I can’t lie. A week after New York City’s most celebrated LGBTQ Pride March ever, the Fourth of July just seems a bit anti-climactic. For all Independence Day’s red, white and blue splendor, it was last week’s Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage that exploded freedom from sea to shining sea. All of the emotions felt and seen at the Pride Parade are still with me. Here are a few of the moments I’ll never forget.
KIDS LOVE A RAINBOW
The first part of my march was from Brooklyn to Manhattan. I left the house in my proud mom’s outfit: rainbow flapper dress, rainbow wig, and red glitter platform heels. (My kid Harry, aka drag queen Amber Alert, helped me pick out the wig and gave me the web site where I found my shoes.)
Walking to the subway, no one gave me a second look. This is, after all, New York City. But a wide-eyed four-year-old in a stroller pointed at me and told her mom, “I want that hair!” On the train, another little girl told her mom the same thing in Spanish.
SIGNS OF JOY
My friend Nancy and I made signs this year and marched with PFLAG NYC, along with hundred of others from all chapters in the tri-state area.
I never expected how many parade spectators would cheer for us or call to us for photos. Two young women beckoned Nancy over for a hug. And as Nancy approached their spot behind the street barricade, one of them burst into tears. She cried with happiness, so appreciative of Nancy’s sign of pride for her son’s recent marriage.
Afterwards, our eyes welled up too, recognizing that many of the tens of thousands of people at the Pride Parade may have been rejected by their families, kicked out of their homes or made to feel ashamed for being their authentic selves.
One of my special hugs came from a mom who called me over to take a picture with her son. He was wearing more comfortable shoes than I, but from the way his mother beamed I gathered he knew how to work some glitter and glam.
Another came from the vivacious drag queen emcee stationed at Fifth Avenue and 8th Street. After reading my sign aloud, she came out from around the barricade to tell me it was mothers like me who let kids like her be themselves. She looked gorgeous in her shimmery beaded dress, but it was her inner truth and beauty that radiated right to my heart.
So as fireworks burst through the air on this Independence Day celebration of freedom, may the fact that all of our children are equal fill our hearts and inspire our minds. Happy Fourth of July!
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