Monday, June 23, 2008

Why The Parade?

Chicago Parade

Growing up in the 1950's I never heard a mention of something called homosexuality. In the 1960's when I hit puberty, I hit it like a brick wall at a hundred miles per hour, and still not having ever heard of being 'queer', I simply followed my own instincts. One of my instincts was to tell all my little friends of my new found discovery. That, in retrospect, might have been a mistake. I thought I had just invented this thing and that adults didn't know a thing about what I was feeling. It wasn't until seventh grade when a kid at school named Tom, asked me if I was a homosexual that I got a clue. "A what, a who, what is that?". Imagine my shock when I learned that I had not invented a new kind of human relationship. I couldn't copyright it, I couldn't patent it. Somebody had already done it, thousands of years before.

My friend Rudy, who is eighty one years old, likes to tell me stories about when he went to gay bars back in the nineteen fifties and sixties. He says that guys would go into a club and try to meet somebody as fast as possible and get out, because the longer you lingered in a bar the more you exposed yourself to the risk of arrest. You see back then the police considered being gay illegal and would raid bars, and arrest the patrons, and if you got arrested your name would be published and you could lose everything. This was condoned by the government authorities, and the public at large. That is until June 27th, 1969, when a group of gays in New York City fought back after a police raid at the Stonewall Tavern. It is that point in time, when gay men and women stood up and demanded their right to exist as tax paying, law abiding citizens, without harassment by the state, that we celebrate every year during June, all around the world.

Wilton Manors, Florida, is no exception, and so Saturday night we all got together for our annual party on the main street through town. The best part about it, is that it included many elected officials, and the police actually participated, not just as traffic control, but as entries in the parade. Hell, our town and parade are so all inclusive, that we even had an entry from the 'Log Cabin Republicans', a group of gay Republicans. Sure it consisted of five, lonely, gray haired men carrying a banner, with nobody within twenty feet of them, but they were there.

5 comments:

  1. dude i think this is so cool

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  2. ...and now we have an African American ready to be elected President. How times change.

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  3. He is an American who happens to be half black and half white. He was raised by his white grandparents.
    We should be looking at the man, not his color.

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  4. As far as the world has come, "marriage" remains sacrosanct to the "holier than thou" crowd. Even thought the gay couples I know are more true to the vows they made than most of the hetero couples. Go California and Massachusetts!!

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  5. Anonymous: I think we SHOULD be looking at Obamas color. Not only as a factor of the change our country has evolved to, but as an inspiration for all that this country is suppose to stand for because of his color. Yes we should look at the man but shouldn't ignore nor deny his roots.

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