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Seattle Pride Weekend 2017 - The Literary Exhibitionist
Seattle Pride Weekend 2017
Whew! Another year, another Pride Weekend. It was largely the same as any year, I'll grant. Shobhit said it, and Ivan said it. They're both pretty much right. But, I still enjoy it. As I mentioned in one of my many social media posts yesterday:

Every year I see jaded people bitching about what Pride has become, and I won't have it. I am touched by Pride, every year.

Pride still makes a real difference in the lives of countless people in a multitude of ways and its continued importance cannot be understated.

This, actually, was partly inspired by this opinion piece in the New York Times, which, honestly, I found a little annoying: queer people complaining about the corporatization of Pride, which may qualify as pandering but also could be argued amounts to exactly the kind of equality we were fighting for from the beginning, and lamenting how Pride isn't what it used to be. But what it used to be existed in defiance of a far worse world for queer people than we have now, for fuck's sake! You want to go back to that?

Furthermore, as I stated above, Pride still serves a vital function: a homecoming, of sorts, for young queer people, people traveling in from more rural and/or conservative and oppressive areas, people of all ages who have only recently come out. Pride is no less needed or necessary than it has ever been, in my opinion. And if we finally find ourselves in some utopian world free of homophobia and misogyny (um, never going to happen), then Pride can continue as a celebration. So it's more of a party now than a protest, so what? If you don't like it, stay home and stop fucking complaining about it. Find something else to do!

In the meantime I'll still be going to all these Pride events, indefinitely. Such as . . .

Friday: Trans Pride Seattle 2017


I really thought I was going to be attending Trans Pride Seattle on my own this year. That would have been a first, but hardly the end of the world. I've long been going to things by myself; I don't let lack of company keep me from doing things I want to do. This is only its fifth year, so it started while Shobhit was in L.A. This year he might have come, although to be perfectly honest I was relieved that he had to work instead -- it made the prospect of likely seeing Gabriel there much easier to handle. I really had no idea if I would anyway, though; I did text him earlier in the day to ask but got no response. Laney also might have joined me, but she overdid it on a bike ride a week ago to such an extent that her back could not take any of the activities she might have otherwise done this past weekend. I didn't see Laney at all for Pride this year.

Enter Danielle! She'd had a very busy week, culminating in Morgan having her sixth grade graduation on Friday -- she'll be in middle school next year! Jesus Chris -- which alone made Danielle very emotional, but then apparently Patrick "whisked the kids away" for a family reunion at Canon Beach, leaving Danielle alone for the weekend. She texted me that she didn't think she should be alone that evening, so I said, "Come to Trans Pride with me!"

Danielle seemed a little trepidatious at first, probably just because she wasn't sure what to expect at a Trans Pride event, which she had never been to. It's hardly much different from any regular pride event or political march -- with one key difference, that I actually thought about while processing the photos from that evening: Trans Pride is decidedly not hyper-sexualized the way Pride often is. When that occurred to me, it almost immediately also occurred to me the very logical reason why that should be: because of the clear distinction between gender and sex, which the uneducated often confuse. Anyway, I assured her it would be fine, and wouldn't last that long anyway, and we could go get some dinner after.

This text exchange occurred not long before I left work on Friday, and she told me she was heading up to Seattle right around the time I left at 4:30. The thing that truly convinced her to come, in the end, was the knowledge that Shobhit had gone to work and so she could park in our garage in his parking spot. That makes things much easier for her. She did take a while to arrive, though, but not to any degree that meant much: the Trans Pride March was to start at 6:00, and she arrived at my building at maybe quarter till. We walked down there and caught the march literally minutes before it began.

I had wanted to watch the March pass by along its route, which was relatively short: starting from the Capitol Hill Light Rail Station at Broadway and John; up the two blocks on John to 12th Avenue; three blocks to the south on 12th Avenue; then turning onto Olive Street and the last block from 12th to 11th where they re-entered Cal Anderson Park. We kind of just missed the front of the march stepping off, so we wound up going back to that Olive St entrance to the park and just waited for the marchers. I got some good shots of the swarming crowd coming down Olive.

We had discussed getting pizza for dinner, but Danielle saw the food trucks on 11th Avenue long the park and suggested we just get food there. She went to a different truck and I went to the Plum Burgers truck -- which happened to turn out to be a vegetarian place. I got a breaded buffalo portabella mushroom burger, which was very messy but pretty tasty -- the parmesan fries, however, left a lot to be desired. "These are worse than mediocer," Danielle said, and I couldn't have put it more perfectly. She lounged on the grass while I went to walk the booths and the center stage and get a few photos, and then we went back to the condo so we could use a real bathroom and make ourselves margaritas. Before getting back, we went over to one of the rainbow crosswalks to get an updated photo. We were crossing the street on Pine at 11th when I got a text from Gabriel that they had just passed us. I think he was looking for parking because it always took him a while to get back to my texts. I didn't find out for sure that they had just arrived until Danielle and I were two blocks from the condo. We didn't want to turn back yet being that close to home, so we went home for about an hour. I had wanted to fill to-go cups with margaritas and go right back, but Danielle was tired and kept insisting she wanted to sit for a bit.

