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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Pride in the Dark
Brooklyn Pride was a sweet shambles of an event. (Actually, though, we only saw the parade; it was waaaay too hot to schlep down to the stalls/performances/carb fest.)

It was my first ever night parade, and I must say I don’t quite get it (the fact that it was the first pride I’d attended where I could buy the next day’s paper on my way home didn’t quite justify it).

The best part was watching all the drama. The march was supposed to set off at 8, but by 9 there were no signs of anything (other than traffic disruption) about 10 blocks past the stepping-off point. Then the dykes on bikes showed up (the usual no-helmet rule seemed even more perilous in the dark), followed by some mounted police who may or may not have been gay (if they were gay, surely there’d’ve been more women—and they were in uniform, unlike the [chubby-looking] PBA group that marched). After that came an old drag queen (my dear, the only one of the night—a record, but who wants to be strutting their fabulousness when no one can see you?) with a dog in a pram—as a lesbian mother standing next to me remarked, "Now we know why men don’t have babies," after all, he kept walking off and abandoning the poor pooch in its carriage. Then came three guys holding up a Brooklyn Pride banner. They marched by us, and then they had to stand around for a while waiting, then waiting a little more, then getting aggravated with each other. After a few minutes they were just full-on fighting, arguing over what had gone wrong with the parade, the right way to hold a five-feet-tall banner, and, from the looks of things, why the guy on the left was cruising the crowd (though quite what he could cruise was hard to see—true to Park Slope’s reputation, it was mostly women lining the street). By the time they actually started moving (and it was an inexplicable age), they were barely speaking, and the queen on the right was passively-aggressively holding the banner so that "Brooklyn Pride" was folded over and illegible from the front.

There were no marching bands or twirlers or even any floats from local gay bars (just one dyke bar, geared to the older set, judging from the folks on the float), but naturally there were a brace of campaigning politicians—Anthony Weiner and Gifford Miller, who are both running for mayor. There was also a lovely lesson in how to be a pol: Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz was very well-amplified (very important), had his chants down pat ("LGBT Spells Brooklyn"), and was reciting the names of candidates who were sharing his well-lit float.

The parade finally passed our street (just a few blocks from the break-up point—and I bet there were some tonight) around 10 p.m. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that pretty much every other city has its pride parade during the day!

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