Mike Gold: The Shoe’s On The Other Foot

Gay Pride 2015 11

My long-time friend and colleague Martha Thomases does not like wearing high heels. This, of course, is her right. I have been sympathetic to her position, even to the point of referring to it as a contemporary form of traditional Chinese foot-binding.

Gay Pride 2015 19That was until this past Sunday. Now, meh, not so much.

I’ve been to many a Gay Pride rally, including – yep, I’m bragging – the very first in New York. I’ve been to such rallies in several different cities; I’ve been to them after terrible tragedies such as the Stonewall Inn riots and, less than ten years later, the discovery and growth of HIV. Yet each and every march and rally has been fantastic fun, each one a deeply meaningful, fun-filled and life-affirming event. I have always walked away from the rallies and parades feeling much better about my fellow humans – even in my most cynical times that account for some six decades of my life.

More to the point, I always had a great time. Always.

So this year’s Gay Pride march and rally in New York City, coincidently held two days after the Supreme Court finally made marriage equality the law of the land, was something I wouldn’t miss even if I had lost my arms and legs and had to be carried in a basket. Thankfully, I was fully able to walk.

If Elon Musk had been there, he would have figured out a way to capture the energy of the event and use it to fuel a battery that would run every car in America for a year.

There’s no question the gay culture that has always affected our mainstream culture no matter how closeted it had been in the past. Several of our ComicMix columnists have commented on this point and several more may yet: right now, it is the perfect topic for a pop culture site such as this one.

The New York City parade, which attracted more than two million onlookers and, it seemed, about as many participants, was fraught with politicians and corporate sponsors. No, Mike Huckabee didn’t march, nor did any of his fellow Republican presidential candidates. That wasn’t a surprise and, besides, the parade route always was crowded. Delta Airlines, NBC/Universal, Master Card, and Coca-Cola were among the many who entered elaborate floats. So did a great many religious organizations – but certainly not all. Parents brought their children, both as onlookers and as participants.

This year’s parade marshals were two British peers: Sir Ian McKellan, also known as Magneto, Sherlock Holmes, Gandalf and others; Sir Derek Jacoby, a.k.a. Emperor Claudius and both Doctor Who’s arch-enemy The Master as well as The Doctor himself; and Ugandan LGBT activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera. All around, a class-act. It was sort of like the St. Patrick’s Day parade, but without the – what’s it called again? Oh, yeah. Blatant bigotry.

The parade ran in a light rain from 36th Street and Fifth Avenue to the Stonewall Inn, a distance of nearly two miles. From my vantage points I couldn’t conduct a scientific study, but I believe there were more adults wearing high heels than not. Of course, I’m also counting the dozens (at least) of paraders wearing stilts.

Seeing all those folks marching in their fine footwear, I think I’ve got to backtrack on that foot binding thing. I figure, it must be worth it.

Gay Pride 2015 51Now… you say you don’t like gay marriage? You’re opposed to it? Somehow, it lessens the value of your marriage? Well, congratulations. You’re in luck. There is no more “gay marriage.”

Now… there is only “marriage.”

(Photo notes: At top – PBS’s rolling billboard for Vicious, starring McKellan and Jacoby. Up there on the right – part of the massive Delta Airlines presence, including a flight attendant with an astonishing hat size. Down here on the left – your humble columnist, posing with the newly transgendered crimefighter, The Shadow.)