Last weekend was Wichita Pride! We have an odd timing conundrum… pride month around the world is June, right? But Wichita in June is hot af, so a few years ago the committee decided to move our pride to September. Then they decided pride had gotten so big let's move it indoors to the convention center. Then covid happened and we cancelled all the indoor events. Whatever. We still held a rally and parade that were VERY well attended. The speakers joked that when the annual pride fest started in Wichita in the mid-2000s, no elected official would even acknowledge its existence. Now they want to come speak! We had the mayor of Wichita, who is a fantastic guy, Stephanie Byers, a trans woman elected to the Kansas Legislature, our county commissioner was there, lots of churches and companies and enthusiasts.
My daughter is someplace behind me holding up a flag. They announced before the rally that they needed flag holders especially young people, and we'd brought two of her friends with us who were immediately like OH WE MUST HAVE BIG FLAGS! Josie wouldn't normally jump up front for anything, but she was influenced. Her friends loved it, they'd never been to pride, they were amazed!
The rally started 30 minutes late (the first speaker said that's EARLY if you're on gay time) and then we paraded down main street for blocks and gathered outside the century ii convention hall to de-energize... the parade was high energy, and we crashed! the kids were worn out.
When Josie was little we called pride the "rainbow party" and went every year. There were bouncy houses and snow cones and coloring tables, what more could a kid want?
I was still worried she'd have bad memories. One year when she was 3 or 4, a flock of drag queens asked me if they could pick her up. I said sure... and they took her away. Josie realized she'd been kidnapped to a stage, lifted up by someone wearing monstrous eyelashes, looked at me with that WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME MOM THIS IS A HUGE NOOOO, and I tried clapping enthusiastically and then rescued her before a major breakdown.
Well she doesn't remember that at all! In 2019 when we missed it, she was mad at me. So back we went, and she was her usual quiet self, but smiling, happy, where her louder gayer friends zoomed around gathering party beads and candy and flags.
It was great to see everybody and great to see how pride has grown. I can't wait until covid is gone and we can finally have the tables and bouncy houses again, bring back a real pride with hours of shows and a week of events. But I'll take what we can get for now, at least we got together and I got to hug people and say "happy pride!" again.