Pride March in San Francisco

waiting for the train
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

We didn’t catch the actual march, other than a glimpse of some of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and a float full of sweaty dancing cowboys, but the playground at Civic Center was great this year. Both playgrounds were open, sponsored by Our Family Coalition, COLAGE, and Kaiser Permanente. Kids and families were everywhere, dressed in funky outrageous San Francisco-y outfits, capes and silly hats, wings, glitter, political tshirts like “Queer Spawn” or quieter ones like “Mamas and Papas” or about love is everywhere. Huge round balloons were flying overhead on thick colorful ribbons.

Moomin ran around with my friend (and ex-girlfriend) Nadine’s son. Last year, he was wearing a Cinderella dress and Moomin was kind of skeptical, with a lot of questions about why he was a boy wearing a dress, and my god, why one of those blue fluffy Cinderella ones if you’re going to wear one. This year’s red plaid kilt with safety pin went over better with Moomin, who has lately seemed more accepting of other people’s weirdness. He expects his mom and dad to be bizarre, and maybe our friends, but not necessarily other people. One good reason among many to take him to Pride!

Then he saw the red dragon wings and embraced his own weirdness big time. I bought him the wings. For the rest of the afternoon he ran around muttering, “FLAME dragon launch!” under his breath and trying to make his shadow on the sidewalk look menacing. It didn’t help when people passing by us would squeal and go “OMG HE IS TOO CUTE.” People! When will you learn? The proper response to a young superhero dragon is not to squeal and “cutesy”. Think how you would feel in front of a proper dragon: a bit of awe, not quite fear, but definitely respect for their power and mystery. Think dragon and suppress the squeal, or Moomin will instantly put you on his forever “ugh” list. Is Godzilla cute? Is a T-rex cute? A vampire? Noooooo. I think I’ve saddled him with the wrong nickname and should instead pick something … menacing.

The big question on my mind is — will he be goth?

I appreciated the free bottled water, oranges, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles from Kaiser.

Most of all in the very happy carefree crowd I kept thinking that in our own country right now, there are people all over who are unable or afraid to have children and be openly lesbian, bi, gay, or trans, for fear their children will be taken away. 50 years ago, this parade was not possible, and being pegged as gay would have meant, likely, the end of your parenting. Terrifying. And here we all are in the sunlight with balloons and tie-dyed “I love my two mommies” tshirts, playing at the park, picking up each other’s children when they fall, hearing someone else praise our kids for putting stuff in the trash can, chatting casually about superheroes and breastfeeding. I don’t take any of it for granted and neither should you.

(And neither should straight moms … because putting your sexuality on trial is one way that your own custody of your child can so easily be lost if you are unfortunate enough to end up in a custody battle. Just a thought.)

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