Sunday, November 06, 2005

Palm Springs Gay Pride

We spent an enjoyable weekend in Palm Springs, attending the desert resort city's Gay Pride parade and festival. Seeing it shows me how much times have changed. The parade included the usual coterie of lesbigay community organizations, including "open and affirming" churches, AIDS service organizations, and lots of fun clubs like the gay rodeo, gay cheerleaders, gay classic car collectors, etc. And of course the local gay bars each had floats in the parade. But what struck me was that the dominant entries in the Palm Springs Pride parade were local city officials, candidates for City Council, and realtors. There are other factors at play, of course: the timing of Palm Springs pride just before an election, the increasing flow of gay population into this paticular city. (Two years ago, Palm Springs elected an openly gay mayor.) But still, it struck me how this gay pride parade is starting to look more and more like the plain old-fashioned community parades I remember growing up, with city officials, the Chamber of Commerce, the Rotary Club, and so on. And likewise with the crowd attending the parade, there were quite a lot of straight people of all ages enjoying the show. (Along similar lines, I hear that the crowd at the West Hollywood Halloween street festival is probably more straight than gay anymore.) We're getting much closer to the point where going to the Gay Pride Festival is just a part of the larger community cultural melting pot, like going to the Greek Festival or the Columbus Day Parade or St. Patrick's Day Parade. And that, I think, is a good thing.

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