PRIDE ~ There were no flags

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PRIDE: There Were No Flags

BY OLUBODE SHAWN BROWN

 

Looking back, this weekend passed for me with a sense of everyday ordinariness that seemed out of step with the fact that it was Gay Pride in New York City. On Saturday night 300 people gathered in a hotel ballroom to celebrate the birthday of a 50 year-old mother who was honoring herself in grand style. Among the least remarkable things in the room were the sight of two men lovingly keeping each other’s company. We were upstaged by a beautiful young lady who poured us champagne while balancing on a floating hoop.

There were no flags.

In the morning at another event, a gay married couple brought 75 people together to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of them. Again, my friend and I were one of the few gay men in the room.  Surrounded by family and friends —many from the Caribbean, they were toasted, kissed each other, and affirmed their love.

“How beautiful this family and community is,” I had wondered out loud. “They created this,” my companion reminded me. Then came the stories about who was in the room: these were the gold, the ones who had come through the fire of broken friendships, splinters from groups and the remains of homophobia.

There were no flags.

In the evening I ended up in the living room of a woman-friend, telling her about these two events, swapping our truth with finger snaps and head pumps as her boyfriend reclined on the sofa on this phone with his teenage son’s head in his lap –his son was asleep when not chiming in.

There were no flags.

Indeed, there are quiet, unheralded wins being had everyday. Blood was shed and minds had to be changed for this… for us to arrive here.

I had wanted to go downtown to see the parade, but in some curious way this was my celebration.

These days I don’t have as many answers as I have questions. How do I celebrate Pride everyday?  And in what new ways does visibility matter?

 

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