked themselves in Seattle’s famous fountain, the space needle watching over a city in love with itself.
And here, friends, are the photos: