Monday, June 30, 2008

The Gay Day After

I always have such a great time at Gay Day that it's hard to let it go the next day.
Yesterday messy old New York in all its abounding vitality poked its head up through the heavy crust of gentrification as the Gay Pride parade passed by the huge construction projects transforming Manhattan into Disneyland for the very very rich.
And in the middle of it all, we got soaked by a big cloud burst complete with thunder and lightning. It was a tranny girl disaster; mascara ran in the gutters, foundation melted onto the pavement, fake eyelashes floated in the puddles, and there was a slick of hairspray.
Amazingly, despite the weather, the parade went on, and few people bailed out. There were still very large, but soggy, crowds watching along 5th Avenue.

This was my 14th Pride parade in New York, and my 18th (I think) parade over all. I'll never get tired of it. For the past 4 or 5 parades, I've marched with the Episcopalians. My parish always has a contingent in the parade (including Mother Rector, who, after celebrating morning Mass, marched the whole route, and then did Evensong right afterward; What a trooper!). In past years, the reception of the crowds to the Episcopal contingent was polite indifference. The Quakers and MCC usually got all the cheers. Not so this year. The crowds greeted us with warm enthusiasm despite the rain. The larger LGBT community is certainly aware of the struggles of our Church on their behalf, and they very much appreciate it. They know what we gay Episcopalians know. Despite all the protestations about Biblical authority by our antagonists, we gay folk know that we are the issue splitting the Anglican Communion.
In front of our parish was a contingent of Episcopalians from New Jersey. My, what a rambunctious bunch! I saw these clergy in black shirts and collars chasing each other and having water fights; and in front of the bishop! Of course, it really didn't matter since everyone was soaked to the skin by that time (including the bishop).
In my younger days, I used to consider my parish's Gay Pride evensong to be so quaintly high minded amidst the pagan revelry in the Village on Pride Day. In those days, I was out there with the rest of the revelers bar crawling, crashing the dances, and picking up lots of instant friends, not always for sex. Indeed I had my moments of extra-ecclesiastical agape fellowship as a group of us would huddle together on the piers watching the Heritage of Pride fireworks.
Yesterday, I stood in the parish garden before the annual Pride Evensong in cassock and surplice (I was pinch-hitting for an absent accolyte for Evensong) listening to the loud revelers all around the church grounds, and now feeling so grateful for this service. Despite the rain, we had our usual full house. We had an embarassment of bishops; 3 bishops, an archbishop (a primate no less), and an archdeacon. The younger me huddling on the pier passing a reefer around would never imagine such a thing; hierarchy presiding at a church service for (rather than at) gay folk.
We sang the hymns so loud and lustily they could hear us in Hoboken.

We had a brutal reminder of what this is all about the night before. Two of our parishoners were attacked and badly beaten on Christopher Street in a gay bashing. One of them had 7 stitches in his head. I was substituting for one of them at the Pride Evensong.

The struggle continues.

Deo Optimo Maximus et Christus Liberator.

Enjoy the Hedwig clip. It's one of my favorites.


Davis said...

Pondering your query for understanding the image of Christ in an earlier post brought to mind our rector's sermon yesterday about how Christ would recognize us - "did we do the work of the gospel?"
The preacher went on to ask if "we" would recognize Christ - if he shaved his beard or cut his hair.

Glad you're blogging. Show us more of your work, too.

ps, Don't go dissin' them Pre-raphaelites too much!

Anonymous said...

You didn't happen to run into TELP / That Kaeton Woman whooping it up in the N.J. contingent?