Clothed on a Nude Beach (and Proud of It?)
This year, it was the same, but seemed somehow different. When someone wearing a mask to disguise himself came out on his balcony on boulevard Henry IV to post the anti-gay marriage pink and blue banners, the crowd at the annual Gay Pride Parade Saturday booed him and held up middle fingers to show their disdain. Warnings were out for anti-gay activity, but there wasn’t more than this nor was there much on the news about any violence or clashes.
The gay-friendly crowd that participates as marchers or observers are quite different from their opposing counterparts. The anti-gay demonstrators during a recent rally (I was there to take photos with my daughter) was a very homogenous group with serious expressions on their faces. This contingency was (and is) “au contraire” — as full of life and as multicultural as anyone can imagine, especially on this day in this environment…where anything goes…and does!
Like being the only clothed person on a nude beach, as a heterosexual well outnumbered by homosexuals on this one day every year, it’s easy to wonder which is the norm. In fact it’s one of the reasons this day is special — it’s a day when I am free to reflect on who I am as a sexual being, why I am who I am, what’s good or bad about it and how I feel about sexuality on the whole.
Each year the outrageousness of the parade seems to wane. There are fewer costumes (it seems) and a bit less zealousness. Perhaps that’s because the gay community has made tremendous strides in accomplishing equal rights and therefore while still proud, they simply don’t have to work so hard to get noticed. Most of my gay friends don’t ‘wear their homosexuality on their sleeves’ and just are who they are without having the need to prove anything.
This past week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) declaring that “same-sex couples who are legally married deserve equal rights to the benefits under federal law that go to all other married couples,” was a landmark decision for the gay rights movement. This support from the U.S. must be putting a real kibosh on the French anti-gay rights contingency — perhaps that’s why we didn’t hear much from them on Saturday, and they knew they were outnumbered (like being clothed on a nude beach!)
For what it’s worth, they’ve threatened to exploit the international exposure of the Tour de France as a venue for voicing their opposition to the “marriage for all” law that came into force in May. They intend to be visible in the news media at every stage of the race.
If you’re following the Tour de France, then you know they started the race in Corsica, in the very spot where I’ll become a ‘lizard’ on the beach this coming August (clothed, nude or otherwise) — Porto-Vecchio/Bastia and today at Ajaccio/Calvi. I am soooo jealous! (Although, being on a bike is not my idea of heaven!)
The race ends on the Champs-Élysées Sunday, July 21st (Stage 21) at dusk, about 9:45 p.m. and is expected to be ‘magical.’ Lance Armstrong won’t be there this year (duh!) and strangely enough, his name has been totally removed from the official Web site. (Do a search on the site and you find nothing!) It’s as if he never existed even though he won seven times from 1999 to 2005. He’s since been stripped of his titles, and recently told Le Monde that he couldn’t have won without ‘doping.’
I wouldn’t be able to, either! (Joke)
A la prochaine…
Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC
(In drag for Pride)
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