We were home for the better part of an hour, and when I finally got Danielle to get up to go back to the park, I texted Gabriel that we were headed back there. He texted back that they were about to leave. I decided still to go down there and try to catch them -- and we did! I was texting Gabriel when we walked into the park, assuming they had gone already, and I suggested we go through the park on the way to Molly Moon, where she wanted to go get some ice cream. We stopped for a minute to watch a lip sync performer on the main stage, and that's when I looked to the right and saw Stephanie and Tess maybe 100 feet away. I ran over to them.

So it was Gabriel, Stephanie and Tess. Tess had a small Frisbee and she immediately threw it at me. There followed several minutes of us throwing it back and forth. Eventually we even got Danielle in on it, and Gabriel and Stephanie, who had gone to a nearby booth for some reason, got the Frisbee tossed to them by Tess every once in a while. I got a quick shot of us all together real quick, and then they were off.

Stephanie gave me a hug goodbye and Gabriel didn't. What the hell? I made some off-hand comment about it and Danielle said I should have run over there and insisted on a hug. I think she's right. I don't believe in regret on principle, but I do wish I had done that. We barely spoke to each other but I'm going to give him a point on the next Social Review for this anyway. I'm feeling generous. Danielle said I should only give Tess the Social Review point, just because the idea amused her.

Danielle hung out with me back at home again for a while after that. The sunset was beautiful so I suggested we go up to the roof, and we were up there for several minutes before she finally had to drive back home.

Saturday: Capitol Hill Pride Festival 2017


Shobhit worked on Saturday as well, two shifts: one early morning and one all afternoon, so I spent most of the day without him. The day started out somewhat odd with Ivan, as he never came home from work and both Shobhit and I were assuming he'd had to work a double shift at work again -- but then he still wasn't home by around 9 a.m., which is much later in the morning than he tends to return after a graveyard shift. I even messaged him to ask if he was okay. Then, around 9:30, he comes in the door, still wearing his scrubs, actually in a rather good mood. I actually said, "Ivan! What the hell?" He was understandably like, "What?" and I said, "I was so worried about you!" To be clear, I wasn't angry or mean about it. I was just saying. I could probably still lay off a bit, I suppose. It's just that this had never happened before -- I always assumed he would not tend to stay overnight with someone while still in his scrubs, so it was a reasonable assumption to make that he'd been working.

Apparently he'd gone to a friend's after work to smoke a bowl, and got so high that he fell asleep and just slept there. Now that the whole weekend is over, I feel kind of bad for him, as that night was the only time he spent with any other friends all weekend, so far as I could tell. He spent a bunch of time on Saturday waiting for another friend who was supposed to go to pho' with him and then go to the Capitol Hill Pride Festival, and the guy postponed several times before standing him up. So, he went to the festival by himself; he did the same at the Pride Parade yesterday for about an hour and a half, apparently. I told him he could have joined us at the parade, as we had plenty of room. But, I had already left long before Ivan even got out of bed yesterday. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I actually took myself to the Capitol Hill Pride Festival in the afternoon, and it was much the same as always -- nothing about it made it feel any different even though it was finally organized by new and less bitter people this year. I did notice fewer booths handing out a bunch of free samples as has often occurred in past years, and also a lack of the pet truck that usually has a bunch of shelter cats on display in it. I kind of missed those things.

When I got back, Ivan was still home, to my surprise. When he left not long after, I was assuming he was going to meet that other friend. Shobhit got home from work soon after 5:30, changed is clothes, and he and I made our way back to Broadway for the festival -- this allowed for another 13 or so photos to add onto the 17 I had already taken earlier. We even ran into a drag Wonder Woman on out way through Cal Anderson Park -- who, by the way, quite happily posed for me when I asked.

And we actually ran into Ivan on Broadway in the middle of the festival. I wouldn't even have noticed him if not for Shobhit shouting, "Heeey!" And this was after we had already run into three other people we knew at Cal Anderson Park! First we saw Cavin and David (I have no idea where Charlie was), who gave us hugs and I accidentally knocked David's glasses halfway off his face with my arm as I went to hug Cavin. Nice. They moved on within minutes, though, because we then ran into Manish, who we used to know at Trikone-NW monthly potlucks --which, according to him, are picking up again so maybe we'll come to one or two soon. Manish was mentioning how they've started hosting at their house a couple times a year, since they have the room and a lot of the newer, younger members who are largely Amazon employees live in apartments that are too small.

