I don’t know if I have come down yet from the high that I got riding my first float in Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade Sunday. I am still riding the wave of energy and it feels amazing.
The Leather Pride float was one of the last ones to make its way down the parade route, that didn’t stop everyone on board and off from having a fabulous time. I used social media to proclaim that yesterday it was the “best day ever.” I wasn’t exaggerating it really was day in my life that I will remember forever and feel has changed my life.
Don’t think I am too hokey, so many people talk about the “woo” that is in our lifestyles—there really was an energy that I can never recreate and will look back on as a right of passage.
It started with the contingent of Leather people from every walk of life that rode on or walked with the float. I even geeked out with a fellow Scadian [Renaissance Faire type] on board and then somehow got caught up in the rubbing of sunscreen on naked cleavage and humping puppy boys with bottle openers. From the outside it probably looked like total chaos…but it was fabulous chaos.
We kissed and groped and danced and marched the route with whips and chains exciting the populace. Even stoic Leathermen with cigars waved, throwing safe sex packets and beads–while hanging on for the ride. The Pleasure Chest donated pin buttons and we gave swag to the million plus crowd as best we could until we ran out. The crowd didn’t care. The sea of faces was full of smiles and cheering as we made our way in fits and starts along the parade route.
I think I had the best seat in the house. Riding in the Leather Pride Float gave me a perspective I never had as an audience member. The “we love you” and “marriage equality” signs among others in the crowd nearly brought tears to my eyes. And the perving over sexy mamas and boys half naked and grinding to the parade music was a bonus for whatever sexuality you express.
Ok, yes there was the preacher on the corner who spouted that homosexuality was sending us to hell. So what, he has every right to express himself in that manner just like we did wearing our leathers, puppy masks, and fox tails. It was worth the stop by to see amidst the preacher’s group a man in a muumuu bearing a huge smile and a sign that said “I’m not with them…I’m one of the cool ones.”
A few other moments also stood out in my experience at Pride. In the beginning I brought my “not so vanilla” partner Sexy Biker Dude with me on the float. Overhearing him telling one of his biker buddies on the phone that he was on a float in the parade having a great time was cool. Most people are just not that open-minded especially when dropped smack dab in the middle my bizarre reality.
There was also the crowd member who joined the Leather walkers while I was on the truck. We didn’t know who he was, but he caught our eye as he went about flogging people on the fences…some without their permission. When the float stopped I slipped off and confronted him politely at first. He denied flogging people’s faces, but I spoke to him about the rules of consent. He didn’t really understand our process. I said I appreciated his contribution, but that we had rules and we didn’t want anyone to get hurt. This turned into a loud conversation over the noise of the crowd, but then he left and when I turned around three of Chicago’s Finest and two parade officials surrounded us. I guess they thought it might have turned ugly like I heard some places had incidents during. But our “50 Shades of Gray” boy apologized to me and blended back into the crowd.
Yet this incident actually made my Pride experience even richer. It was that moment which led me to do the walking in my heels where I could touch people. High fives and hugs let me share this little part of being who I am and loving myself and everyone else for it. Even more Leather men and women then came off the float and walked, grabbed the Leather Pride flag and marched, we showed the audience that we are not afraid of kissing other sexy beings and I had some lovely tongue tickling with Candy XXX.
The greatest moment of the entire experience was when I realized, that I belonged to the community. These people whether I could remember their names at the end of the day and I all shared this lifestyle. We were out, proud, and letting everyone know that whatever fetishes we had or sexuality we condoned…that we were one with ourselves and with the City of Chicago. Afterwards I realized that we are really a global family and the joy I felt made the massive blisters and bloody toes worth every step.
Pride was not just about having pride, but sharing and bearing your inner selves with the world. Over a million people did that, in a safe and for the most part accepting space. Thank you everyone, Leather People, Pride participants, and most especially the Pride Audience for “coming out” and making me feel proud to be my innermost self. Love and Peace to you all.