Yesterday, my husband and I took our 3 year old son to his 3rd Gay Pride.
It started out as any other day… waking at dawn to the battle cry of a hungry baby. We flung ourselves out of bed and into the kitchen to prepare our newest family tradition, Rainbow Pancakes. The colorful dish was a sweet way to start the perfect day. It was a bright, beautiful day that only comes once a year for our diverse little family: GAY PRIDE. It is our one chance to be as loud about our homosexuality as we want, and to be celebrated for it. This would be our third Gay Pride together as a family.
As my little one mowed down on his stack of pancakes, I carefully stuffed our diaper bag full of snacks, sunscreen, and silly string. My husband took a sip of orange juice and stepped away from the table to open the kitchen window. It was a bit warm in the room, and sweat was beginning to form on his brow.
The moment that he opened the window, a massive gush of hot air flooded the room. It was as if all of the happiness in the world melted into a single goopy puddle of despair. I screamed in panic for him to shut the door, but it was too late. The damage was done… our cool internal refuge had been contaminated with an infernal heat. Our home had been suddenly transplanted into the Sahara.
At 10am, I checked the thermostat, and read 37 degrees C. That’s 98.6 degrees F. Every minute, the sun seemed to grow more intense, and our enthusiasm for walking in the parade diminished. It seemed way to hot to go anywhere, let alone to the center of Milano to be pushed around by a thousand sweaty bodies. I was reluctant, but my husband, in his infectious optimism, convinced me to give it a chance. After all, last year I was on bedrest with a 102 degree fever, but I still went.
So we decided to brave the heat, and skip on down the yellow brick road. Who doesn’t enjoy Gay Pride?
Like I said before, this wasn’t our first time at Pride with our son. Milan has now been to the Gay Pride parade three times… and he isn’t even three years old yet. Our first year was so amazing. He was only 7 months at the time, but he loved all the attention he got from his adorable rainbow jumper.
When Milan was born, my partner organized a newborn photo shoot for him, and bought this vibrant rainbow cloth to pose him with. The photos turned out great, and he never thought about it again… little did he know, our gay friend took that fabric home and asked his mother to turn it into the most amazing gift we’ve ever received, a RAINBOW JUMPER! It is the most precious thing. Of course, we’ve created a new tradition of letting Milan wear it to gay pride every year.
This year, he put on that same jumper and strutted himself right through the streets of Milano for Gay Pride.
All in all, despite the sweltering heat and the sweat stains on all of our clothes… it was a glorious day that I will always cherish. I hope Milan can one day look back at this pictures and be proud of all the families that he encouraged.
I want to end this post on a serious note.
Although today gay pride parades all around the world have turned into an infamous celebration of our uniqueness, sometimes it can feel like more of a party than what it was meant to be: a protest. Our Gay forefathers and foremothers started this tradition as a visual exclamation of their existence in a world that refused to acknowledge them. Our world today can feel much more accepting, so it can be easy to forget that those problems still exist. There are still battles to fight, and rights to win. There are many countries in the world where LGBT people feel ostracized and prosecuted. Sadly, Italy is one of them.
It may be shocking for people in the USA to hear, because it certainly was for me… but although Italy is a highly developed country and remains a central part of Europe, their policies towards gays remain incredibly backward. Only months ago were Civil Unions legalized. (to great protest and dismay, I might add) They still refuse adoptive rights to the partners of gay parents. Gay marriage still seems a distant prospect. Gay parents are almost unheard of in such a conservative environment, and if families are out… they are like our family, and are treated like lepers.
At the Gay Pride Parade this year, there were only 30 gay families walking with children, among a crowd of over a thousand.
We need to do better. We need to stay strong, and stay determined.