As previously threatened I did end up going out of town, and it did coincide with Lurkopolis Pride. Attending Pride had not been the focus of the trip, but I interacted with the festival in two ways.
First, I inadvertently ran into the Dyke March. I was trying to get to downtown Lurkopolis, and the road got very busy very quickly. What could I do? I stopped and watched the march. First there were scary dykes on motorcycles, and then there were scarier dykes on bicycles, and then there were some marchers advocating assorted left-wing and sex-radical causes. I have never been much of a parade person, but this march felt different from a typical parade. Maybe it is the war drumming that changes the tone? Certainly the march seemed to be as much a political demonstration as a celebration.
Secondly, I later spent a couple of hours intentionally wandering through the festivities. It was busy! Also corporate, and you know my feelings about that. I saw a lot of ridiculous faux-allyship from assorted brands, but the one that sticks out in my mind was a misappropriation of Froot Loops to somehow become a sugar-laden artificially-colored gay symbol.
Mostly I wandered through the boothing area. Again, there were lots of corporations hawking their wares, but there were more grassroots groups as well. I was interested to see that members of my ethnic background (which is not exactly known for being queer-positive) were attempting to put together a support group. More power to them, I guess.
The nudists were also out, which was moderately jarring (the nudists tend to stay under cover during Lurkville pride) but overall it was fine. I attempted not to gawk (after all, nudism is about freedom and body acceptance, not sex), but I will note that a couple of the participants could have been straight out of that line drawing of secondary sex characteristics, except for the cockrings. It did occur to me that this was the first time in over fifteen years that I had seen another adult’s genitals in the flesh. Having seen educational materials on the Internet, I knew what adult genitals looked like, so maybe it should not be surprising that naked grownups turned out to be no big deal? Later that afternoon I saw a bearish couple get out of an Uber, and honestly that was more titillating. (One of the fellows was wearing tight, shiny booty shorts.)
There was one group that was desperately and loudly trying to raise funds for gay refugees. They probably harshed a few people’s mellows, but it was probably good that they were there. There are many places in the world where corporations refuse to associate their toucan mascots with queerness.
I saw some good T-shirt slogans over the weekend, but oddly enough few of them were at the Pride festival itself. Somebody at the festival was wearing a “More Fats, More Femmes” T-shirt that was endearing, but it was not until I was in the suburbs that I saw a fellow wearing a shirt that read “PWR BTTM”. I also saw a jogger wearing an “Anti Running Running Club” shirt that I thought was cute.
As I was heading out of Lurkopolis I saw some of the parade floats being trucked in for the parade. Boy howdy am I glad I got out of town in time.
Was it worth taking time during my Lurkopolis trip to attend Pride? I guess? I had never been to a big-city Pride before. Now I have attended once, so I can say that I have done it. Having said that, the trip would have been worthwhile if I had missed Pride completely.
Mostly I felt out of place. I was not festooned in rainbows, which probably hurt. Despite all of the community groups on display, I did not feel there is a place for people like me. I have little reason to feel much pride in anything I have done, especially on the LGBTQ+ front. Much of the time I feel the queer community would be better off without me, and attending Lurkopolis Pride did little to dissuade those feelings.