Pride, Family, Parade, Hudson
Though it affected all Americans, no group was hit harder by the recent tragedy in Orlando than the lgbtq community. It is difficult to know the best way to react, and there is no right answer. Collective grief can all too easily easily morph to anger, outrage and fear which in turn has the danger of leading to retaliatory and inflammatory reactions, which was tempting, even for someone like me. I became particularly incensed by conservatives who patronizingly claim that the proposed ban on Muslims entering this country was in the best interest of gay people because all Muslims "want to kill the gays". When the official platform of the Texas Republican Party adopted in 2016 includes the statement " Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, in public policy, nor should family be redefined to include homosexual couples", my immediate reaction is to get on a soap box and shout at them to look at themselves. Luckily after a couple of deep breaths, I know there are definitely more ways to show who I am and who we are.
That is why I found the Hudson Pride parade this past Saturday such a cathartic experience.
From the parades outset, there was an overwhelming spirit of positivity. The number of young people participating really gives one hope for the future, and the message "We Are Family" rang loud and true, with many parents and children joining the festivities.
The overall tone of the messages displayed by the marchers, was positive and affirming.also As in any self-respecting Pride parade, there was plenty of room for creativity, and even a little silliness!
As the parade continued, it was clear a wide spectrum of people and groups in Hudson were represented. Gay, straight, private businesses, religious and political organizations all came out, and what was wonderful was you couldn't differentiate between who was gay and who was straight in the parade, and more importantly, it didn't matter.
Thus the parade drew to an end. Crowds dispersed and the afternoon morphed back into another glorious Saturday afternoon in the Hudson Valley (almost). Scattered about the city were just enough reminders e of what happened earlier, bringing a smile, or tear.
The day was affirming. There was a moment of silence observed, but strong signs of protest, condemnation and calls for retaliation were notably absent. For a few, all too brief hours, we were reminded of what it is possible to be as an individual, town, community and even the larger world.
I can't think of a more fitting tribute to the victims of Orlando.