Welcome to Monday Musings, a series where I review books that I read pre-end of 2017, when I started writing wrap-ups, talk about characters or topics that aren’t as relevant, or sometimes a surprise non-bookish thing. This week, we’re talking about something I’ve wanted to do for a long time–I WENT TO BOSTON’S PRIDE PARADE!
oh my gosh I know I missed a Shakespeare post we’re all pretending it’s not happening
Okay, so, first of all, I am The Cutest, I know. I also had an amazing time. I just wanted to chat quickly about what I was expecting, how the day played out, and what my thoughts are now.
Were my expectations unrealistically high? Um, duh. I went with my friends, Alex (above) and Noreen, and this picture is on the train in. There’s going to be an after on the train home, and it’s funny because I look completely NUTS and Alex looks absolutely exhausted, and I think that pretty much speaks to our individual personalities really well.
I mean, it’s Boston. It’s Pride. I’ve heard things. I was so ready for this to be the most insane day of my life. I was ready for crazy outfits, lots of dancing, being bonkers tired by the end, and a solid two hours of parade probably. I thought it’d be a fun little (LITTLE) trip into Boston.
I didn’t do a lot of prep. I figured I’d bring water, but we’d find food along the way. Hopefully, we’d march at the end of the parade and get to the festival that way. I knew I wanted to wear some overalls, so I stole a pair from my sister and then ended up stealing one of her tie-dye shirts, too. I got glitter last minute, cancelled my second yoga class so we’d get in on time to see Mayor Walsh do the ribbon-cutting, and stayed up late watching Queer Eye “in preparation.”
FIRST THINGS FIRST, hi here’s a link for the Highlight on my Instagram, which is basically just a wild look at the day’s events and then some rambles from me at the end.
Were my expectations met? Y’ALL, THEY WEREN’T HIGH ENOUGH.
Let’s back up a tiny bit. We left my house around 10AM, drove to Oak Grove in Melrose so that we could take the train in, and then I left my phone in the car after I’d already crossed the barrier and so had to go back out and lose my roundtrip on my train ticket. This is predictable, honestly. I had my overalls, my rainbow tie-dye shirt, my bi flag in glitter already done on my face, and my rainbow flag was in my backpack (also stolen from my sister). My phone was fully charged, my hopes were high, and I hadn’t finished my Earl Grey, but I was amped up anyway.
We switched at North Station from the Orange to the Green line and took the train into Copley, where the parade was supposed to be starting. There was also a Red Sox day game happening, so the train ride was pretty hilarious. It was about half rainbow people, half Sox fans.
Copley Square was a true madhouse when we arrived. I mean, I knew there were going to be thousands of people there, but it’s hard to actually visualize thousands (and thousands) of people in your head until you’re actually witnessing it. The parade ended up starting down on Clarendon, but we wandered around Copley for a little bit, just taking in the sights.
We ended up not too far from the start on Clarendon. There were a couple of motorcycle gangs ahead of us, but Marty’s float was behind us, so we got to see him in full view, which I was very excited about. I definitely scream I LOVE YOU at him as he’s passing by in my Story.
Okay, so the parade itself. I just love that it starts with motorcycle gangs because it’s, like, in society’s eyes, the most manly group you can be part of, but also the most inclusive ever, so that was really awesome. We stayed on Clarendon for about an hour and a half, and it was everything that I hoped for. Huge, crazy loud speakers pumping out It’s Raining Men and I Will Survive and Lady Gaga and all sorts of other goodies. There was even a Rocky Horror Picture Show float! Glitter cannons, drag queens everywhere (ughhhhh, there was this absolutely stunning queen that walked past us wearing this flowing ethereal silver gown, and girl you Killed It), Mardi Gras beads being thrown everywhere, and THIS ONE OUTFIT! IT WAS A RAINBOW TUTU! BUT IT WAS FULL SKIRT LENGTH! AND I NEED IT!
After, we were starting to get tired and had all sat down, so we decided to find some food. I checked the marching lineup on Boston Pride’s website, and the marchers in front of us had assembled at 11:30AM and it was already 1:40PMish, so I was starting to realize we were in for a much longer haul than I’d thought. Plus, I was desperate to see and support (as loudly as possible) Planned Parenthood, and they didn’t assemble until 2:15PM, so we figured it was best to kill a little time.
