What I Loved about Pride This Year

As a species, we’re changing; let’s dance!

Danni Michaeli, MD
Prism & Pen
5 min readJul 1, 2023

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Photo by julien Tromeur on Unsplash

The last few years, between the pandemic and parenting, I wasn’t able to get out dancing for Pride, but I made it this year! There’s this outdoor place, an oasis in New York City, with dirt paths and weedy trees. All homegrown and haimish. At some point I took a break from the dance floor to take it all in: the music, the people, the setting, the circumstances. And I thought to myself, “there’s some really weird shit happening here.”

My love affair with dancing happened as a high school freshman. My friends invited me to go to a B52’s concert, happening on a Sunday night, a school night, and in the city. I lived in Queens, one of the “outer boroughs,” which meant I had to walk a mile to the subway and take two or three trains to get anywhere that mattered. I couldn’t believe it when my parents said yes, and off I went. The concert kind of sucked, but I was out with my friends in the city dancing in the aisles to a cool band. It was all glorious.

After that, I started going out a lot. Back then, bands often played at dance clubs in the middle of the night, after midnight. I’d head into the city around 10 pm, we’d dance for a few hours to some cool beats and then the show would start. Then a 4 AM subway ride back to Queens. It’s hard to imagine now, but because no one was proofed, we could go out to bars and clubs at any age. It was a very free time, and it only got better.

New Wave music, now called 80’s music, was very danceable, synthesized but melodic and playful. For years I savored that music, decades later meeting my future husband at a weekly 80’s dance party.

I’ve kind of grown out of that music these days. Some of it is on my Spotify, but I couldn’t bear to digest it all the time. When I go out to a club these days, I’m not looking for Madonna, Wham or The Human League.

So, here I am at a club; what’s the new scene?

When you go out clubbing now, the music has an aggressive beat which you could describe as pots and pans combined with sounds from other planets. Sometimes the DJ will throw in something meditative followed by jackhammering and a sequence shifts. Some of it is very danceable in its own frenetic way, but a lot sounds serious and incomprehensible.

The music’s weird, and the people look pretty weird, too. I do love the creativity even if it doesn’t all work for me. It’s hard to put together a look that really works, if you’re even trying at all. Hey, I lived through the 80’s. I know.

During the 80’s, our species was trying to do something new. Everything got bigger, louder, more colorful. Big hair, big colorful suits, angular shoulders and thick clown makeup. Eventually we gave up and settled into black, grey and denim. I know the 80’s looked like a big mess, but we all tried; yay, humanity!

In my reflection about all this, I took in the weirdness and my mind started thinking about those other people: our saviors.

Our saviors see fluid young people today, experimenting with identity and self-expression, and are afraid for humanity. They want to parent humanity, to usher us back to a more recognizable time when things were simpler and more predictable.

Some of the saviors are bad people, hateful, who want to dominate, control, and subjugate the rest of us. But some are well-meaning and loving, historic allies who worry about all the short-sighted and damaging choices, choices which our actual families are neglecting or worse, sanctioning.

I understand. I’m also a parent. Naturally, I worry about my kid, but with that said, our saviors are missing something vital.

People look like this and music sounds like this because we’re creating it collectively, as a species. Just like in the 80’s, humans are up to something. This is god’s plan unfolding.

You can’t stop the weirdness in the same way you can’t stop the rising oceans with sandbags. It’s the nature of nature, and it’s so much more powerful.

To be real; this isn’t the weirdest we can be. In the future, when we’re living most of the time in virtuality, when the robots are (finally!) doing everything for us, people will have three heads and six arms and tails and horns and wings and be green and red and striped. Their bodies will be customizable and their outfits will match perfectly. And everyone will look different, truly unique.

Each person will transform themselves into whatever they want to look like, and it will represent their authentic self. Only humans can do it. Because we are not like other species on the planet. We have imagination and creativity and ambition. We’re capable and competent. Each of us is complicated in our own unique ways, we’re regularly transforming, and we can’t be contained by the past. We really can’t, and we never will. Human beings are amazing not because of who we are but because of who we are becoming, which is boundless. That’s why the queer umbrella is widening; it’s welcoming humans from the future. That’s what Pride is all about: the future.

I’ve written before about my experience at the very violent Jerusalem Pride parade, where Pride represented freedom of self expression, and the future over the past. This Pride, I was surrounded by that. I celebrate what we’re becoming, the children of god, designed to be creative engines of change, not static objects of conformity.

There are a lot of things about the past which I love. Would I want those things back? Some, for sure. But I also want the best of the future. Does that even matter? I’m not in charge. We’re creating the future by committee, a committee of 8 billion people. We’ll continue to make mistakes, or maybe wise choices which look like mistakes at first glance; that’s the process of growth. It’s not linear, and often, it’s not recognizable. Future humans aren’t going to live like me, and they shouldn’t. That would be boring, and frankly, inorganic. That’s not what we are designed for.

I suppose the past has always wrestled with the future at every moment in time. It just feels like the distance between the past and the future is pretty vast right now. Luckily for us, in the struggle between the past and the future, the future always wins.

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Danni Michaeli, MD
Prism & Pen

A psychiatrist and a dreamer, I'm always listening for the magic and wondering what we're all doing here.....