“What you were saying earlier, about your boss and his husband — so your boss is a homosexual?”
Ya gotta love Mom — she’s not even sure it’s OK for her to say “gay.”
St. Pete Pride’s impending weekend festivities are probably not something my mother would enjoy. Not because she’s a homophobe, but simply because she’s a little lady in her 70s, whose idea of fun runs more toward two glasses of wine and some cards with the family than a teeming throng of extroverted revelers whose collective sartorial expressiveness might (read: probably will) run the gamut from an Uncle Sam costume to a gold lamé banana-hammock. (I gotta get her to a drag show at some point, though. I think she’d enjoy that immensely.)
For any other straight person who doesn’t harbor a pathological or perhaps biblically fueled hatred of all things LGBT, however, I just can’t recommend attending Pride enough. It’s been one of my favorite annual Bay area events for years now, and I can honestly say I’ve never had a bad time.
Here are five reasons why every straight person who supports the simple fact of human equality should go.
It puts a face on your LGBT community.
The “gay scene,” or whatever, is not some abstract concept happening beyond the boundaries of your existence. Most of us are already a part of the community to some extent — through our friends, our families, our Facebook profiles, where and how we spend our time and money. Recognize, experience and embrace it. Nothing makes you want to be part of something more than realizing you already are — along with your mail carrier, your favorite bartender and about a quarter of your graduating class.
You will absolutely make new friends.
It’s pretty much impossible to hang out at Pride and not meet people who subsequently become a part of your social circle — usually as a result of bumping into someone you already know, and discovering they’ve been going to Pride for years.
You will absolutely find new ways to have fun.
Getting a bit sick of hanging out in the same old bars, looking at what might as well be the same old glass and smelling the same old ghosts of cigarettes past? Maybe you’ll end up dancing shirtless. With six strangers. In the rain. With a cup of sangria in each hand. Possibly.
You will learn a shitload about Pinellas culture, business and art.
Do you know which St. Pete and Clearwater businesses proudly support equality? Have you seen musicians like Karmic Tattoo, Kim Roberts or Iris Calling? Do you know what new restaurants are open, or who’s spinning at Queens Head? And you thought you were plugged in.
And, finally: You will successfully inspire/antagonize your less adventurous friends.
“So, what are you doing this weekend?” “It’s Pride weekend!” “So you’re going? Isn’t that, like — like, a gay thing?”
Yes. Yes, it is.