This year marks the 6th NYC pride that Tracy and I have attended and the 5th that Renuka has accompanied us. Like my commentary from the previous post, we found ourselves right where we were meant to be. The previous years we were at a different location further up Christopher Street, however due to a series of events that morning, we ended up having to select a new spot. While being different, the new spot was more than adequate.
Let me backtrack a bit.
The first year that Tracy and I went to pride was because we had been selected to march in the parade as representatives of the former TV show “In The Life.” Having had so much fun marching, we decided to return the next year and observe. It was a blast! All of the people and colors and dancing and floats that we missed when marching were now there for our viewing and cheering pleasure!
We decided after that to make pride a yearly adventure. This year started off rainy and I wasn’t sure what the vibe would be as this was our first parade in the rain, however having been mere days after the Supreme Court ruling regarding marriage equality, I expected the rain to be no deterrent at all to the energy of the crowd or the marchers. As the parade got underway, the rain slowed and eventually stopped and then the sun came out in an almost symbolic gesture of hope, possibility, and change!
Amid the festivities, there are the occasional reminders of hatred and religious persecution and yet the response I felt within was that the old paradigms are dying, and people who are afraid of change are doing what they can to keep a sinking ship afloat. Politicians, judges, store owners, ministers, etc. who choose to believe in and practice forms of discrimination are slowly going the way of the dinosaur and unlike Jurassic Park they will not be brought back to life!
As I am writing this I recall two Facebook posts that were particularly inflammatory and prejudicial per se and I sit here reflecting to a time when I myself suffered from such anger, fear, hatred, and bible based oppression. I think of the fear, closed mindedness, and un-Christ-like love and compassion that stirs people to oppose, discriminate, and deny someone their right to marriage, employment, housing, medical treatment, to purchase a cake or shop in a hardware store!
Pride as it does each year, reminds me of our ability to stand as a diverse nation, a diverse planet and yet cooperate, co-create, and construct methods of uniting in harmony and compassion.
Pride brings to my mind thoughts of the indigenous Americans tradition where the Two Spirit serves many roles such as the shaman, the mage, the medicine person of the tribe. Where in that and other indigenous cultures this person serves as the gatekeeper of the community, the person who assists others in making the needed transformations from caterpillar to butterfly, from coal to diamond, and lead to gold!
I embrace this heritage as not only my ancestral calling from four different lineages but as a divine birthright, a sacred choice and responsibility that echoes the oft quoted line from Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
Mikala and Renuka left the group on Sunday, leaving Tracy, Sarah and I to one final day in the city. Tracy went to Maria Tash and chatted with Ashley about a new piercing, Sarah shopped at the Harley Davidson store (she was pretty excited about that), and we departed NYC and NJ down the highway to return home.
The going home is never quite the same; home always feels different somehow after such a journey. As we drove, I had the clear and obvious sign that this was just the beginning of my pilgrimage.
Namaste * Om Shanti * Shalom * As-Salaam-Alaikum *
So Mote It Be * E pili mau na pomaika`i ia `oe