This piece first appeared on the Baby Mama website–feel free to read it there and also some of the other pieces I’ve written for them. Actually, click around the whole site while you’re there. Lots of good stuff. I’m reprinting it here to reach those of you who haven’t discovered Baby Mama yet. There’s adult language below. Be warned.
This morning, I woke up excited to go to the Los Angeles Pride Parade with my twenty-two-year-old gay son. We went last year and had a blast. I had already planned my outfit and we’d made a pre-parade brunch reservation in West Hollywood. This was going to be fun.
Then I looked at my phone and saw the breaking news: fifty people killed, many more injured, in a mass slaughter at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
I don’t need to tell you how I felt. If you’re a human being, you know.
When my son woke up, I went into his room to talk to him. He hadn’t seen the news yet. I told him. And then I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to the parade, wasn’t even sure if we should go. It felt wrong to laugh and cheer and dance after a tragedy like that—and the Pride Parade is all about laughing and cheering and dancing.
And then my son said, “We have to go and show our support. We can’t let anyone scare us away or subdue or quiet us.”
So we went. I didn’t wear the bright pink skirt I was going to—my heart wasn’t in it—but I did wear my “fuck the patriarchy” tank top and Johnny wore his. (Doesn’t every family have matching “fuck the patriarchy” tank tops? If not, they should.) Republican senators had blocked a bill that might have prevented the shooter from easy access to the firearms he used to take so many innocent lives. So, you know … seriously, fuck the patriarchy.
We even kept our brunch reservation. While we were enjoying some really good eggs, we started getting texts from friends and family. Some guy had been arrested in Santa Monica with tons of weapons and claimed he’d been on his way to the Pride Parade. People were scared—he might have been caught but what if there were others who hadn’t been? Would we be safe?
Johnny and I looked at each other and shrugged and drank our coffee. We’d already made our decision. We wanted to be there.
We had a great time at the Parade. Yes, there were some religious nuts who had a very loud loudspeaker and were saying horrible things and damning us all to hell, and yes, there were bagpipers who stopped and played in front of us for way too long, but those were minor annoyances in a morning spent filled with people waving, smiling, throwing kisses, and loving one another.
There’s a lot to be scared of in this world. And there’s a lot to be proud of. I want to be someone who increases the amount of pride in the world and decreases the amount of fear. Join me, will you? Let’s start by going to the polls in November and voting for the candidates who are pro gun-control and anti-bigotry.
And maybe throw on a rainbow scarf or a “fuck the patriarchy” top if you’re lucky enough to have one. Can’t hurt.