Due to my busy week, I didn't finish my Pride Week postings. I've already told you about the Pride Breakfast, Pride Film Festival and The Drag-a-Palooza.
I had planned to watch our little Pride Parade (which happened a week ago) but had no intention of walking in it with the teachers' union. But my son and I got busy fixing his truck and my time with him took priority.
I wasn't really concerned about outing myself by joining the parade; I'm pretty out already! I worried that it would be awkward and embarrassing with a few dozen queers walking through our nearly-empty, decaying downtown core.
But it turned out to be a celebratory affair with a couple hundred participants with many more spectators. The Pride Parade and picnic received extensive media coverage with the full front page of our local paper and numerous spots on local TV and radio. I later regretted not participating and I plan to join the parade next year.
The main difference between our parade and a big city one like Toronto's Pride Parade was that there was much less skin showing. There were hot guys a-plenty in rainbow gear and many, many lesbians, but certainly no hot guys in Speedos or glittery thongs.
The Pride Picnic was a family affair with a carnival feel to it; performers, cotton candy, popcorn and a bouncy castle for the kids. Again, every group which mattered was there including the high school GSA students (public high schools only), the major unions, businesses, vendors and local politicians.
I chatted briefly with our handsome, straight Mayor and ogled a gaggle of six handsome, young police officers in uniform. I so wanted to go up to them to
I also volunteered as traffic warden, partnered with a straight, early 30s mother who was teacher at a Catholic high school. She was there to show support to her LGBTQ students who face constant opposition from their Catholic school admin.
She mentioned possible job repercussions at her school because our names were published in the newspaper in the "Thank you Volunteers!" list. She shrugged and said, "It's the right thing to do. So what if get 'spoken to' by my principal?" Wow! Good for her!
During the hour, a cute younger teenaged boy (bright blue eyes, shoulder-length dyed black hair with coloured streaks) approached me:
Cute Boy: "Can I bring you anything to eat from the volunteer's table? A bottle of water?"
BB: "That's kind of you! .... no I'm fine."
Cute Boy: After hesitating and lingering around unnecessarily. "Are you Mr. _ _ _ _ _?"
BB: "Yes!... I guess you're a student at my school?"
I apologized for not recognizing him; I don't notice the young boys at school and rarely teach grade nine, but we shook hands and chatted about his school year and his volunteer job at Pride. I really admired his courage for making a contribution to Pride and told him so. I thought it was very brave of me to approach me at all, on the pretext of fetching me food and drink.
His manner was mildly flirtatious and I could sense his intensity and excitement at the just the idea that there was an out gay teacher at his school.... I could imagine him thinking, "A teacher who's just like me, how cool is that!!"
The reactions of our LGBTQ students this week to my gayness has been extremely gratifying to me. My coming out is no longer just about me but serves a more important purpose. It's exciting to know that, as the only out teacher in a staff of 70 at my school, I could be a gay role model for our students, LGBTQ and straight ones alike.
Today's pictures are from Toronto Pride, one of the world's largest. I couldn't afford to go this year but next here, I'll be there for sure!!!