There are so, so, so, so, SO many things I love about Pride month and Pride parades in general. I'm just weak in the gay knees for the magnetic, diverse energy, the palpable sexual tension that hangs heavy in the summer air and the epic beauty of unapologetic self-expression that exists at Pride.
I love it all. Give it to me, and give it to me all at once, babe.
But there is one thing that pulls at my heartstrings the most fervently at Pride, and that's the people.
Pride hosts some of the most colorful and gorgeously WILD characters your keen eyes will ever bear witness to. See, when I was a kid I always felt like I was a little too wild, a little too loud, a little too opinionated, a little too self expressive and a little too much. When I was thrust full-throttle into the queer club scene in my late teens, I quickly realized I was only too much for the basic high school bitches.
The first moment I set my underage foot in the gay bar, I learned that the glittering, sparkling, queer world was where I belonged. No one will ever be deemed "too much" for the queer world. We've had to withstand a shit storm of adversity just to survive, so you better believe we are strong entities with hellaciously strong personalities. We have an incredible sense of authentic self, and we don't ever hold back (on anything).
So, what happens when you take thousands of wild queers, pepper in the most fab straights to ever grace the earth and give them a goddamn Pride parade in the middle of goddamn Manhattan?
Well, the experience is akin to dying and going to people-watching heaven. And you will always run into these fierce characters:
1. The "straight" friend who is suddenly making out with everyone.
Every year, I bring a couple of cute straight friend accessories to Pride. Sometimes they're guys, sometimes they're girls. Regardless, there is always one totally straight friend who suddenly goes missing in action.
Until, BAM. I'm in line for the bathroom, when I suddenly see something I will never be able to unsee: Pretty straight Suzy Q with the steady boyfriend is passionately sucking face with a foxy dyke right in the middle of the dance floor.
2. The gay teen.
Oh, the gay teen! I was a gay teen at Pride once, and I hold those gay teen memories close to my queer heart. There is always a group of pimply, oily-faced teens clad in rainbow attire attempting to get into the gay clubs with their horrible fake IDs, standing around trying to act grown up, chain-smoking cigarettes, trying to pretend it's just another typical weekend and their lives aren't being totally transformed.
3. The mean drag queen.
There are happy drag queens, there are sad drag queens and then there are MEAN AF drag queens. Hell hath no fury like a pissed of queen.
Some other girl stole her sequins, and she's a woman on the verge of a breakdown. Get out of her way because the mean queen deals with these feelings by heckling, harassing and throwing serious shade to anyone in plain view.
4. The hot androgynous person who confuses everyone.
Last year it was my friend Lee.* Lee is a gorgeous woman who possesses a fierce masculine swagger. The straight girls are confused by how badly they want her, the gay boys are confused by their crazy attraction to her. The straight boys don't know what the hell to make of her, but are suddenly feeling possessive over their girlfriends. And the lesbians are just pissed that she's stealing the thunder.
5. The celesbian/gaymous person.
Gay famous is vastly different than straight famous. It's sort of like Internet famous; it's niche famous. It's the girls who were on "The Real L Word" and blew up in the gay world, but go largely unnoticed by the straight world. It's the boy who was a guest host on "Drag Race" twice. They might not get recognized on the city streets, but girl, at Pride they might as well be fucking Madonna.
6. The couple who's practically having sex everywhere.
There is always that couple, usually they're from Kansas or something. They're used to repressing their affection, and now they're at NYC Pride and free to love openly. And they're so excited to just be holding hands, until holding hands turns to making out and making out turns to scissoring in the middle of the city streets.
Yeah we're liberal here, but NOT THAT LIBERAL.
7. The freaked out, Ivy League gay.
I always feel for the displaced preppy gay who went to some Ivy League school in Boston, who lives in the straight nerd world. He checks out NYC Pride for educational purposes and is a combination of horrified, turned on and deeply mystified at how raucously us urban gays live.
8. The fabulous straight woman.
When you step into the twinkling lights of the gay club, for better or for worse, there is usually a straight woman who is at the center of it all. But she's no typical straight woman. She's a force of nature. She was the girl who beat up the jocks in middle school for harassing her fragile gay bestie.
She's a Lana Del Ray, a Madonna, a Lady Gaga. She's dressed to kill and has been fighting the good fight in stiletto heels for as long as we have. She's the grounding force of the gay community, and this Pride is as much for her as it is for any of us.