Today in the area of town known as the Montrose, thousands will gather to visit, drink, eat and play. Some will learn facts about health and voting. Others will simply party until the nighttime festivities begin -- the Pride Parade.
Our little group of merry campaigners have been preparing for this event for quite a while. Beads were bought. Koozies designed and ordered. Stickers created. Before we roll this evening a convertible will be converted into a parade worth entry with lights, magnets, banners and more.
Last night, I experienced one of those pre-parade moments that I don't seek. Having not felt quite right in the stomach department, I canceled my plans for a night with the Latino GLBT crowd at a fundraiser and stayed at home until mid-evening when I was invited to an impromptu gathering at the Empire Cafe. Three couples laughed about movies and their changing lifestyles (kids, no kids, grown kids, etc.). And then the topic of the parade came up.
"Why would your candidate WANT to be in such a thing?" was the question.
I started to explain that the GLBT crowd were big supporters of her and she of their right for personal choice. I didn't get very far.
"I know we're supposed to love everyone, even the . . . " and then she began to lump my friends in with murderers and criminals and all manner of beings who she considered sinners.
I didn't want to debate. I knew that I was an outsider on this topic with this crowd. I didn't want the topic to come up. And then I chastised myself, "How can you say you'll walk in a Pride Parade and then stay silent?"
So I let it be known. I wasn't just walking because I'm a field director for a campaign. I was walking because I love my friends, because my friends make me proud.
Great ending here would be how with just a few sentences the conversation turned and grace abounded. The conversation didn't. Grace did. But that was simply because we had the grace to stop talking. Neither of us was going to change the other's mind.
Tonight I walk. I throw beads and hand out goodies and smile and wave and take it all in. And while I thought I was ready yesterday afternoon, I guess I needed just a little more prep before Pride could take on its annual meaning for me.