Sunday, May 1, 2011

“Do I Make You Proud?”

Originally Posted on June 15, 2007

What does Taylor Hicks has to do with Gay Pride? No, it’s not about wishful thinking. I hope that everyone who thought he was hot should’ve been over it by now. Besides, his recordings haven’t been selling well.

This weekend marks the start of our Pride Week here in The Cities. Funny how time flies when you’re busy with other stuff! The good news is that I am not working at any booth at Loring Park. On top of that, I don’t have to work any events like I did last year. A Pride without obligations…finally!

So, I should be relaxing...right?

Though I am not participating in any Pride-related event or promoting something during this time, this is the time when you get to see everyone in the world you’ve reached out to. That can be stressful. It’s great to run into friends and acquaintances across the community. You try to say “hi” and get in about five minutes of pleasantries before they have to go. Is five minutes enough to maintain a friendship? That’s like speed dating!

Sometimes, Pride is the only time you get to see “so-and-so” as you run into them somewhere at Loring Park. You exchange e-mails, holiday cards and pleasantries every other time of the year. Everyone is aware of each other’s existence, except you live in Minneapolis and they live in Rosemount…or Duluth…or Iowa.

Speaking of out-of-town guests, because The Cities is a regional center of queer activity, we will get the out-of-towner to come and partake in our festivities. I recall a certain close friend who used to do that. Heck, I did that once! Now, I have a new friend who is coming in from Omaha with his crew to join in our fun. I’m looking forward to meeting him for the first time and play Rula Lenska on the Loring Park grounds…and Bear Bar Night on Saturday night.

Traditionally, Bear Bar Night was the kick-off for Pride weekend. That was when it was at Trickxx in St. Paul and was the fourth Friday evening of each month. Now that it has moved to Saturdays and into the Bolt Underground in Minneapolis, Bear Bar Night is part of the Pride Eve celebrations, sandwiched between all of the bar and street party events throughout town. This should be interesting.

Is everything going to be all rosy and fabulous at Pride? Not entirely. You also get the misfortune to see other people who had made your life hell for a short amount of time. You claim to have been over it, but the memory still lingers upstairs. You try to be cordial, but you also bless the fact that you have calmed yourself down enough not to clinch your fist and fly an Evander Holyfield left hook across said person’s face.

Speaking of unsettling situations, this is what bothers me about Pride: the commercialization of it all! Don’t get me wrong…I’m all about corporate support of the community. The more folks sell stuff to us, the better! However, one of the biggest problems this community has is the glorification of our alcoholism and how we embrace sponsors from the breweries, distilleries and alcohol distributors.

Granted, there has been studies that identify the GLBT community with the higher rate of alcoholism than any cultural or ethnic group in this country? For someone who kicked alcohol years ago, this is pretty damn unsettling. We have the freedom to do what we want, right? Within reason, of course! I'm just not down with being sold something I cannot patronize for health reasons, but I would hope that people who do consume these sponsors products have some sort of responsibility to themselves when doing so.

But, hey…don't let me rain on everyone's parade! Happy Pride Everyone!

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