I’ve written about how the Pride Protest has become the Pride Promotional, and now on my own tiny scale I have joined the race to market. Using a paper fan I once bought from the trinket shop at Jacob's Pillow Dance Theatre, I fashioned a light, hand-held two-sided sign saying “Ask Her About Her Book.” I covered it with plastic because of predictions of rain. Lest you start calling me Genius, this sign was my pal Lucky’s idea. She volunteered to hold just such a sign.
We meet at the corner of Arlington and Boylston and sit on the curb watching the parade go by, Lucky never wavering with the sign. People do as Lucky instructs: they ask me about my book! I give them one of the new postcards. Sometimes they are marchers and I have to run to catch up to give them a card and then I run back to Lucky. Sometimes they’re way up on a float and they have to hang over and I have to jump to get the Lillian card into their hands.
As Lucky had suggested, instead of just randomly shoving the postcard into peoples’ hands, we give them the opportunity to come to us. And they do, slowly but surely. About 50 or 60 celebrants: women, men, young, old.
The Dykes on Bikes start off the “parade” as always, and so I get to see my friend Robyn in her sidecar right away. The queer cops – probably the happiest, most relieved to be out of all the marchers, pass by followed a long list of schools, starting with pre-schools and on through high schools. Many are private schools and some are public schools and I find this discombobulating. Back in “my day,” queers would avoid children and schools like crazy, lest they be accused of recruiting. But of course now, instead of recruiting children, they are just having and raising them.
Next comes the politicians. Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, long-time devoted supporters of LGBT rights, pass by. Diane Patrick notices the sign and I jump up ready to run and thrust a postcard in her hand, when Lucky grabs me and stops me. “Security!” she says, pointing to the state police surrounding them. Red-haired Joe Kennedy is working the crowd, so I give him a card.
I enjoy the sports groups – from the divine Roller Derby women to the Cambridge/Boston Volleyball Association, passing balls to each other along the route. The oddly-named Boston HooHahs Facebook page self-identifies as “Boston's first lady stepper group, debuting in the 2014 Boston Pride Parade!” It’s good to see friends who are marching, not the least Stan and Gladys, who take a half dozen Lillian cards to pass out to their posse. The endless health insurance, bank, and club participants go by. Only the Hispanic Black Gay Coalition and theTheatre Offensive impress: the former for its music and dance; the latter for its creative giant puppet. I love the Teamsters big truck (left). As things wind down, we make our way to the Pride Party on City Hall Plaza.
There we scour the usual kiosks, both retail and non-profit, for freebies. Bags have made a come-back and I scoop up my share – okay, more than my share. I’ve always been a sucker for stuff you can stick stuff into. We run into a few friends and then notice a line. A very long line. A line so long that we cannot see what is at the end (photo above). We make our way to the front. It is the booth of Good Vibrations where you spin the wheel and they give you a sex toy. They’re giving condoms and lube (both freely available at many surrounding booths) and little vibrators and whips. Ho-hum.
The group I never heard of before was the New England Asexuals. I’ve checked out their new website and I’m not going to say anything about them – or about identity politics. I’ll just say that Lillian was the hottest woman at Pride today and that if it hadn’t been for Lucky, I would never have quite figured out how to bring her with me. When I thanked Lucky, she said, “Just doing my bit.” Yay friends!