Thursday, July 7, 2011

A father's perspective on Twin Cities Pride 2011

Today we get a firsthand account of Twin Cities Pride from Jude Higdon-Topaz, who lives with his husband, Chad, and their daughter Maya in Minnesota.

My husband Chad and I have celebrated Pride while living in six major metro areas over the years, but Twin Cities Pride is definitely our favorite. Sure, it lacks the over-the-top pageantry of Los Angeles, the sheer massive numbers of San Francisco, and the overcrowded, sweatiness of Chicago, but we have always felt that the festival in the Twin Cities, which is a bit more understated and maybe even a bit homey feeling, most closely matches our own values and lives.

Don't get us wrong, we still have our share of boys with painted-on abs in thongs, and our drag queens, but we also have a lot of families, and local businesses, and unions - everyday guys and gals, and, increasingly, their kids. Plus, our local and state politicians know they better show up. And they do, without apology or equivocation.

Jude and Maya
This year was a special pride for us because our daughter is now 2 1/2 years old. It wasn't her first Pride (she's been going with us since she was an infant), but it was her first Pride where she really understood what was going on and could participate. She spent her time dancing in the street when there was music, and painfully and fastidiously picking up thrown candy and other parade paraphernalia (beads, wrist bands, rub-on tattoos) and carefully distributing them up and down the row of parade attendees ("they're my friends, Papa!") on the east side of Hennepin Ave where we were camped out to watch the festivities. 

We are already beginning to instill a sense of civic pride and responsibility in Maya, so we carefully explained who all of the politicians were and where they stood on important issues that we care about. She got to shake hands with Senator Al Franken, and we waved and blew kisses to Senator Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum.

We attended with our friends Barbara and Robin; our little Maya adores them both. They spent time dancing in the streets together and swapping beads and trading crowns and other jewels -- ya know, girlie stuff.

Chad and Maya
Chad is a professor at Macalester College, so when the Scots came by we had to run out and say "hi" to all of our friends. Maya felt very important being mixed in with the parade crowd.It was also fun running out to meet Sean, a straight ally and friend who was walking with the Cub Foods float. Sean is a 22 year-old Midwestern biking guy (it's a type -- you'd know it if you lived here). He looked incredibly out of place with one pants leg rolled up and his frat-boy baseball cap on, but as soon as he saw Maya he smiled and gave us both a big hug and kept throwing lotion and tissues and other free items from the float into Maya's hands. She squealed with delight and asked for more.

One of the real highlights of the parade was when a float went by full of sexy, dancing boys -- I think it was for one of the clubs that Chad and I are now too old and too domesticated to frequent. A very beautiful Latino man on the float caught site of Maya and beckoned for me to bring her over. He reached down, dusted her with glitter, and offered her a choice of flavors in freezer pops. To my surprise, she chose green (she's usually pink or blue in everything.) He smiled and blew us both a kiss as the float moved on. It was incredibly sweet.

All in all it was a wonderful day, and Maya fell asleep talking about how much fun she had at the parade.


Shannon Drury said...

It WAS a beautiful parade--my two children thought so too. Thank you for this lovely post.

Carrie N. said...

Jude, I really loved reading this. It made me miss the Twin Cities (I live in Alabama now - changing hearts and minds one state at a time!) God bless your family. Carrie

Carrie N. said...

Jude, I really loved reading this. It made me miss the Twin Cities (I live in Alabama now - changing hearts and minds one state at a time!) God bless your family. Carrie

Anonymous said...

Love it!! As a past celebrant in New York and San Francisco, I too have affinity for our much smaller, but lovely celebration here in Charleston, WV. If your kids are like ours (son, age 12 and daughter, age 9), she will always look very forward to this annual family/community tradition.
Straight Ally Amy
West Virginia

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