Last Saturday was Paris' "Marche des Fiertés", or Gay Pride walk. In spite of the heat, it was a joyful, colorful celebration:
Anyone who wants to fight discrimination and intolerance was invited to join the walk, so it was hard to tell at any given point who was gay and who was just accepting. Which is a pretty cool blurring of boundaries. In any case, there were many, MANY marchers (I later read estimates of tens of thousands). The crowd was definitely skewed young, too--I'm not sure if that speaks to my generation's tolerance or just our eagerness to take part in demonstrations, but I'd like to think it's the first one.
(Okay, so I might have overgeneralized...it wasn't ALWAYS difficult to tell who was gay...)
The walk's drag queens were, of course, balanced out by a political presence. This is also where the older walkers tended to congregate--around Amnesty International or other activist groups marching to make a statement.
This group is walking "in memory of deported homosexuals":
Sign translation: "Preacher, imam, rabbi--don't block my way" (note the Scissors Sisters shirt on the right):
Activist bumper stickers abounded. My favorites were stickers modeled after the very prominent labels that come on packs of cigarettes here, although instead of saying "Tobacco tue" (tobacco kills) they said "Homophobie tue" and gave various statistics about suicides, hate crimes and legal inequality.
This was a Uganda political sticker:
One of the groups had a really effective float tactic of using hangmen silhouettes to represent every country where homosexuality is still punishable by death:
Sign translation: "My brother is GAY and I'm proud of it"
A group of lesbians that were chanting "Xena! Xena!" and drumming up support for their heroine from the bystanders:
There were a surprising number of women with naught but taped Xs on their chests. (there were also a lot of men with "blow me" or "I'm single" written on their chests, and "entry" written, with a down-pointing arrow, on their backs).
At one point, everyone stopped (and the pumping techno turned off) for three minutes of silence
One of a continual series of gladiator angels on stilts, bearing Mentos banners
Gothic angels seemed to be the theme of the day.
Translations of the signs: "Love doesn't discriminate: not by gender or by race!" "My liberty ensures yours!"
Wavin' the flag with pride:
I kid you not, the gay motorcycle club of Paris:
Aww. Slash I was totally too afraid to take a picture of this tough and muscled couple from the front:
This roller blade-r was distributing fliers for a gay club--but only to attractive young men:
What would a Pride parade be without a giant inflatable condom? (surrounded by
volunteers passing out lube and condoms of a slightly more manageable size)
After the four epic hours of parade were finally over, the streets were a wreck. The cleaning crews were on the scene immediately, in order to speed up the reopening of the many major roads along the parade route. What a weird and wonderful afternoon in gay ol' Paree!