Monday, June 25, 2007

the last sunday in june

To watch the Gay Pride Parade from beginning to end requires a level of endurance that I have never had. Despite watching it for several hours yesterday, I still ended up leaving before the end, probably way before the end, too exhausted from standing in the sun, clapping and cheering. The parade itself and the mass of people on the street, most of them gay, made me really happy, this mass of people, of gays, occupying so many city streets.

There is that, big swell of happiness to be surrounded by so many smiling and accepting humans, and then there are other moments, moments that tamper those fits of happiness. In past years, bored with the parade, I have always retreated to the Christopher Street Piers, have hung out there in the sun with lots of other gays, everyone enjoying the water, the sun, and the large mass of people sharing this same setting with them. This year, for reasons which I still don't understand and can only interpret in hateful ways, the city had the piers blocked off. These piers, a public park, which are open every other day of the year were closed on the one day when they are put to the most use.

It seems pretty apparent that they were closed to prevent a mass of people from congregating there, and yet people still congregated right outside the piers, on the little pathways along the water. Everyone who would normally have hung out on the piers were instead forced to convene in even tighter spaces. The piers are a non-commercial space open to all. It is not a bar setting where you have to be 21, a drinker, of a certain look, and of a certain gender to be admitted entrance to. That the city would close off this space on the day of the gay parade seemed and still seems to be an incredibly hostile gesture. It should also be noted that most of the people who hang out on the piers are young people of color, black and Latino teens. The closing of the piers yesterday, more than an anti-gay gesture, seemed to me to be a racist and classist gesture.

While these twin piers were closed off to the public, closed off to the mostly young and black people who would have used them, a couple blocks further up the river, Pier 54, another public space was open, having been rented out to Heritage of Pride. That pier was open to the richer, to the mostly white, and to the almost entirely male gays for the Dance on the Piers, a $50 event.

What occurred yesterday was fucking bullshit and made me so mad, made me even madder due to how well-coordinated it was, how big the police presence was on the piers, how they had taken the time to plan how best to block off access to the Christopher Street Piers, and how in the face of this, nothing could really be done, that all of these people who wanted to be on the piers were instead forced to stand outside them and bear that fact, to accept their exclusion, our exclusion, from a public park, from spaces that belong to us.

I could mythologize a little, could stretch for meaning, and say that my actions later on in the evening were a response to this being pushed, were me pushing back against mores and restrictions, that my actions later on in the night at the Cock were a conscious engagement in radical queer actions, that by getting my dick sucked all night long by strangers in the basement I was engaging in serious political actions asserting transgressive behavior, but doing that, trying to make that analogy, would be a little disingenuous on my part. I think that might be there, that that might have been present somewhat in there, the brash assertion of queer sexuality without apology, but more at the forefront of my mind was my own horniness and the many drinks consumed that egged that horniness on.

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