"I'm all about sexual freedom," she continued, "I support gay marriage! I have been taking my son Alvin to the Parade every year since he was born. This year, he's four and I'm not sure that after this year, I can still take him to the parade, which is sad because I want him to grow up accepting the community that his beloved aunts Robyn and Dani belong to."
I looked around my cubicle to see if her exasperation carried over to the neighboring cubes. While I am out at work, I don't trumpet my fagginess by starting every meeting with some zingy appetizers and mojitos. My cubicle looks exactly like everybody else's in my department except for the dildo I use as a paperweight.
Everybody seemed to be enslaved by their monitors, which surprised me. I would've been standing next to whoever uttered the word "penis" to see what the fuss was about.
"But Jamie," I soothed, "this is our parade, this is what we want the parade to be. I understand that our straight friends may think that some of the people in the parade are overtly sexual, and maybe even downright disgusting, but it's us. Hey, I was totally appalled by the Smelts last year. God, won't they let men's capri pants go already? It's dead. Let it goooo."
"But a giant penis? That's practically pornographic!" she exclaimed. "If gay people want to be accepted by society, this is not exactly the way to grandma's heart. For the Gay Movement, it's like one step forward, two steps back."
"No, Jamie," I corrected her. "It's one step forward, two steps back, tap-tap-kick, then jazz hands," shaking my hands to illustrate. "Plus, I always thought of the Gay Movement as sort of sashaying, checking out the scenery and eventually getting to the party, rather than marching forward with blinders on."
"But why does it have to be about sex?" Jamie asked, "Why does it have to be the sex parade? Why can't it be the love parade? Alvin just loves his aunts Robyn and Dani dearly and has never known them to be anything other than being together. When I look at my friends, I don't see them having sex, I see their loving relationship."
"Have you looked in the bottom drawer in their bedroom?" I inquired slyly, "maybe that will change your mind about them having sex."
"Look," I said, "the parade is not for kids; It's not for people with narrow views; It's not for people who have strong body odor, although a lot of them manage to go to the parade and stand right next to me."
"The parade is going to have giant penises on floats. It's going to have bare-breasted women on motorcycles. It's going to have the local gay church float. It's going to have PFLAG. And it's going to have that damn fucking two-story Jewel shopping cart!"
"But I want to take Alvin!" She wailed, "I want Alvin to learn! Why can't there be a family-friendly parade during the day and the X-rated stuff at night?"
"Because society can't choose which part of us it likes and what it doesn't," I said. "I'm glad you're going to take Alvin this year, but maybe next year, you won't be able to take him, unless you're ready to answer some pretty hard questions, like why is a giant penis on a float bad? Or better yet, why is sex bad? Why can't we talk about it openly and in public? Why can't it be in a parade in the middle of the day?"
We left it there. I could see her honest consternation as she went back to her cubicle.
Jamie and her husband are taking four year-old Alvin this year to the parade, along with his favorite aunts.
I truly hope that she would bring Alvin again next year, and the next year, and the year after that.
Next: Day After Pride
We're here! We're queer! Read about it: