I live just a couple of blocks from the Castro Theater in San Francisco, so for Pride, my neighbourhood is even busier than usual. Knowing that there would be late-night parties happening both downstairs and next-door, I was in the East Bay for much of the weekend for the sake of getting some sleep, but came into the city both days, and riding on BART seemed like a huge, high-spirited fancy-dress party.
Many of the rainbow-hued crowd seemed to be of school age; I wondered whether for some of them Pride was much different from Hallowe’en, a chance to dress up and enjoy participating in a massive event. At the same time it seemed clear that many of them were coming in support of their LGBT friends, and I reflected back to when I was that age, and there was way less support of difference (it was not until my college years that my horizons were broadened more towards tolerance).
I have only marched in the Pride Parade once (you can read about it here) and I remember the grumblings of some older gay residents that Pride had been taken over by straight people. I have been mindful of this since, and since I hold many overlapping positions of privilege, it’s not really my place to expound opinions about this. My main feeling from the weekend, though, was that having so many people coming together to celebrate difference can only be a positive thing. It seems to typify the critical mass of social and cultural progress that has been made in my lifetime, and I imagine that this is why so many people I know are so dismayed by much of what the current American administration represents, as it seems to be trying to drag society back to that less inclusive time and way of thinking.
From my dharma perspective, I mainly want people to stop suffering, and was strongly reminded of hatred or anger as one the three poisons which are the causes of suffering. When crowds of people come together and meet each other in the absence of hatred or anger, it can only be beneficial.
I passed by Dolores Park on Saturday afternoon, where the heatwave helped draw a huge crowd.
I found this wonderful picture online, of a Pride gathering in the Castro in the seventies.