Things I learned at Pride this year, either at community day or during the parade:
1. A lot of people are completely clueless about the existence of the bi flag and the leather pride flag. Luckily, they ask questions. I don’t think I’ve done that much basic education in a long time!
2. Some gay men are intrigued by kinky women, but those same ones also tend to be very nervous about us. At least in Montreal. What happens is, they recognize something in the outfit, and their minds jump instantly to “kindred spirits!” except then they also notice the boobs or some other telltale sign, and they aren’t quite sure what to do. Sometimes they take photos and then run away. Sometimes they stop and have a conversation with one another while staring in the kinky women’s general direction. Sometimes they give you the eyeball and deliberately walk by. However, when you’re in Toronto or San Francisco, they compliment your outfit and want you to hit them or want to make out with you. Really, can’t we import some of that? Pretty please?
3. A true friend is she who runs up to you, as you march in the searingly hot sun wearing head-to-toe black PVC and absolutely melting, and hands you two bottles of chilled water with a big grin. (Note to self: next year, plan to ask a friend to do that on purpose, rather than being desperately mewlingly relieved when it happens by chance.)
4. At every Pride parade and related major queer outdoor event in every city in North America, there will be at least one bald shirtless muscleman with a live snake wrapped around his shoulders. Or so it seems from recent years. Maybe it’s the same guy and he just travels all over the place. Luckily, he’s very tolerant of strange women running up and wanting to pet his snake; he doesn’t make the obvious jokes, and he takes no offense that you’re much more interested in his scaly friend than in him.
5. Every year during the Pride parade, at least one person you know will be outed as something to someone they hadn’t told before – as gay to their work colleagues, as kinky to their gay friends, as poly to their straight friends, whatever. It never fails. Generally speaking, though, if the friend or colleague is at the Pride parade in the first place, they don’t have a major issue with your identity, whatever it may be.
6. Little old ladies fucking love dominant dykes. I have never experienced so many wizened specimens of womanhood giving me gleeful sly grins and mimicking spanking their husbands while they aren’t looking. They are absolutely delightful.
7. If you are going to spend six hours walking around in 7-inch-heel bitch boots, line up a friend to rub your feet for a loooong time afterwards. I neglected to do so this year, and am regretting it still. Anyone?… Anyone??…
8. There is a suspiciously enormous degree of overlap between the gender-bending queer population and the sadomasochistic queer population. I am not entirely sure what this is about, but it’s really quite fascinating. And hot. Did I mention the hot part? Just checking.
9. When you’re sitting at a booth for a queer women’s BDSM-related organization, it’s really easy to suss out a woman’s motivations when she approaches. They generally land in one of the following categories:
a) Methodically curious about each booth on the street and approaching as a matter of principle.
b) Giggly and titillated and wanting information to further both states, à la “Hee hee hee! So do you, like, whip each other an’ stuff?”
c) Clueless about BDSM, and while perhaps a bit adventurous in bed, not quite connecting with the leather/SM culture per se, and trying to figure out if the group holds any appeal or if it’s simply nice to know we’re out there.
d) Quietly taking in the fact that yes, kinky queer women do exist, and good lord, that means they might finally have found their home. That doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump in with both feet, but they clearly belong with us and they know it. This last one often cruises by several times before approaching.
10. The best moments of Pride are the ones that nobody plans for. The chance encounters, the unexpected. Not that planning is bad… simply that Pride is full of surprise of the very best kind.