Sometimes it is difficult here to discern the difference between a parade and a march. Newlyweds and their loved ones, graduates, dancers, gay pride revelers, fifteen-year-olds and their families, even pet-owners parade through the streets like clockwork.
The teachers clearly march. They are not accompanied by bands and dancers and flags. They have signs and megaphones.
The gay rights march, on the other hand, seemed to be a hybrid between the two: a colorful and exuberant celebration of self and love and freedom paired with signs and megaphone-led chants about rights for all.
I stayed in character, the character of tourist, taking pictures from the sidelines, asking questions while simultaneously learning more about the message, and, most importantly, about how hard it was to organize a crowd of proud gay rights activists to march in a world where tragedies, like Orlando’s, can ignite in an instant.
This realization scared me for a second, and then I knew I needed to allow myself to be swept up in whatever this might be.
I can’t help but think of Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric.” Following in an excerpt:
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
The love of the body of man or woman balks account, the body itself balks account,
That of the male is perfect, and that of the female is perfect.
- Sing something. Sing the oblivion of winter or the color of the sky on an impossibly early morning or the blues of August as school creeps closer.