I spent several hours enjoying the 2019 World Pride celebration by taking photos.
On one side stood my best friend and on the other side an adorable Puerto Rican family. Come to find out this was the first Pride parade the father and two sons (17 & 23) had attended.
The parade officially started when the Dykes on Bikes drove by and the crowd went wild. One by one more participants walked by. Everyone was there - from local and world LGBTQ community groups, to Drag Queens, to city and state legislators. The crowd cheered each and everyone one.
Then a car drove by with a banner with the name Monica Helms - a transgender activist, author, veteran of the United States Navy, and creator of the Transgender Pride Flag.
It was interesting, out of all the participants in the parade, even the RuPaul Drag Race stars, Monica was the one the youngest boy was most excited to see. As Monica drove by, the boy jumped up and down, waving to her as tears rolled down his cheeks. Seeing this, both his father and older brother hugged him.
Never occurred to me, until this point, the boy was transgender. All I could think of was how fortunate he was to have Monica blazing the trail before him and how wonderful it was he has his family’s support.
After a few hours, my best friend and I decided to leave the parade. As we walked away, more and more people rushed by to join the fun. Approximately 5 million were in attendance that day.
Through the busy crowd, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lone woman holding a sign on a quiet side street.
I can’t fully explain this, but this was a heart to heart moment. One of those life moments that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
The woman and I locked eyes on one another from across the busy street. Parade attendees darted around us, but it did not matter, because for us the whole world stood still.
I held up my camera, as a way to ask permission to take her photo.
That’s all it took.
I knew this was the last picture I would take that day and it’s the one that has captured my heart.
I think about:
*how many hurdles women have to deal with day in and day out.
*how many times women choose to look at each other as adversaries rather than allies and friends.
*how many dangers we face daily
*how many societal pressures we have to have the perfect body, clothes, make-up and hair
Many times, this pressure to be and do it all can be too much
And then I think how much harder it has to be for this lovely woman to just “be.”
That takes courage.
That is self-love.
And I’m so thankful she shared her heart with me.