Why I Still Love Gay Pride

6.25.2006

By Out.com Editors

Wichita's pride was an event where everyone in the community'the L's, the G's, the B's, and the T's'really did work together to make the celebration happen. When I arrived in Wichita, the organizer of the event bragged, 'The Wichita Bears volunteered to do our food. They're running our barbecue.' That inspired my first joke of my performance, which was, 'Let's hear it for the Wichita Bears for volunteering to cook the food for today's event.' After the crowd applauded I added, 'Maybe it's just me, but does it disturb anyone else that the hairiest members of our community are cooking the food? I don't see any full-body hairnets.' From the stage I could see the Wichita Bears grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. The bears laughed along with the crowd but then one very hairy man got me back by bringing me a hamburger while I was on stage. Of course I took a bite, swallowed, and then pretended to pick a hair from my teeth.

My favorite gay pride is Juneau, Alaska's. Juneau is the state capital but the entire city and surrounding area have a population of only 45,000. It has no gay bars and is, in fact, the only capital city in the U.S. that you can't drive to. You have to fly or take a boat to get to Juneau because the ocean and impassible mountains and glaciers surround the entire city.

Eight years ago, Juneau pride was started when Jeremy Nolden and Chris Beane, with the assistance of their close-knit circle of friends, decided that Juneau needed a public gay event.

Chris is an artist and for years he designed the poster for Juneau's pride. The first year Chris put up posters for Juneau's pride, they were almost immediately torn down. Many businesses'even gay-owned businesses'were afraid to put pride posters in their windows. But when I performed at Juneau's pride a few years ago, every business in town displayed pride posters in their windows. The mayor of Juneau even spoke at the pride event, which was held in the six-car parking lot of the Silverbow Inn and Bakery.

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