Each year, the Captain and I walk in our city’s Pride Parade unless we’re vacationing in NYC. This year, we weren’t in NY— sad not to be there but happy to walk in our Pride Parade.
Our city is a blue oasis in a desert of red. We are surrounded by racism, homophobia, and sexism while we drink from the waters of compassion and acceptance.
Our city once had a feminist bookstore called Wild Iris. It was a safe haven for the LGBTQ community. A place of books, writing, knitting, eating, music, and sharing. I was honored to volunteer there and serve on the Board of Directors. Unfortunately and sadly, Wild Iris couldn’t survive the bookstore economy or the gentrification of our downtown and closed in 2017. I wrote this poem about losing one of the best bookstores and community spaces in our state:
The two women above were part of the Wild Iris backbone. Erica was a co-owner and Crystal was a Director. The Wild Iris gang used to walk in the Pride Parade with our Iris banner. Now, we choose to walk in support of other organizations but still stay together as the Iris gang. This year we walked with Planned Parenthood. In case you didn’t guess, Crystal was dressed as an IUD!
One of my favorite booths at the Festival was this one by a mental health group at the University. You could write what makes you proud or well on a piece of paper and attach it to the board. I wrote Writing on Medium (see lead photo) because writing here is what keeps me well and fills me with pride.
This year’s parade and festival were the largest ever as our community came out in full force to protest the hate and prejudice exhibited and condoned by our current administration.