we talked about what pride means to us at the present stage of our lives. the responses and connections to that idea were as faceted as the guys present. there were several that talked about pride being a family event- a time when family members got together and made new memories. a few mentioned that they loved the social aspect. they got to see people they only saw once a year and it held good memories. a couple of guys talked about shame. they hated the filming of the parade stuff on tv because the ass less chaps guys and the twinkies in hot pants and no shirts always made the 6 oclock news. they felt is set back the idea of acceptance with their families greatly every time mom and dad watched the "freak show".
several mentioned that they don't remember a sober pride and were kinda looking forward to a new adventure. but they had reservations about temptation and their own abilities to avoid joining the crowd mentality. one guy said he had come to believe that the pride celebration was for the young people. it was to let younger gay people experience some high level feel good about being who they are. another man reported that he always used to look around him for a sense of pride, but this year had decided to turn inward to find his inspiration. and one of the last guys to share said he had never known a pride when he wasn't fucked up. several years, while living in another city, he had stumbled out of the baths on pride day and into the middle of the parade. since he is actively working on sobriety in his life, this year will no doubt hold some surprises.
it was also interesting that several people weren't really clear about the stonewall inn and the riots of 1969. they had an idea, but were not informed nor connected to the history of gay pride. we talked a little about the "it gets better" campaign and it was universally agreed that dan savage's brainstorm is a welcome addition to our group conscious.
it would seem that gay pride- pride- is an evolution. it starts as one thing and moves towards something very different- naturally or not. pride is very much alive. i know i definitely basked in its glow for awhile today...