I have never gone to a Pride celebration before this summer. Frequently, I barely miss it, living too far a drive from any towns that host parades or other celebrations. And there was the summer I lived in Atlanta, which has Pride in the cooler month of September to better accommodate outdoor festivities. This year, it’s like I had a stroke of opposite luck- I randomly was going to be in Boston for my friends 21st birthday party, and she wasn’t free until late afternoon. Plenty of time to meet up with friends and head to Copley Plaza to watch the parade go by.
My friend Mark (who I was lucky enough to go on a cruise with earlier this year) picked me up from my sister’s apartment, both of us slightly late from waiting in too-long lines for our iced coffees. We then drove through Newton, with him giving me a tour of his weird little section of the town while we drove to meet with our friend Max (who I was lucky to become friends with on the aforementioned cruise), his little sister, and some of her friends. Then, we walked to the T Stop.
If there’s something I’m not good at, it’s navigating train systems. There’s something about the way that they’re laid out that has always been really difficult for me to wrap my head around. This is likely also because train systems are only discussed by people who are on those trains a lot. In my two days in Boston, the amount of times I heard someone complain about the Green Line was borderline annoying- it’s like everyone I was hanging out with randomly learned how to speak French and was only communicating in said language. So, I speak from a place of small-town inexperience and naivety when I say that probably my favorite experience of Pride was taking the Green Line from Newton into the city.
First thing’s first, we ran slightly late, which made me need to run to the terminal to get my ticket printed. Then, moments after ripping my ticket from the electronic kiosk, the train pulled up. Doors opened to reveal one of the most packed train cars I’d ever seen in my life. My party was split into two groups, and Mark and I enjoyed probably-too-loud catching up conversation, and people watching. On the train was an equal mix of Red Sox fans (including a 7-year-old girl who seemed to be very annoyed that she and I were holding on to the same handrail) on their way to a game, and people decked out in their loudest, most colorful Pride outfits. And then, once even more people had squished themselves into the train car, the train totally stopped moving. Two trains ahead of us, one of the Green Lines had derailed. And because of this, sports fans and Pride celebrators alike had to get off of the train we were on and walk the rest of the way to our respective destinations.
June 8th (the day of the parade) was absolutely gorgeous. And having to walk gave me a chance to get to know some of the people I was celebrating Pride with. It also allowed me to stop by a CVS and buy sunscreen, and I don’t think I would have survived watching the parade without this addition. We also had the treat of walking right through the streets that were blocked off for the parade lineup, giving us a sneak peek of the floats, performers, and other displays that we were going to see parade past us later on.
We got too-big-to-be-size-small Italian Ice’s from a street cart and stood waiting for the parade to start. The best thing that I noticed about Pride, that anybody who has gone to a Pride event has probably experienced, is the amount of sheer joy that people are experiencing. There’s nothing quite like cheering for the Boston LGBTQ Senior’s Housing association as they ride by on their three consecutive floats, or the guy who just strutted by with a cowbell and a tutu on. People have the opportunity to be their happiest selves as loud as possible. And having the opportunity to cheer that kind of self expression on was a gift.
There were, of course, a few people who didn’t get the memo. We awkwardly speed-walked past a man with a megaphone, screaming about God and Repentance with a black banner with flames outlining all of it’s text. Rainbow flags were handed out with company logos competing for space on the rainbow. But their voices weren’t the loudest. The loudest were the woops, the whistles, and the cheers, and the celebrating– The love, baybee.
There are still a few weeks left of Pride- If you feel so compelled, make this month matter. If you’re an ally like me, then find a way to support the LGBT+ people in your community. If you’re in Maine or New England, please look into supporting OUT Maine, a resource that educates and advocates