Made it to the Philadelphia Gay Pride Parade and Festival. Made the train, walked into the heart of the "gayborhood," got a gyro at Pine Street Pizza, got told twenty minutes later that parade route had changed since last year. Saw the second half of the parade. Could swear I saw D.S. in the William Way Center contingent. Not only did it look a lot like him, but he still has his hair dyed that burgundy-red. He certainly wasn't the only young man in the parade or around the area who moves with that catlike grace, but I hadn't even remembered that he had his hair that shade until I saw him. Walked down from Eleventh (?) and Locust (or was it Market Street? I know I passed a heck of a lot of tree-name streets...) to Penn's Landing -- just followed the people wearing rainbow symbols and same-sex couples holding hands. It always makes me happy to see it when lovers are safe enough to hold hands -- not anything a gay couple can take for granted in so many places and times.
Saw S. from the GLBT Executive Committee at [local university]. He said it was his first gay pride parade -- he was just so earnest and had that happy, "Wow, I'm in the majority for once" look on his face. He got a necklace with a rainbow triangle pendant -- probably the first rainbow accessory he'd ever owned. He put it on, and I said, "That's so cute." Probably not exactly what he wanted to hear, but it was just adorable to see him do that. S. said he'd have to remember to take it off before he got home, but I was proud of him.
(Edited to add: I've learned that his usual style is this deadpan, fast-talking earnestness. Also, he and several of the other students have assured me that he's not sweet and innocent at all. I choose to believe them. It was so funny when M. snorted at the idea of S. being innocent. "You know who just about the most innocent one around here is? Me," he said, thoroughly disgusted at the thought of being innocent. Innocent or not, the kids can be so funny.)
I had seen a temporary tattoo booth, and thought of it as something I might do after I'd went around the festival a little more. It's not like the real tattoo is someplace that shows unless I'm wearing a bathing suit. I thought it would be fun to have one or two someplace more visible to give the senior citizen volunteers at the secondhand bookstore something to talk about. Of course I couldn't find that booth again, but in my wanderings, I did find the MLR Press booth.
My conversation there started something like, "Are you Laura Baumbach? I really liked A Bit of Rough and Roughhousing." (Although I'm pretty sure I got the name of the second book wrong at the time.) If I'd known, I would have brought the books with me. I told her that I did proofreading for JCP's PsyCop novels. She showed me copies of The Art of Dying. I didn't actually say that I'd read "Body Art" in October. Mexican Heat was one of the books on prominent display -- that's been on my "will definitely get it sooner or later" list for months now. I've just been debating between paperback and e-book. Watch me eventually get both versions. I ended up buying The Ties That Bind, the paperback of Cheating Chance, and Out There in the Night. So, yeah, from those first two and what I said to start with, she probably thinks I'm way into bondage. It just happened that I hadn't read The Ties That Bind or Out There in the Night. But I got them signed, which was cool. James, if I send you a self-addressed stamped envelope, will you sign things for me?
She asked me if the T-shirt I had on had characters from Heaven Sent on it -- the bookmarks they were passing out included ones for Jet Mykles. I said it wasn't those characters, but the art was by P.L. Nunn. I had told S. that my parents didn't appreciate those T-shirts of mine, but S. said he hadn't been sure if the picture was of girls or guys, that the figures were very androgynous -- which really is kind of the point.
It was interesting to see the MLR folks starting from scratch explaining to people what MLR is. I forget that people don't necessarily have half of their authors' websites on their favorites list.
But for all of that, I think the thing that most touched me was it being S.'s first gay pride parade. I like the romance, but I also want to give back in peoples' real lives. Volunteering to help archive things for the GLBT organization at [local university] and ending up being co-historian has meant a lot to me. I want to do my part to show the kids that they're special, and really worthwhile people, no matter what they might hear to the contrary.