Here's the reason I don't usually consider myself a parade person: Since childhood, every public appearance for me is an exercise in fear of all the ways I can be mortified, from unfortunate wardrobe malfunctions to buckets of pig's blood poised unseen above my head.
As you can imagine, high school was rather stressful for me.
But while I am, at heart, an introvert who would happily stay ensconced in my home office looking out at the world through my computer screen, I'm lucky enough to have a job and responsibilities that often take me out of my comfort zone and put me in front of people.
Lots and lots of people.
Last year's Capital Pride was the first in which I'd actually been a parade participant. That surprises a lot of people, because they expect that as the co-publisher/editor of a gay magazine I'd be out there at every opportunity in full baton-twirling, I-feel-witty-and-pretty-and-gay mode.
Actually, we've always had a rather small staff at Metro Weekly, and most of them are involved in actually covering Capital Pride, so I've generally focused on getting staff together for our Pride Festival booth. But riding in the parade last year as a Capital Pride Hero made me think about ways to get us into the parade, because it was such a great experience.
Although, I have to say that when I started out on the parade path and was driven around Dupont Circle, I stared at the big crowds of people pressing in from seemingly all sides. It was unnervingly like the moment in a movie when the soon-to-be-victim realizes that the approaching swarm of bodies isn't actually a bunch of bargain hunters, but instead a mass of hungry, hungry zombies.
Rainbow-hued, in this case.
Once I relaxed a bit, though, it was a thoroughly wonderful experience -- radically different than watching from the sidewalks, as I've done in the past. So, with a little bit of creative thinking and a staff that's eager to take part -- I'm fortunate to have great people working for me at the magazine -- we decided to join in on the fun this year.
Nothing spectacular, some signs and some decorations on our truck, some waving and necklace tossing on our part. I'm actually happier that we'll be showcasing our Next Generation Award winners, who will be joining our contingent, as well as everyone's favorite, our Nightlife Coverboy of the Year.
Of course, we'll all be at the Sunday festival as well, so be sure to stop by our booth to say hi (and enter our contest for lots of fabulous prizes!). You might even see me on the Capital Pride stage for a moment, saying hi to everyone at the festival from everyone at Metro Weekly. I won't even be checking the scaffolding above me for buckets.
Just promise not to laugh if my pants fall off, okay?