Walking down the middle of Boylston was a pretty surreal experience. Like, when am I ever going to get to do that again? We stopped at Panera for lunch, and by the time we were making our way back to the parade, it was around 3PM. We stopped at an intersection on Boylston for about an hour, and then we decided to start to make our way toward the festival and just follow the parade. A cop had informed us that we were probably looking at a 5PMish end time, and it was around 4PM already.
We started to follow the parade route for a while, but eventually broke off in the Commons to walk in the shade. It was an absolutely glorious day weather-wise. We honestly couldn’t have asked for better. 70 degrees, full sun, a constant breeze–it was a dream. While walking through the Commons, we happened to stumble across the Cookie Monstah truck, and, I mean, come on, you can’t just walk past the Cookie Monstah truck. I got the classic sandwich, chocolate chunk with vanilla ice cream, which is all handmade and freaking delicious.
Eventually, we found our way back to the route, though it was heralded by this INSANE speaker system in the trunk of a car. Like, I think the speakers were as tall as me and as wide as the car. It was amazing. We spent a good street or two dancing, and then we stopped again about 5 minutes away from Government Center, where the route ended. After checking the marching lineup, I realized if we just stayed put for 10 or so minutes, we’d get to see Planned Parenthood, so with 13% battery life, I hoarded my Story time and patiently waited.
Yes, I screamed the entire time they were going by. Don’t @ me.
After that, we continued onto the festival, though we didn’t stay long. I wanted to stop in at the PP booth to sign up to volunteer in the future and get a button, as well as the Boston Ballet one because they were doing a raffle for Nutcracker tickets. I wasn’t able to find the BB one, but did check in at PP. It was about 5PM at that point, and we were all exhausted, so we hopped on the train and went home, arriving around 6PM, making it a solid eight-hour adventure. Little? Ha, naive girl I am.
If you watched my Highlighted Story on Instagram, a lot of my thoughts are in there, but in case you didn’t/don’t want to, here we are! Also, that’s us (above) on the train home, and boy oh boy were we pooped.
Two things really stand out to me from Saturday.
One: the cops. I saw a sign while we were on Clarendon–no cops at pride, just biderman. It got me thinking a little, and I want to preface this with I understand why people don’t want cops at pride. I get it, I do.
But realistically? You need cops at an event like this. There were THOUSANDS of people there, not to mention over 400 marchers, 44% of which were businesses that often had floats, and there were assholes. There was a guy holding a sign that was basically you’ll burn in hell, let jesus save you, and all I could think about was what if that guy had a gun? And what if there were no cops there because so many people had protested against it, and that asshole decided to shoot someone, and there was no one there to help? I understand why people don’t want cops at Pride, but also, you’re kind of setting yourself up to get hurt.
What if a float accidentally hit someone? People were not being careful in the streets; they were definitely getting too close. The EMTs were set far back from the actual route, so it would take them time to get there in case of an emergency, but there were cops setup at different intervals along the route that could be there pretty quickly.
And honestly, of all the cops that I saw, which were quite a few, they were usually only one or two, they were out of the way, and they were really pleasant. The few that we talked to or encountered wished us a happy Pride and were all smiles.
I also kept thinking that probably a few of them, if not a good portion of them, might have asked for this shift specifically because they supported it and they wanted to make sure it stayed a fun and safe event.
Look. I know I come from a place of privilege. I’m white, and I live in a relatively safe area. I’ve never been harassed by someone in the police force, and hopefully I never will, so I can’t speak from that perspective. And I’m not trying to say that anyone else’s perspective on this is wrong. This is just my observation of the day, and why I think that cops at pride are a good idea.
Second: WOW! The sheer level of pure joy and love and acceptance I witnessed was amazing. People were literally just shouting love at each other. Everyone was smiling and dancing and having a generally amazing time. It was a beautiful coming together of people, and I feel so blessed that I was finally able to attend.
I can’t wait for next year’s Pride, and I’m kind of hopeful that someday I’ll work up the nerve to go to New York. I’m grateful for the people that supported me and came along, and I’m just so happy. It was a great day.
Until next year, AND HAPPY PRIDE!!!