Philly Gay Pride Parade and Festival Went on Without Me


I didn’t go to the 2009 Philadelphia Pride parade and festival that was held this year on Sunday, June 14. Does that make me a bad gay person? Before I answer that (actually it’s a rhetorical question), I think I should give you a little background.

It's not all drag queens and men in bikini shorts.

It's not all drag queens and men in leather.

I’ve been going to PRIDE parades since I was in my 20’s. I’ve taken my partners and my daughter to them. I’ve marched in the parades, worked booths at the festival, watched the parades from the sidelines, and even volunteered to help set up the festival. So I’ve done it all from spectator to participant. But not this year…

I knew that June was PRIDE month but for some reason it just didn’t register. My friend, Linda, and I had made plans to go into Philadelphia and visit some historic sites. We wanted to go to the new visitor center and scope out some of the lesser known historical sites that spot the downtown area. The day before we were going, Amy reminded me that it was PRIDE day also. And yet, I just didn’t feel that excited.

Linda showed up on Sunday and just assumed that we were going to change our plans from history hopping to gay pride hopping, but I told her that I really wanted to keep our original plans. She seemed a little stunned by that and asked me why? I muttered some lame excuse that I was really looking forward to walking around Philly and soaking in the history.

Gay Philadelphia PRIDE!

Gay Philadelphia PRIDE!

Actually, that was true. I love Philadelphia history. But it’s not like it’s going away. Or that I’ve never “soaked up” Philly history before. I’ve been going into Philadelphia to visit historical sites since I was a kid. And I spent plenty of time carting Heather all over the city so she could grow up with an appreciation of the history of our country, a history that we are so lucky to have as close to us as a 5 minute train ride.

Gay Bear PRIDE Flag

Gay Bear PRIDE Flag

You want to know the real reason I didn’t go? It took a little soul searching but I was finally able to admit it to myself. I didn’t go because I’m single and I feel fat! There, I said it and that was a big load of my chest. (Now if I could just get rid of the big load in my gut.) As silly as it sounds, I’m almost 50, single, and 25 lbs. overweight. In the gay community, that puts you into either the “super ancient/aren’t you dead, yet?” category or labels you a BEAR. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a Bear.) Wikipedia explains bears here.

I know it’s shallow. I had my skinny young twink days in the sun and those days are past me. But I never planned to be alone at nearing 50. Who does? And for some stupid reason, I coupled that with my few extra pounds into a reason for not attending the PRIDE celebration. It really was silly wrong insanely stupid of me.

I am gay. That community is a part of me and I am a part of that community. It’s how it works. In addition to all the parades I’ve watched, marched in, and worked at, I was Co-President of a GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) community center for three years in the 90’s. Prior to that, I did volunteer work for the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force. Even though I’m not currently active with any specific gay group, that community still needs my support. If people like me don’t support our local PRIDE events, who will? Certainly not the news.

I searched the internet for articles about the PRIDE festival and could barely find any. And finding pictures was even harder. (The family picture is from 2009 but the Liberty Bell float is from 2008.) The press barely touched thefaux_news1 story. But what really hit home was Faux News’, er, I mean Fox News’ coverage. The only article Fox published on the PRIDE parade and festival was titled, Phillie Pride Parade Road Closures. Apparently, the only thing worth reporting about the parade was that it caused “road closures and congestion for drivers in Philadelphia.” But it’s the Fox, Bush-loving, right-leaning, liberal-hating News Network, so I wasn’t surprised.

The bottom line is that I shouldn’t have let some trivial concerns stop me from celebrating who I am with other members of my community. And though I had a great time walking around the city with Linda, I could have had a great time watching the parade and walking the festival. Linda and I could have “history hopped” any other weekend and still enjoyed ourselves. I heard a quote somewhere that covers this beautifully. I don’t know who said it or the actual wording, but it went something like this.

So many people miss out on things simply because they are worried about what other people think of them or how they may look to others. Who are these people to you and why do you let them have control in your life? In reality, most people aren’t interested in what you are doing or how you look, anyway. They’re too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I won’t let that happen again. Single or coupled, flabby or slender, alone or in a group, next year I will be at Philly PRIDE wearing my rainbow colors for all the world to see!


12 thoughts on “Philly Gay Pride Parade and Festival Went on Without Me

  1. hey there, first i wanted to stop over here and “holla” and say “thank u” for stopping over from sists! i am sooo happy when ppl stop by from there bc i stop over sooo many ppl after roll call and then hmmmmm nothing… so thank you! now that i’m done w/t
    stop beating yourself up! so you missed a parade, my goodness look at everything you have done for the gay community! so you gained a few pounds, i know it’s not the easiest thing in the world but i do know you can drop them with a little effort and get back out there. the important thing is smile and go out and enjoy life! you were doing that visiting philly with amy… so next year you can go back and join the “parade” looking all fab and more! i have faith in that sista! stop by and holla back any time!

    • You’re so right. But I wanted to post about Philly PRIDE day AND I needed to talk about how I was feeling about myself so that I could move on. I needed to remind myself of what was really important. And if I want to lose weight and find a man, then that’s what I need to do. The only one that’s gonna do that for me is ME.

  2. Marti says:

    Preston, I hear you. Despite loving someone and being in a relationship, I constantly worry what others think–and the 30 extra pounds I’ve gained/lost/gained this past year or so has kept me from doing so much. I have bounced from one diet to another like an over-inflated beach ball, and avoided some of the things I love ’cause I worry about my looks.Here’s some advice I should take myself:I think you are cool, funny, smart, talented, and great-looking. Do what you believe in and the rest will follow. Life is short. Live it for all it’s worth, and get out there and rock ‘n roll!Someone’s waiting for you–I know it. Love ya!

  3. You will miss out on tons if you worry about what other people think. My motto – it is what it is. And if people don’t like me for me, I don’t really want to know them anyway. Nobody’s perfect & I hate that you missed the parade b/c you were worried about a few pounds.

    Now that you’ve admitted it though, I know nothing will hold you back from being you & doing what you want to do!

  4. Great article Preston and interesting wiki about Bear…learn something new every day 😉 It’s true to just be yourself and not worry what others think…a motto I have learned to try and live by. So glad you’ll be back in action for the next parade.

    Oh and so jealous you are going to Sitscation…I still want to go but space is running out. We are going to Vegas in 3 weeks and hopefully I’ll win big so I can come back in October, hehe…wish me luck!

    Jamie 🙂

  5. catt says:

    Preston.. It is the inner person that counts.. Not the outer.. I love you for the person you are… Not what you look like even tho the first time was a hoot.. lol

  6. Preston, Preston, Preston. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off, man! Too bad you missed something that’s so near and dear to your heart, but I’m glad you’ll be there next year.

    And if you’re ever out my way in May, the Long Beach Pride Parade is pretty huge. You should check it out!

  7. wellthenhowaboutthisone says:

    Oh. My heart broke a little to read that you’re feeling bad about being a teeny tiny bit overweight and single. Of course, it’s easy to say you shouldn’t care about stuff like that, but we’ve all been there. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling that way, either. Your post ended on a positive note, so my heart put itself back together.

    I have never been to a gay pride parade. Think how bad I feel! Maybe next year I can watch the Philly parade with you.

    JD at I Do Things

  8. Thank you for stopping by and entering my contest. I have actually heard about your blog… hmmmmm maybe my sister Justine reads it??? I will have to check.
    Well anyway.. I am glad that you found me.. cause now I found you and I look forward to reading your posts.
    I am putting you on my blog list! 🙂

    Jill … aka. Vegas!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s