MBD Marches at Boston's 40th Gay Pride Parade
by Heather Kobayashi, First Parish Church in Arlington, MA
When our small contingent of youth arrived at the pride parade on a gray June Saturday morning, I felt distinctly underdressed. Going to the parade had been a last-minute decision for me, so I had no rainbow gear and no pride paraphernalia. This felt like more and more of a mistake as my friends posed with decked out drag queens and bought rainbow flags to wave. I was unprepared for the visual cacaphony of feathers, makeup, color, and bondage gear that greeted us onsite, so it was somewhat guiltily that I volunteered to carry the Mass Bay District banner, given that my nondescript t-shirt and jeans weren’t contributing much to the display. So we stood and waited and took pictures and waited.
Over the course of the hour or so when we were standing in our place, chatting and mingling while nothing much happened, the UU section of the parade slowly expanded. At first it was just the MBD youth and the Sudbury Church, but more and more groups began to appear on the scene. I remember Newton and Follen and several others, with few or many members, proudly displaying signs of all colors and sizes. I don’t remember what group was supposed to be behind us, but a representative came up to me and remarked that, to his bemusement, group after group of UU’s kept inserting themselves in front of him.
course, came the rain. Since my unpreparedness was all-encompassing – I
had neglected to bring either a raincoat or umbrella – I was resigned to
getting wet, and we did get wet, even those with raincoats. What
started as a tentative sprinkle became a veritable downpour, but, for
the most part, it didn’t even matter. We walked and walked and,
amazingly, UU’s appeared out of the crowd and joined us on our sodden
“It’s raining on our parade!” one girl cried gleefully, the sheer appropriateness of the phrase enough to distract from its normally dreary implications. People still cheered and we, the marchers, still smiled and waved.
The outpouring of love and support felt the same as if the sun were shining, and of course, there can’t be a rainbow without a little rain. My friend and I held hands and skipped through the puddles. It was one of those perfect moments, as all possible worries fall away and what is too often a stigma becomes a joy. She was being celebrated for being who she is and I was the out of place one, in my unimposing blue on blue. But it didn’t matter who she loves or what I was wearing: the crowd cheered for us and we cheered for each other. Love was in the air, a communal love, and the rain couldn’t wash it out.
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