L.A. Scene June ’09: Pride, Protests and Parties

Pride Parade 2009

This year marked my fifth consecutive Pride Parade. You’d think I’d finally remember to bring sunblock. You’d be wrong.

I live smack in the middle of the parade route and normally the helicopters eventually wake me up and I stagger downstairs to watch. This year, I pretended to be a grown-up and made reservations at an outdoor café along the route and set my alarm clock.

The first thing you see when you walk out my door every year is the hate group. This consists of about eight obese men who stand behind a police barricade with signs bearing groundbreaking slogans such as “It’s Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve.” I’m sure there are plenty of couples out their named Adam and Steve. How much does that suck for them? They probably try to go with Steve and Adam.

Anyway, I hear these same eight guys travel around to all the Pride Parades in the country and develop melanoma while posing for photos with people who think they are morons.

I know at this point you’re thinking, “Oh man, sorry I missed it.” Well you should be. Everyone else was fabulous. The revelers ran the gamut from parents with children in tow, to drag queens who looked amazing, to men who should have thought twice before strapping on only chaps.

Why is it always the men who dress for this occasion, be it leather or tiaras, whereas the women just throw on their flip flops and go?

Good thing I found a place to sit because the parade took hours this year. Whoever was organizing the thing at Crescent Heights Blvd. where the route started must have been stoned, as there were five minute lapses between … between … What do you call them? Acts? Clusters?

I can’t believe I missed the PFLAG parents this year. They are always my favorite. What’s a parade without a good cry? I must have dozed off.

Most of the, uh I guess I’ll go with “marchers,” held political signs, either about Prop 8 or in support of “Newsom 2010.” I’m ashamed to admit that I had no idea Gavin Newsom was running for anything. Turns out it’s for Governor. Guess that’s what signs are for. Also, guess that’s why I’m writing a column about lesbian nightlife and not working as a correspondent for CNN.

Chelsea Handler and her sidekick Chuy were the grand marshals. They looked beautiful and short, respectively. Why is the grand marshal always a straight woman who is favored by gay men? Why not someone who is, oh I don’t know, gay?

There were fewer floats and more random vehicles than in years past. A giant Gelson’s grocery store truck drove by, as did, inexplicably, an empty city bus with the word “SPECIAL” illuminated in the destination box.

When the parade finally ended I went to the festival in the park. Security stole my water on the way in so I only made it as far as the booths for Petco and laser hair removal services before I developed heatstroke. I’m told there was a very popular S&M booth. There’s always next year.

It was definitely time for a refreshment so I headed out. The Abbey is next door to the park and its walls were literally throbbing due to the mass of humanity inside.

A fire truck was stationed directly in front as it appeared to be just a matter of time before the place exploded. I decided it was maybe not the place to be.

I walked down Santa Monica Blvd. and stopped at the usually vacant Normandie Room, a lesbian bar that I often forget exists. It was shockingly packed.

After chatting with several friends and drunk people who thought they knew me, I got a text from my friend, and everyone’s favorite character actress, Maile Flanagan.

She had somehow managed to secure a table down the street and I went and joined her and her wife Lesa Hammett, along with another married lesbian couple. It was nice to sit with two of the lucky 18,000 who had gotten the chance to marry in the brief window. Maile and Lesa have been together for fourteen years and married last July. And they couldn’t be more proud.

And floats and crazy outfits aside, isn’t that what the day is really all about?

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