Fort Lauderdale’s Wilton Manors Stonewall Festival:
Oceans of Diversity
For the first time in my life as a gay man I wasn’t just an observer but a participant in a gay pride event, and Fort Lauderdale’s, held this past Saturday in the heart of America’s current gay capital, Wilton Manors, was one that could even give NYC’s a run for its money. I had a table hustling my novels of gay erotica under my pen name, RP Andrews, (http://hardcoregayeroticabyrpandrews) shared with my buddy Mike who publicly debuted for the first time his work as a digital artist, even selling some pieces. (You can find his stuff at http://ttablewheymontage.blogspot.com.)
My buddy Mike the artist and me the hard core porn writer by our table.
Yes, there was us vendors and the now traditional parade, and yes even a glorious hot and sweat South Florida afternoon to shine on us – what is a Gay Pride celebration without sweat – but what struck me most were the oceans of diversity that passed by our table. It was if no two people were quite alike, and it was then that I came to my own private conclusion that our people, the gay people of the world, are by far the most diverse people of humanity. Yes, there were those of us who conformed to our subculture’s’s niches, the drags and the leather men and the jockstrapped exhibitionists and butch cut girls, but so many, so many others projected our own “this is me, damn it!” attitude that made this day – our day – particularly special.
As an exhibitor I had the rare opportunity to chat with some young guys and gals (one twenty something young man thought I was sexy – thank you gay God) and to all of them I remarked that, despite Trump, this was a great time to be gay.
True, as a child of the late sixties, I was a part of the gay liberation movement that followed Stonewall, but I still lived and worked for the most part in a world where being homosexual was a stigma. Today, even the highest in our society can be chastised, even banished for making a mere homophobic remark. But my young people, as happy and excited as they were, the joy of the day lighting up their faces, didn’t quite see it that way, and intimated they wanted more.
Damn right we do. Yea, we’ve come a long way baby, but we ain’t quite there yet. But numbers speak louder than words and if the thirty five thousand people who came to Wilton Drive on Saturday are any indication, getting there is just a heartbeat away.
Happy Pride, not just on our day, but everyday of our lives.