The Daughter’s First Gay Pride Parade

This experience reminded me of the years my father used to drag me to civil rights events when I was a kid. I didn’t always understand the nuance of the activity…

We almost didn’t make it.

I have participated in the Gay Pride Parade in Albany at least a half dozen times. And since this was the 40th anniversary of the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council (CDGLCC), reportedly the longest continuously-running group of its type in the nation, this was a particularly significant event this year.

This past Sunday just seemed too complicated, though. The Daughter was having a dance recital later that afternoon, and the weather was looking threatening to boot. But The Wife had volunteered to serve coffee after church, and that involved cleanup afterward.

So I suggested that The Daughter and I at least watch the parade. The Sunday school assignment of the junior high kids at our church that morning was to work on the float with some parishioners and one of our pastors, so The Daughter was at least aware of our congregation’s involvement. And she watched it being finished after Sunday school.

As we waited for the noon start time, I decided that we could find the More Light Presbyterian contingent and at least walk with them from the park to the church a couple of blocks. I see State Senator Neil Breslin with probably the most well-known gay rights activist in the area, Times Union blogger Libby Post who wrote, before the parade, about unusual acceptance at a local high school. (I agree with someone’s assertion that “tolerance” of gay people seems akin to “tolerating” root canal or “tolerating” veggies you don’t like but eat anyway; not an adequate word at all.) There were other local pols there as well; US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was not there, but there was a float representing her.

So, The Daughter and I start walking with the Presbys. At an entrance to the park was the small, but apparently vocal “God can cure homosexuals” band. While most people along the parade line cheered our group, I heard at least one guy from the Westboro-like cabal refer to us as “an abomination”; I think this was supposed to hurt our feelings.

Picture courtesy of Kevin Marshall

We’re about back to our church when I see our car. The Wife had parked it right along the parade route, so we wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while anyway; might as well keep walking.

In the car that was part of our contingent was a cardboard Jesus wearing a rainbow lei, bobbing up and down in the moon roof; it was a big hit.

Later, she watched the event coverage on TV (I taped four stations, and caught three reports), and she was only slightly disappointed that she didn’t get any air time.

This experience reminded me of the years my father used to drag me to civil rights events when I was a kid. I didn’t always understand the nuance of the activity, but I DID know that it was Important. And occasionally, fun.
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