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A very interesting weekend, part 2

June 24, 2007
Seattle Pride Parade, 2007

Orin O’Neill photo

I arrived promptly at 8:00, the time registration was scheduled to open. Twenty-five minutes later, the line still hasn’t moved. Gosh, the Hells Angels were better organized… how difficult is it to take a release form, collect a signature and issue a credential?

Finally, the line moves, I get signed in, and proceed to the staging area. The PX and I are going to be in Seattle’s annual Pride Parade.

I’m the first to admit I’m a bit of a ham, and rather enjoy the attention the PX often draws. SQREAM will be riding third in the parade, behind Sisters of Scota Women’s Motorcycle Group and Dykes on Bikes.

We have quite a few more people than showed up for a rehearsal on Tuesday, which everyone expected. While Chewy had urged everyone to decorate their bikes, I had decided the PX has enough chrome to be “decorated,” and would most likely be the only old-school scooter among a group of modern Vespas. It turned out the others didn’t do much decorating, either. One bike had some orange crepe-paper streamers, another had a rainbow flag, and two others had glittery rainbow poles on the back.

While yesterday was a seriously mad dash, today all I need to do is ride in circles on 4th Avenue. It would be a nice change of pace.

The call to saddle up arrives, and we’re off. We’re beeping our horns, people on the sidewalks are hooting, hollering and shooting lots of digital video. I find myself wishing Safety Ed’s GT didn’t have a Bondo patch on its sidewalk side… having to work the clutch lever makes it a bit difficult to wave.

The drill seems to be, ride in circles until the motorcycle cops between us and Dykes on Bikes move, then get into one of four lines go a block or so.

The only anti-gay signs in the crowd were carried by people standing at 4th & Stewart. Go read your bibles, folks… there isn’t one word about homosexuality. As I say, I’m not gay but don’t much like these idiots picking on my friends who are.

The PX’s clutch is holding up okay (like nearly all motorcycles, it has a wet clutch), but the engine is getting heat-soaked, which makes it reluctant to idle. I have to hit the starter a couple of times, but it’s not like the specators know anything’s wrong.

We get to Denny, and that’s it. Kind of a short parade, I guess. But it was fun.

As we head to Fisherman’s Terminal for breakfast, I think about yesterday and how those of us on scooters were talking about what a total culture shift today would be.

It occurs to me that the Hells Angels and the LGBT folks aren’t really so different. I watched members of both groups greet each other with warm hugs. They take pride in their respective affiliations. Both groups have come together in search of refuge and support because of a lack of acceptance by society at large, and have formed tight-knit communities.

I guess the idea that these two communities might collectively hold hands and sing Kumbaya is, however, still a little too far-fetched.

  1. June 25, 2007 5:28 pm

    You are one cool cat my friend. I admire you. I would have ridden both rides right along with you had I had the chance to do so.

    Have fun,

  2. Chewy permalink
    June 26, 2007 8:00 am

    Interesting retrospective Orin. I would never have compared the Hells Angels with the LGBT community, but I think you make an excellent point; divergent people creating a community where they can feel a sense of belonging. And I agree with you, I don’t think the Hells Angels and Queers will ever come together to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but what a hysterical visual I’m getting off of that idea!


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