Leslie Robinson

Pride Notes to Self

Filed By Leslie Robinson | July 01, 2011 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: march, parade, pro-gay churches, Seattle Pride, Unitarian Universalists

PrideParade2011.jpgI had a peachy time marching in Seattle's Pride parade. My partner Anne and I, members of a Unitarian Universalist church in Seattle, marched with a host of Unitarians representing churches from all over Puget Sound.

Now it behooves me to make a few notes about this year's experience, just to ensure next year things go downright seamlessly.

Note #1: Our church had a stellar turnout because we began recruiting early. We must repeat this next time. We should start signing people up...next week.

Note #2: I was one of the organizers of our contingent, but I got sick and couldn't help for a couple of weeks. The others carried on beautifully without me.

The takeaway is next year I will again surround myself with over-achievers.

Note #3: Things work best when individuals are doing the jobs they prefer. I'm suited to firing off reminder e-mails. Had I been tasked with designing the temporary tattoos we handed out, they would've looked just like the work of Georgia O'Keeffe (when she was an infant).

Note #4: Unitarians try to do right by the earth, so it was wise to send everybody information on how to get to Pride by bus. It was also wise not to ask who actually took the bus. That's the Unitarian version of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Note #5: Gathering 80 Unitarians for a group photo before the parade began was surprisingly easy. Nobody questioned the backdrop. Nobody lobbied for a different camera. Nobody suggested we form a photo committee.

I suspect this was because we'd all been standing in the sun for a substantial period. So next year we'll make sure Unitarian contrariness gets baked right out of people before we ask them to pose. Or do anything at all.

Note #6: This wasn't the first time I've waited well over an hour after the parade's start for my portion of it to begin. Adrenaline and socializing can keep you going a long while, but there's frequently a lull before you actually step out.

Need to come up with something to fill the time. Perhaps poker with PFLAG. Or we could challenge the Methodists to dodgeball.

Note #7: I felt dandy marching when I held the church banner with one hand and Anne's hand with the other. But when my hands were empty, I remembered I'm not one for waving at the crowd.

Unitarians tend to be introverts. I guess I better organize a class at church this winter. It should be taught by the drag queen who served as a parade emcee and announced when we passed that she considered herself a Unitarian. She could teach us loads about overcoming shyness, and periodic gender-switching.

Note #8: Anne doesn't suffer from parade reservedness. She waved and waved, and when she had to retire to one of our VW Bugs due to a bad knee, she waved like royalty. Must look into a horse and carriage for next year. That would be eco-friendly, wouldn't it?

Note #9: I have wussy forearms. That church banner I carried was lightweight, and I carried it with someone else, and yet two-thirds of the way through the parade I felt like I was carrying a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.

Clearly, I must exercise those forearm muscles. Maybe this winter I'll practice, march up and down the sidewalk outside the church carrying the banner. Scare the Lutherans nearby.

Note #10: Immediately behind us was a small contingent of sex workers. That meant that anybody pondering our signs, our handouts, our message didn't stay focused on us for long.

Next year I want to be followed by Baptists.

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Sister Mary FP | July 1, 2011 5:16 PM

Re #9:

Pace your self - exercise with caution. Start small, with Sister Anja Knees (who's a tiny little thing) before attempting a full-sized Sister like Ivanna Manda Lei.

What curious floats you must have in Seattle. I shall suggest getting carried in the parade next year for our House.

Sister Mary F#$%ing Poppins
Los Angeles Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

Well, Sister MFP, it would save you shoe leather.

Why is that churches are the largest contigent of floats in just about any pride parade anymore? Can't we go back to being proud of being hedonistic?

Great advice. I marched with my church (United Church of Christ) at San Francisco Gay Pride and it was a truly glorious experience (as always). My congregation also had a booth in the festival. I highly recommend beads or other throws so you don't have to wave inanely (unless your hometown bans throws like SF). We have parade beads with our church's name on them and handed them out to the crowd. One of our grand marshals was a United Church of Christ pastor (Yvette Flunder), which was cool. She is considered one of the leading black Christian pastors nation-wide, not just one of the leading black, gay, female pastors. There was also another Christian pastor from the Pacific School of Religion (a UCC-founded and multi-denominational seminary in Berkeley) who rode as a grand marshal. We also had to wait for a long time in staging area; for some reasons many of the churches always seem to be towards the back of the Pride parade. We did have communion while waiting in line; it was great celebrating the sacrament outdoors in the sun with Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, Lutheran, Methodist, Disciples of Christ, Pentecostals, Metropolitan Community Church, and others (including Unitarians).