Monday, July 27, 2009

PRIDE Charlotte and Prejudice

by ENC volunteer Steve - Thanks to all our great volunteers who represented ENC at Pride Charlotte this weekend!

And then they came. They came wearing shorts, chaps, hats, and bandannas. They wore flip-flops, loafers, tennis shoes and boots. They wore shirts ....

The protesters came, as well. Their shirts said, "God has a better way," which was disappointing because they left off the ending - “For us all.” (I’m sure there is an active issue with a t-shirt maker pending somewhere.)

Other shirts were "Out is In," "I’m a whosoever," and "Legalize Gay," the rainbow emblems flashing bright as the rays of the sun. Wonderful it was. ["Legalize Gay" t-shirts were reaction to California's recent Prop 8 ruling.]

They came deftly honed at their skill of having a good time, and they were composed in relaxation and comfort for who they were. Friends brought friends, families brought their loved ones, couples as partners were together as one as it should be. Whether alone or in pairs or as a group, the throng of revelers were well-behaved.

This was my first such an event, even though I’ve been out for seven plus years now. It was everything I’d thought it would be but yet in some ways not stereotypical of what I had imagined. Stereotypes, now I realize, are merely a mental perception untested against reality. The reality for me is that for the first time ever I walked hand-in-hand with my partner down a city street unfeeling and uncaring about someone else’s perception of me – or us.

The parade of souls and onlookers alike took part in their individual ways on this day of Charlotte Pride. None were worse for wear in their own beliefs and lives.