Whether it’s a stroke of luck or the universe’s way of telling me something, I often seem to find myself in cities celebrating gay pride. Okay, so it only happened twice, whatever.
I love a big gay dance party as much as the next person, but it’s the parade that really sucks me in. Feather boas? Scantily clad, beefy men strutting their stuff in the street? (Yes, I do see the irony in attending a gay pride parade to scope out the man scene.) Something about it just brings people together. It’s a beautiful thing.
While in New York City for TBEX, the pride parade’s route happened to pass along our street where the conference was held. Abbie and I snuck out of one of the presentations to witness the fun in the streets, and found ourselves pressed up against dozens of other onlookers all sweating in the afternoon sun. It was hard to see, but the lovely, flamboyant announcer kept us in the loop. I wanted to throw on sequins and dance. One guy even drilled us with worldly trivia for about 15 minutes, perspiration dripping from every inch of his face, while we both “Ooh-ed” and “Aaah-ed” politely.
Everything’s just so much more colourful during gay pride week. Plus it’s perfectly acceptable to wear bootie shorts that ride up your crack, spank other people in public, and be downright controversial. The whole area near my hotel in the Meat Packing District was packed with gay pride revellers, everyone milling around bars and restaurants toting rainbow flags and partying.
New York City’s parade was fun, but Amsterdam’s gay pride celebration rivals all. Besides taking place in one of the most liberal cities in the world, the whole parade is held on the canals with giant inflatable characters, techno music churning out international hits, giant penises spouting water, and Corona being sold in the streets.
I loved the diversity of onlookers. There were seniors dancing on houseboats, teenagers pumping their fists in the air, and expats snapping pictures. The party kept going until the wee hours of the morning…although I missed it. We don’t need to revisit that story.
Where have you found the best gay pride parades?