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.