I went to the Gay Pride 2012 in Ottawa, my new city. I took several pictures but from another perspective, so that means, they aren’t that good like years before, why? Because this year I marched!
The parade started at 1pm, but I didn’t want to lose parking space in downtown. I arrived at 11.15am and I was killing time in one of the benches at Bank street. I was waiting also to a Shawarma restaurant open for having at early lunch. In the meantime, an Arab guy passed me by at looked very very weirdly. He did that twice, it was uncomfortable but well, what you expect when you’re sitting near the Comic Book Store, so many weird people were around too. Gay fashion Summer gays were walking down the street. Sure, you want a good spot to see the parade.
I stopped at Tim Horton’s for lunch, in fact a sandwich breakfast. I sat near the windows and outside there was Miss Leather Ottawa 2011, a beautiful black woman, wearing leather clothes and her whip. She was waiting for his friend, she pulled out a lighter from in between her breasts. I miss an opportunity to take a picture with her.
A young transgender passed by after, slim and tall, wearing no bras, she was cute, I noticed she with hormones because of her skin and breasts were from a teenager. At this point it was almost noon. So time to go to concentration point were all gay groups were gathering and start the gay pride.
I was walking and suddenly I was thinking…I’m going to be out but very out, people will take pictures of me, will people recognize me? I got a bit nervous but not that much. The concentration point was Confederation Park, that looked like dump park. I saw people decorating cars, balloons everywhere, I saw the leather group passed my by, and at the same time I was looking for the Federal Employees group. I wanted to march with them. I didn’t find it but then almost at the end, I recognize a face. A lesbian from Unitarian Church alone and waiting. I said hi and she said she was waiting for more people, she was the only one. I was feeling uncomfortable, I never got along with her or her wife. I asked for her baby, who is 7 months, she told me probably they will come to the parade too. To be honest, I didn’t care, I just asked those question because….as Sheldon says “social convention says so”. It was awkward, again, the phenomena of “if you don’t belong to a group, you’re outside”. I was writing a memo on my phone and I looked around she was talking on her phone too….so, I left without saying anything.
Just some meters away I found the group I wanted to march with. Sarah was there, the fatty founder leader with Johnatan. The banner with the Logo was almost ready. Our number #42, the Church was #84. Johnatan gave a Chinese umbrella, the had several from their grandparents, so smelled old but it was very fancy. A mini van came, the Forces of Canada would march with us too. I spoke to the Captain, who was originally from Russia, he was telling me he went to the Toronto Parade and Army gave them a jeep. Well, I guess in the capital for budget issues the mini van was a good option. Johnatan knew all men around, from the runners groups, the rugby group, the swimming group etc etc etc. All of them were from the same range age, over 45 years old. That was the most interesting thing. In general, the gay population in Ottawa is very young, most of them belong to University groups like Ottawa U or Carlenton U, Jewish group and so other I couldn’t see because I was in my spot not that free to get around.
At 1 the parade started to move slowly. I think we walk like 2 kilometers. Another girl came for the parade in our group. How many cat were marching for the Federal Employees Group? Just 4 cats, the minivan was behind us and another soldier, came later, so, the Forces were 2. Most Federal employees don’t want to be involved in public events, they prefer the suburb life and be out of trouble. Is being gay a problem? Could be, depending who your manager is or what position you have. But I this point of my life I wanted to live the live that I want.
I was holding the extreme of the left banner with my left hand and the right one the Chinese umbrella. A girl from X-tra magazine took a picture of me. Another guy with a huge camera took another pic of me. Officially out!.
We were marching slowly, what a feeling. You feel almost famous and at the same time invisible. I was wearing sunglasses, temperature was 31c and even more I think, I was saying to everybody Happy Pride people don’t look at you, they avoid eye contact, just few in that big crowd really looked at me. Some members of the Church were watching this spectacle, I recognize one from Sweden, the girl marching with us asked me “do you know her? I said “yes, she’s from Church” And she replied “so now you’re really out!”
In front of us, at the beginning, the aboriginal gay group was marching, with aboriginal instruments singing what? aboriginal songs….after, the Pride Parade crew stopped us and the Great Canadian Theater bus was playing very gay music. What a difference. I felt blessed for this music. They were throwing candies and chocolates. Us? no budget. In fact, Johnatan told me he was affected with the cuts at the government. He’ll know if he’ll be out in September when things become official. Sarah, I forgot to asked her and the other girl, she told me she was affected but probably in the second round could be.
At Bank street I saw a lesbian couple from Church and they hugged me. I felt great. I asked the girl to hold the banner because my arm was exhausted, and guess what she said “actually I don’t” I wanted to kill her, Sarah couldn’t holder either because a problem with her arm, but at the end, Johnatan exchanged with Sarah and the other girl with me. So the rest of the parade was cool for me, playing with my umbrella and saying Happy Pride to people who didn’t care at all.
The parade ended in a big gathering. There was a stage, many communitarian groups. Again, too many young kids around. A woman was staring at me from far. I got scared, I thought she was my ex, but false alarm, but she was beautiful. I don’t know if somebody found interesting but I felt alone in all the crowd. Sarah left and the other girl disappeared. I got a headache it was too hot. On stage Apocalipstick was playing. Not that bad, I hope they don’t have copyright troubles because there’s another group in Los Angeles with that name, and they’re tough girls. When I left the place, more and more people were coming. I decided to go home and take a cold shower. I deserved, my headache was becoming more serious, so I grabbed the car and went home. I drank a couple of liters of water. I hugged my cat and I was happy to have done a crazy thing. Conclusion, this town is almost taken for a new gay lesbian generation, the young ones, some radicals, some more adventurous, old school were almost nonexistent. Of course, they’re in couple or already married with kids living the suburban lifestyle that now gay people can deserve. I didn’t see many old people in 30’s or 40’s, more of 50’s I’d say….getting a bit out of the picture. Funny, how you, being a minority member can be excluded from another minority group. But, at least I’m trying what a normal gay do, trying to fit…trying and trying.