Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Seattle Pride 2016

I admit it.  I hadn't planned on attending Seattle Pride.  My wife Anne is still hobbled by knee surgery, and we figured there was no way she could either march in the parade or stand comfortably for the year and a half it takes for the parade to pass by.

Then Orlando happened.  Anne decided she could sit in a chair on the parade route last Sunday, and I decided I needed to march with my Unitarian Universalist church.

It's safe to say that Orlando and the possibility of violence weren't far from our minds, a point underscored when, after getting Anne situated, our friend Nancy and I went to grab breakfast at Starbucks, and on the way back we encountered a man in a wheelchair pointing his finger like it was a gun and fake-shooting parade-goers.

Nancy immediately volunteered to tell nearby policemen about this sketchy fellow, but I was already on my way to them.  It was the fastest I moved all day.

Later as I walked up the parade route to join my contingent I found myself behind three cops and a bomb-sniffing dog.  I decided the lab looked like it knew what it was doing.

As to the usual bad guys, the religious zealots who turn out for almost every Seattle Pride, I didn't spot them till we were nearly done marching.  A handful of folks--all men--stood with signs condemning us to hell and wielding a bullhorn.  The Unitarian Universalist minister who'd been next to me the whole parade peeled off and confronted them.  An occupational hazard, I suppose.

After marching, I hung around to watch the rest of the parade.  I spotted a young guy holding a sign that said, "Allah Made Me Gay."  I think I recognized him as a teller at my bank.  Making deposits just got a lot more interesting.

As I walked back up 4th Ave to find Anne, swimming against some of the nearly half a million people in attendance, I noticed a young woman's sign.  At first I thought it said "Free Hugs," an offer you often see at Prides.  Then I realized it said "Free Shrugs."

Perhaps after Orlando the sentiment feels a bit hard.  But next year I'm getting that on a T-shirt.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Things Have Shifted

The lead story of yesterday's Seattle Times wasn't subtle.  "If a Shooter Opens Fire, What Should You Do?" blared the headline.  Beneath that the subhead announced, "Public training is Wednesday; sessions held days before city's big Pride weekend."

To think that in recent years all your average Seattle Pride-goer worried about was a bad hair day.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

This Week's Quote

I grew up in one of the most socially conservative neighborhoods in Ohio, and my parents were traditional Catholics. But in her old age, my mother got her home health care from a guy who was gay, who was wonderful to her. Before she died, she rode a float in the Cincinnati Gay Pride Parade.

Gail Collins

Source:  Brainyquote.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

This Week's Quote

Congrats, murderer.  You have turned the focus of the LGBT community, one of the most powerful progressive movements, onto the crumbling edifice of one of our country's biggest problems, gun reform.  I don't know if you've seen what they have accomplished in the past 25 years, but these queens get shit done.

Don Winsor

Source:  I bet this turkey can get more fans than NOM

Monday, June 13, 2016

Seattle Goes Half-Staff for Orlando

Last night here in Seattle, Anne and I went to the vigil for the LGBTQ people massacred in Orlando.  The mayor and the governor spoke, a chorus sang while we all held candles or flashlight apps, and people cried.

A woman saw Anne's tear-streaked face as we were leaving.  She said she thought strangers should hug each other, so she hugged my wife.  Under these circumstances, I couldn't have mustered jealousy if I'd tried.

Anne was struck, and pleased, by how many young gay men were in attendance.  I was struck by the number of people who carried signs or wore shirts warning against Islamophobia.  Kudos to my fellow Seattleites for their awareness of that danger in the midst of grief.

One of the speakers might have been made for this moment.  Sonja Basha said, "The Muslim community and LGBT community are not separate; we mourn together.  I am Muslim, I am queer and I exist."

Today this is what Seattle's most iconic symbol looks like:

A half-staff Needle.

Today's Seattle Times devoted the whole front page to the "nation's worst shooting."  I opened the paper and found nestled inside a pull-out ad for Stop Bullets Now.  A gun-control group?  Not even close.  It's a company that flogs bulletproof backpacks and car seats and gym bags.  "Mass shootings and gun-related accidents are on the rise," the ad declared.  "Don't risk your children's lives anymore."

No doubt business jumped after Saturday night.

As I drove Anne to work early today, she told me that her sister Holli had just texted her.  It seems our seven-year-old niece, Madison, watched the news about Orlando this morning, and told Holli that today would be a good day for rain because so many people died.  She said she wished there would be a big rainbow that would raise them all from the dead.

Spoken like a true Washingtonian who's seen a lot of rain and knows that rainbows follow.  What Madison doesn't know is the connection between gays and rainbows.  But Anne does, and Madison's words had her crying again. 

I should've gotten that stranger's number last night--in the weeks ahead, hugs will be needed aplenty.

You Might Need This Today

Owing to my famous lack of technical ability, I can't figure out how to get this wonderful video from Facebook onto my blog.  But If Orlando has you reeling or if you just need a little gay-positive parenting, click here to see why I've been spending time in technical hell to bring you this.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

This Week's Quote

I am not, I repeat, NOT a lesbian--even though I'd like to be one when I grow up.

Dawn French

Source:  The Mammoth Book of Great British Humor

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

When You're Both, or Neither

This Week's Quote

I'm undoubtedly a liberal, which means that I'm in almost total agreement with the Eisenhower-era Republican party platform.

Rachel Maddow

Source:  Azquotes.com