It doesn't matter how annoyed I get by the constant corporate barrage of product placement or how tired I am of the endless train of churches and campaigning politicians: I adore the Pride festival in June. It gives me the same kind of shiver that walking into a gay bar in an unknown city gives me. There are queer people here, lots of queer people I don't know, people to flirt with, people to talk with, people to just be in the same space among.
The Twin Cities Pride Festival is the fourth largest in the country. Kind of amazing considering we are way down the list on city size, but I guess we just love our queers. I was starting to get a little stale on Pride - see previous paragraph regarding more corporate and less cock-sure - but then I had Luca. Little child might be straight, queer or indifferent, but I want her raised in this. I want this to be normal for her. And it is. Like her buddy, Miguel, Luca cites the calendar by the holidays with Pride falling between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July/Miguel's birthday.
This is the first year where she really got it. Meaning, where Pride was more than following her family around, eating bad food and scooting in a short-term memory way from one stimulus to the next. This year, she made her demands. "Mama and mae," she said, "when we go to Pride every year, it's ok to march in the parade and to see our friend's sing, but really, what I want to do every day all day and not leave, is watch the drag queens." That's right, you couldn't drag Luca away from the drag queens. Big and busty, thin and sultry, old, young, Mama Cass, Judy Garland, Eartha Kitt, Christina Aguilera and Madonna: Luca was enthralled. We stopped by the Stonewall Stage a.k.a Drag Central each day and sat there long enough for my butt to get sore. And Luca watched. And didn't smile if friends came up to say hello. And she craned around the bodies of those rude people in front of us who would get up off the grass to, oh, I don't know, go pee or something. It took her awhile but then she realized that folks were going up there, getting in line, holding dollar bills out to the queens and then getting kisses and hugs. It was open-the-purses time and Luca, usually kind of shy about standing up in front of folks, was down there with her dollar bills and dewy eyes. Twice. It would have been more if we had more single bills. I love that Luca loves drag. I don't care if she is learning her feminine ways from drag queens or if she is learning about the kind of femininity that she is going to hunger for in other people: I love that she loves drag.
Saturday night I went out to dance. I, of course, freaked out when my fabulous and glamorous friends came to pick me up because there I was, in shorts and sloppied on the couch watching a movie with Rocki and our housemate, Kelly. After a cheerleading session, I went out, feeling not as hot as I used to but hotter than I often do these days. You know what's a pain in the ass? When you have been dancing the bump and grind for a whole bunch of hours with women you know, women you don't know, you are feeling so good and so fine and yes, she was packing and it was fun to rub right up there, and then you run into someone who asks first thing, "How's your baby daughter Luca?" and then proceeds to just mama you to death. I want to scream in those moments - I am happy being a mama, I love being a mama, right now I am NOT a mama, thank you very much please.
Next year, I am going dancing every night and I will flounce away should someone start mama-ing me rather than ask me to dance. Happy Pride.