June 15, 2011

I'm Out, Part 2

I walked in the Pride parade this past Saturday, never having even seen it before. I did get some shots of a few of the floats as we lined up at the staging area, but only a couple of them are decent. The shots, that is.

This is the float for two restaurants, one of which I visit almost every week. I don't remember seeing these two at Ivy's—and I'm sure I would—so they must work at Greg's. Yeah.

These lovely ladies and about twenty of their friends alternate at appearances all over the state. Second in age only to New York's Gay Men's Health Crisis as an AIDS fundraising group, they have danced and lipsynched to raise over a million dollars for AIDS-related organizations in Indiana since their inception.

The Cadillac Barbie IN Pride Parade was named this year in honor of one of the Bag Ladies who started the first parade nine years ago.

I marched with Indy PFLAG. When the leader found out this was my first time, she said, "Just wait. You'll never forget it." And she was right. As our little group strolled and handed out rainbow leis, we were greeted with loud applause, whistles and hoots, and shouts of "Thank you!" for an hour and a half. My cheeks got sore from smiling. I never took time out to pose for my own camera, and this shot is my only proof that I was there. Sort of proof. See that umbrella? I'm holding it. My stroll perfectly matches the man in front of me, so all you can see of me is my foot. But that's me!

Next year my convertible will be a float for PFLAG. And I'm determined to more than double our presence. We need to show the crowd that they have a ton of support. P.S.: You don't have to be a member of PFLAG to march in our parade. We can invite our friends who are allies to join us. So mark your calendars for the second Saturday in June 2012!

Last year's attendance of 55K tripled the previous year's. This year's estimate so far is 70,000 attendees to the festival that followed the parade. It was exhilarating. I've been to the festival three times now, but I've always been alone. I've got to drag some family and friends with me next year. They're squeamish about what they might see, but honestly, it's pretty tame compared to Mardi Gras.

Today my daughter texted me while I was at the Damien Center. A Facebook friend we have in common messaged her. He grew up on our street and is now a young husband and father. He asked her when I came out. Isn't that a riot? She said she "filled him in," but I have to find out what made him ask. Do you suppose he saw me at Pride?

Oh! I almost forgot: my OneSecond GSA group has met twice, and we're all excited about the future of our churches. (We have members from two churches, although the group is named for my own. My neighbor is hoping to learn how we're doing things and then start a similar group at her Lutheran church.) I'll try to remember to update you on our progress.

I'm still out, and I'm still proud. It's been a great week.


Cubby said...

I'm excited and happy for you Birdie. This Saturday Greg & I are going to Columbus pride. Weather should be good. We can't wait!

Happy Pride Month!

Ur-spo said...

You make me feel glad, for all you do !

Rox said...

You're the best, Birdie! I love how big and open your heart is and the way you inspire others to open theirs.

THIS IS ME....ONLINE said...

'Bout time you came out! :) There you go again. You're being the change you want to see in the world. You go, Girl!