Friday, July 15, 2016

Pride

Last Saturday, my daughter and I volunteered at an annual Pride celebration held in a local park. Our church had signed up to have a table at this shindig, so we volunteered with our church friends.  I hadn't been to our local Pride party in a few years because I am usually on vacation that week. However, this year we went on vacation a week early so the dates worked out just right.  I have to tell you: it was the most fun I've had in a while. All of the people were so friendly and it was just a really vibrant, fun atmosphere.

There were more vendors this year than I remembered seeing in the past. There were other churches in addition to our UU fellowship. Other vendors included Avon, a henna shop, a lamp shop (the kid talked me into buying her a custom lamp for her bedroom), a meditation group, and lots of vendors selling rainbow-themed gear. One booth was giving away rainbow flags.  There were a couple of booths that were definitely not appropriate for my daughter to visit, so I let her know ahead of time which vendors were off limits. I didn't need my 11-year-old wandering into the Pure Romance booth. Ack! I'm 46 and don't really understand what some of that stuff is.

Prior to the event, I attempted to explain the concept of a drag queen to my daughter. She asked me if a drag queen is a transgender person. I explained that a drag queen is really more about drama and over-the-top-ness. "Drag queens like to entertain. It's theatrical," I explained.

Sure enough, there were a couple of drag queens walking around the park. My daughter was intrigued and watched as a statuesque figure in a ball gown walked by. "Do you want to have your picture taken with one of the performers?" I asked.

She nodded.  I told her we'd wait for a better opportunity because the queen we'd just seen was pretty far ahead of us by that time. Sure enough, a few minutes later, we did see another candidate.

"What if she says no?" my daughter asked.

"Sweetie, she is here to see and be seen. Trust me. She will not say no."

As predicted, she was more than happy to pose for a photo with an 11-year-old.  I explained to my kid how she'd probably been working on that make-up since the wee hours of the morning. After I snapped the photo, she looked at me and said, "Happy Pride!" I smiled back at her and briefly wondered if I should go a little more dramatic with my own make-up.

Everyone we talked to was just like that drag queen - friendly and proud. I ran into quite a few people I knew.  When I came back to the church booth after being away for a few minutes, one of my friends said, "Someone came by and asked if you were here."

"Well, I am very big in the gay community, you know." I was joking, of course.

Anyway, it was a great event (and the weather cooperated fully), and I think it was a good outreach opportunity for my church. We handed out bubbles and glow bracelets.  We talked to a lot of people about our liberal religious faith.  It was a good day.

I don't claim to be a great mom, but if if my daughter can think of nothing else to say about me when she is grown, I hope she will say that I helped her to embrace diversity from day one. I'll be good with that.

Someone lost a tooth as soon as we arrived!



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