aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, June 21, 2007
The decline of the Pride Parade
On Sunday, June 24, organizers of New York City’s Gay Pride Parade expect a throng of one million people to line Fifth Avenue all the way down to the Christopher Street pier to march and watch from the sidelines.
Nick Shapland, a tall, well-tanned and skinny 22-year-old with carefully tousled brown hair, won’t be one of them.
“Gay Pride is boring,” said the self-described poet and resident of Williamsburg.
The Observer story is that the affluent gays are staying away but the quotes all sound familiar to me. If the financial picture is truly “bleak” maybe Heritage of Pride, the non-profit, has grown too big. It wouldn’t be the first time. The dance on the pier has always funded the event, the rally that kicks off the week has never been big or all that interesting and I don’t care that the street fair’s been canceled - how many Souvlakis and gay flags can one person buy?
When I was young I agreed with Nick. I spent my summers on Fire Island and Pride Parades were of little interest to me. Sometime in my thirties I began to enjoy them as festive gay holiday celebrations. Like Halloween, but in summer. I remained fairly jaded about it but stayed in town every year and meandered through. As it happens, I’ll be doing that this Sunday; and I’m happy for it.