And no, I don’t mean the guy with the rainbow umbrella hat. The other fine-looking fellow is Mr. Cleveland Leather 2006 and he was fortunate enough to ride in the back of a convertible with another similarily clad man, while a nice herd of us followed behind carrying signs representing the various parishes of the local UCC.
It is not often that one of your oldest and closest friends will call you up and say, “What are you doing tomorrow? Wanna march in the Gay Pride with me?” And it is probably less frequent that the recipient of such an inquiry will respond, “Hell yes. I am so there!” – Especially when both are straight women. Yet Keri’s denomination, the United Church of Christ, is the type of organization that will not only co-sponsor Gay Pride Day in Cleveland, but show up in droves, young and old, shaking pom-poms and chanting “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Homophobia’s Got to Go!”
Me? I showed up to see the cute gay boys in tight shorts. Not really (although that’s a nice fringe benefit), in truth I’m just a fuschia boa wearing, vodka drinkin, sucker for the cause.
Don’t think it went without a hitch. It wouldn’t be a Gay Pride Parade without those good ole predictable God Hates Fags folks trying to put a crimp in everyone’s day. You know the type: bullhorns, fire and brimstone, their Bibles missing those pages about “love thy neighbor” and “judge not” – they’re a lovely group and I hope to have them over for dinner soon. (I’m sure the Cleveland Police Officers monitoring the scene feel the same way) It was the only time during the entire event I was embarrassed and ashamed – but not for me or for anyone else celebrating their right to exist – for them. For their empty feeble lives so full of hate and anger and resentment. I don’t know how anyone can be so full of bile and live a happy and productive life.
Dykes on Bikes saved the day; no amount of shouting can compete with the roar of a Harley. And the marching band from Cincinnati who respectfully dropped to one knee between the parade and the protestors, filling the air with the strains of “Jesus Loves Me.” These things could only be topped by rounding the corner and being greeted by the swarms of parade watchers applauding, shouting and whistling their appreciation of a church supporting their humanity. It made me grateful too.
As they say –
God is listening,
(“and let no man put a period where God put a comma” – Gracie Allen)