Wednesday, June 25, 2014

TMI Questions: Happy Pride Month 2014!

Dressed for our fist Pride
in San Jose, 2003.
1. Tell me about your first Pride.
2. What did that first Pride mean to you?
Our first Pride celebration and Parade happened a year after we both came out together about 11 years ago. We both had recently finished the drama of divorces from our wives and bought a new place and moved in together. That first summer saw us attend our first 2 pride parades. The first was in San Jose, CA. San Jose may be the 10th largest city in the USA, but its LGBT presence is totally small town compared to the city one-hour north, San Francisco. There were more people marching in the parade then watching it.  The second Pride we attended that year was San Francisco’s, the largest in the country.
I find attending a small Pride celebration to be a more joyous and merry event. It seems at a smaller event everyone is more out going and willing to reach out to other LGBT participants. The larger festivals are more about a big party celebration. They tend to be more commercial and with heavy corporate participation.

Reykjavik Gay Pride 2008.
3. How many different Prides have you been to?
We have been to a half dozen Pride celebrations both big and small. We even marched in several of them together. Our younger kids even marched in both the San Jose and San Francisco parades with us a couple of times.
- San Jose Pride: we marched several times with a Jewish social group and with the Baylands Frontrunners.
- San Francisco Pride: over a half dozen times marching with several different groups: Congregation Sha'ar Zahav-the gay synagogue, Queer University Employees of Stanford, and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. We will be marching again with SFGMC this year.
New York City LGBT Pride March in 2009.
Reykjavík Gay Pride Festival and Parade in Iceland in 2008.
- Montreal, Canada Pride festival, unfortunately we missed the parade in 2012.
- Guerneville, CA; Sonoma County Pride. Attended at the beginning of this June.
NYC Pride Parade 2009

Eddie ready for SF Pride Parade several years ago.

4. Do you fly the Pride Flag and/or stick it to anything?
Ed with Gilbert Baker, creator of the
LGBT Rainbow Flag.
Absolutely. All the time. We have even met Gilbert Baker, the San Francisco artist that created the LGBT Rainbow Flag back in 1978. The first pride flag flew at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on June 25, 1978.

5. Do you still celebrate Pride? What does it mean to you now?
Yes we do. In fact, we will be staying in San Francisco the whole Pride weekend and are planning to march with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus in the parade.

6. Does Pride need improving? If so, what changes would you make?
Pride doesn’t need improving. It and its participants change as time goes on to reflect what is happening in the gay community and its relationship with society at large. Originally Pride was a protest march. Today it is more of a celebration of how far LGBT rights have come.

7. How do you give back?
When ever possible, we support gay business especially when we travel. We also support various local and national LGBT nonprofit organizations. We also have sponsored friends when they have done the AIDS walks or bike rides down the California coast.

What kind of trouble or embarrassing moment have you had during Pride?
In the 2005 we were marching and carrying the Queer University Employees of Stanford banner in the San Francisco Pride Parade when we were almost kicked out of the parade. The San Francisco Chronicle society columnist, Leah Garchik, reported the follow:

"The Stanford Marching Band, which runs this way and that instead of marching in precision formation, got kicked out of the Pride parade for slowing down the action. The band wasn't a registered participant, but marched along with several gay and lesbian groups from Stanford. Ed J., who with his husband, Eddie R., was with a Queer University Employees at Stanford contingent marching near the band, says a parade monitor with a "cold, hard heart," warned the musicians three times, then called in security to barricade the street and force them out of the lineup. The monitor must have been a Cal grad, says Jones, noting the irony of tight control of a parade about freedom.
The band's Michael Priest said the band has issued an apology to parade organizers, and is hoping that time heals this wound. "We hope to be back next year."

After a brief standoff, the band yielded. The parade route was now safe for the Pride march to continue. This was so absurd and bizarre. The band has a history of being controversial, outrageous, and sometime offensive. But they weren’t that at the Pride Parade. They were just being exuberant and enthusiastic. Meanwhile, our employee group with the banner was allowed to continue on to the end of the parade route.
SF City Hall is ready for Pride 2014

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