Pride March NYC 1976
In early summer David and I traveled by train to New York for the Gay Pride Parade. It had been seven years since Stonewall. The 1969 riot in Greenwich Village erupted after police raided a gay bar in the city and the occupants resisted, jump-starting the gay rights movement.
That day, we waved jauntily to a busload of tourists from Kansas who were hanging out the windows and snapping pictures of us in our rainbow t-shirts and tiaras. The mood was upbeat and joyous, the attire outrageous and colorful. David and I were marching in front of a float full of drag queens in reflective mirrored sequins, huge speakers blaring Donna Summer’s “Love to Love You Baby.” We were swept up in the moment, singing along and laughing, gay and proud, our arms around each other’s shoulders. Among the crowd, I saw smiling faces—people of all ages waving rainbow flags and giving us the thumbs-up.
Then David squeezed my shoulder. “Oh God, Patroosk, they’re filming us for the TV news.”
I flinched, remembering we had to hide our sexual orientation from our employers.
The year of the Stonewall uprising was the same year I came out of the closet as a lesbian in San Francisco. Then I had to hide in the closet in Salt Lake City, and again during my difficult internship. It had been challenging being in the minority as a woman, let alone as a lesbian, in the medical field.
For this one day, our first gay pride parade, we could freely announce to the world who we were, and revel with other gays and lesbians—with pride.
The hell with hiding. I stepped in front of the camera.