Views of Pride

Denim in Texas is hell. You can’t wear denim here between the months of April and August or your southern hemisphere will melt away like the polar ice caps. However, I ignored the first rule of Fight Club and wore my cut-off’s. These brown knees were all the way out, baby. They must be seen; it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. And on a day that easily kissed the high 90’s while driving in a car with leather seats and iffy air conditioning, my hotness (double entendre) was only magnified and raised to the umpteenth power.

On June 29th, San Antonio hosted PRIDE events, closing out PRIDE month. I’ve never gone to any PRIDE related, let alone celebrated a full day of awareness and, maybe even, appreciation of the sexually marginalized. Other than a bevy of rainbow flags, I had no idea of what to expect. For a person that’s never shared his sexuality or sexual thoughts in public, going to a space where people’s sexuality would be on full display, or, at least, not closeted, wasn’t, surprisingly, uncomfortable.

While I’ll never be dumb enough to champion Hetero Pride Day (because barf), I’ve never been afraid of queerness or a person’s right to choose. Even when labels are new and sometimes confusing (“cishet” wasn’t in a vocabulary until last year and I’m not sure I’ve ever used it in conversation), the emotions are always the same: people love one another and what business is it of mine to impede it?

Also, I understand that for a person that does not identify as queer that merely voicing my opinion of supporting queer love isn’t necessarily enough. You have to put words into action. By doing that, you vote for candidates who support gay love, marriage and child adoption. So if a person says “I don’t have a problem with gay people but they shouldn’t get married” then you have to accept coded language like that isn’t accepting of their sexuality at all. You, also, have to accept that your childhood and adolescence were full of overt and covert homophobic landmines that you have to extract or repair. For example, every single one of your favorite rappers has used the “f” word and because they used it, you used it, too, to feel superior. Growth is understanding that the word has real meaning and hurt behind it. Hiding behind sophomoric humor and immaturity isn’t an excuse anymore and recognizing that it was never acceptable to begin with is crucial.

So, when the chance to go to PRIDE came about, I didn’t think twice about going. I wanted to go for three reasons: 1. I was curious to see how San Antonio, a city that I believe is fairly conservative despite its large population of brown people, would come out to celebrate, 2. I wanted to show that black cishet males (did I use that correctly?) are supportive of gay and queer rights and, 3. I wanted to be around positivity. The end of my June turned on a down note and I wanted to be around people that were happy, loving and upbeat. I showed up and showed out with my trusty camera to capture the day.

Early in the afternoon, the festivities were held mostly in Crockett Park, where about six to seven dozens of stations were set up. To my surprise and sadness, the first thing I noticed was all the ramped capitalism. Corporations were eager to show their support of the LGBTQ dollar community. At first, I didn’t know what to make of State Farm’s red monstrosity of a booth handing out insurance deals like hot cakes.

Seeing a Bank of America stand made me cringe. This is a conglomerate that played a role in the mid-2000’s housing crisis and were found to discriminate against black and brown Americans looking for home lending. (Imagine the level of racism it takes to over-extend lending to unqualified borrowers and STILL find a way to not lend to minorities. Such balls.) I didn’t know what to make of their presence until later that night.

At 9pm, there was a PRIDE parade on North Main, celebrating and showing support of queer lives. Hundreds of people lined the street, glistening with glee, sweat and exhaustion. The sun was down but the heat there to stay. Early in the parade came a float compliments of Bank of America. On the float, I watched about a dozen queer and pro-LGBTQ BoA employees wave to the crowd with grins from ear to ear. Then, like a lightening boat, through all the cynicism, it hit me. While the corporations were pandering, seeing them give support to their employees held importance. The spirit of PRIDE is about these people, not capitalism nor corporate sponsorship. Seeing those happy people on that float glide down the N. Main, which was undoubtedly funded by the bank, felt pretty good. My disdain for the bank (momentarily) melted away.

Throughout the day, with my Canon and two tall boys deep, I braved the heat and the crowds to get some good shots. While I’m not trying my hand at serious editing yet, I want to get to a level where I can shoot and have little to no editing. This post is another effort at putting myself out there with my art. (Much like with my last photography post here.) So, here are a couple of flicks throughout the sweltering day. Not pictured, I wore a shirt that said “WOMEN DON’T OWE YOU SHIT” and got free jello shots, a rainbow bracelet and lollipop. Outwardly championing people has its benefits. Happy Pride, y’all. (Click to enlarge. No pun intended.)(Maybe it was intended.)

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