Sunday, June 14, 2015

FORTY-FIVE MARCHES.

LGBT Pride 2015 in Boston via smartphone.

Yesterday Peter and I walked to Boston's South End at noon to witness the 45th LGBT Pride Parade  in our city. Forty-five years ago I walked down Charles Street here in this city in the first Gay Pride March. Yesterday tens of thousands of marchers walked down Boston streets in organized groups while hundreds of thousands lined the long route. The massive crowds were lacking gay men our age. We cannot avoid the decimation of our generation, but we were heartened by evidence of our legacy to those who follow us. For example, the parade was led by gay policemen, the city's mayor and city councilors.   
 
In 1971, there were perhaps a couple of hundred of us. No marching bands. Just the chant: Out of the closet into the streets! Back then Charles Street, now a chic shopping street for internationals at the base of Beacon Hill, was the heart of the urban gay community in Boston. The first gay community center was launched from the lower level of the Charles Street Meeting House, which was then a Unitarian Universalist church with a bisexual pastor. If you read the Wikipedia description of that structure, now a national historic site associated with African American religiosity but used as a fancy retail building, its LGBT history has been ignored. Some things haven't changed.
 
Many things have changed for the better due to the rough beginnings of that new homosexual movement in the 1970s. Peter and I rested a while on a granite ledge which projects out from the old public library in Copley Square. Directly in front of us, a Muslim woman in a shiny gray outfit from head to toe with face obscured by a veil stood at the curb and waved wildly at marchers as they passed by. She had two young boys with her. They were less enthusiastic. The older one, about 12, looked very grumpy. Perhaps he is already infected with the brutal patriarchy of his native culture. The mother ignored him. She was having a great time. This ignited a small spark of hope in my heart.

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