Monday, June 29, 2009

NYC Pride 2009

Last Sunday I marched with the Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of New York, or GAPIMNY for short. Our theme was Beach Outing in the Heart of the City, which I thought was refreshingly non-ethnic. It also gave me a chance to walk down Fifth Avenue in my swimming trunks. Armed with a toy bucket, I distributed to Asian-looking guys in the onlooking crowd cocktail umbrellas on which was taped our group's website. Since I also gave out umbrellas to whomever wanted one, I was soon emptying my bucket.

Photo taken by DH

Q-WAVE, our lesbian counterpart, had the brilliant idea of flying two eye-catching home-made kites from extended fishing poles. The fish-shaped kites flew and dove as directed by those bendy poles. I carried one of them for a while, and felt the force of the wind against the pole. 

Photo taken by RK

From Fifth Avenue the march turned into 8th Street and Greenwich Village, down Christopher Street, past Stonewall Inn, before ending at Hudson Street. Our section of the march started at 12.30 and only stopped at about 3.30. Everyone was quite tired, though you cannot tell by the faces that smiled for the camera.

Photo taken by D

Yes, the march was overly commercialized, with too many corporate contingents. Yes, the march encouraged a strong exhibitionistic tendency (like mine). But when I handed a tiny umbrella to a little boy or girl, the parent smiling by the side, I knew I had given the child a good memory of gay pride. I was no longer overwhelmed and moved by the sheer number and diversity of gay people, as I had been when I watched my first march in 2004, but somewhere, in the crowd, another man was watching the parade for the first time, and, perhaps for the first time, felt it was a fine thing to be gay.


Tory said...

it looks like you had a good time! los angeles pride, as you can imagine, is similarly known for its corporate sponsorship and scantily clad participants. little moments like the one you had with the children bring a little levity to the spectacle. (and remember, the children are our future.) it also doesn't hurt that you pulled off those short shorts rather nicely :-P

Jee Leong Koh said...

Happy Pride, Tory. Thanks for writing.

Eshuneutics said...

Hi, Jee, cynicism and optimism...a quite emotional piece. Sometimes the little things are what matters. And if they don't, nothing matters. Be well.

Jee Leong Koh said...

Yes, pride makes me feel emotional.