Anyway, when we saw Ivan, Shobhit outstretched his hands to give him a hug -- and Ivan actually hugged us both in a pseudo-group hug. He didn't hug us very tightly but whatever, it was a hug! And, he was by himself. This was where he said to us, "It's pretty much the same as every year." Shobhit tried to convince him to walk with us but Ivan clearly wanted to head back home, and resisted even when I asked to take a picture of us all, so I didn't press on that request. I had put two shots of gin in the drink I made for Shobhit, and it had left him very buzzed and therefore typically obnoxious. I actually said to him, "Shobhit. Take it down a notch." And when Ivan moved to head home, Shobhit even tried to ask him to wait -- "Wait, wait!" -- but I insisted he let him go. Ivan was clearly suddenly very focused on getting out of there and did not want to deal with us at that moment. And that was fine. He was a lot more pleasant at home later in the evening.

I had thought about taking myself to a movie Saturday evening, but wound up not -- because of going back to the Festival with Shobhit after he got back from work. As you may have noticed, there was not a whole lot of time for me to update my journal over the weekend; I barely managed to edit, process, and upload all the photos, which took up most of what little free time I had outside of going to Pride events. I haven't even yet had a chance to caption the photos, although they are all tagged. When we got back to the condo on Saturday evening, we made dinner, and then I spent time on the day's photos.

Sunday: Seattle Pride Parade 2017


Pride Sunday also started solitary for me: Shobhit was working, and got off at 11:30 and planned to come meet me. He asked me to find a place to sit that minimized the walk he'd have to take from South Lake Union, so I left home at about 9:45 a.m. and found a spot on Fourth and Vine at about 10:30.

I really should have gone down earlier. I naively thought that since I was near the end of the parade route, I could get there later and it wouldn't be as crowded up there -- but, there was a surprising lot of people already there, even on the north end of Fourth Avenue, near Seattle Center where the parade ended. I really only got the primo spot between the crowd control fence and some hedges because a lot of people clearly didn't quite see that it was a readily available spot. A lesbian couple did sit between the fence and the hedges on the other side of a no-parking sign, and I first sat my blanket down on the north end of those hedges; some other people were in the middle section, and they warned me that they might have to walk on my blanket to come and go. I said that was fine.

But then those people found another spot. I decided to take the spot they had been in, just to prevent having people walking over my blanket to come and go. Shobhit would have to squeeze between the hedges and the people who took the space I then vacated, but that was fine.

Shobhit arrived at maybe 11:45-ish, and until just before that time, I was sitting directly in the sun almost the entire time. It's a very good thing I slathered on sunscreen before I left -- and I even brought the bottle, now almost empty, with me. I never did use any more of it, though. We had a record high yesterday of 91°, so it was hot -- into the eighties before it was even noon. I did spent a little time reading my book under some of the shade of those hedges, kind of wedging myself onto the very edge of my blanket. I kept hoping no one's dog would come by and pee on me; there was a bunch of dirt right there. A couple of dogs did stop at the hedges passing by on the sidewalk on the other side, but thankfully none of them peed.

Just before Shobhit arrived, though, the sun went behind the high-rise residential tower I was sitting nearly in front of, so then I was in shadow for most of the rest of the parade. Nice! The timing actually worked out great. Shobhit brought me an iced chai tea latte from Starbucks, which I practically inhaled. He also brought a little Lunchables-like snack pack. I had drinks ready for us in my bag: his with two shots of gin again and mine another margarita (he wasn't quite as obnoxious this time, thankfully, although still occasionally obnoxious enough, especially when he kept wanting to drink from my margarita after he was done with his drink).

I can't say there was anything unique or special about the Pride Parade, although I still enjoyed it, as I always do. I did get a lot of pictures for the Random Hot Guys photo set (see below), so there's that. Otherwise, as Ivan again noted later, the parade featured basically "the same corporations and progressive groups." The contingent with Ed Murray was slightly awkward; I still can't sit well with all the stuff in the news recently about him. I have always taken pictures of him in the parade in the past, and did not bother this year. Shobhit is less inclined to judge him for having sex with underaged men in the eighties, and even shouted a couple of cheers when the contingent passed. I don't think he's giving the information out there adequate weight, but whatever. I don't think Ed Murray is a pedophile -- the kids were barely underage -- but I still think what he did was wrong. I always come back to the idea that anyone who believes multiple people accusing Bill Cosby but not multiple accusers of Ed Murray are being hypocrites. The admittedly large disparity in severity of crime is beside the point.

Otherwise, Shobhit also noted that there were no Pride floats by Capitol Hill gay bars or clubs -- a common omission in the parade since it was moved downtown. He's made this complaint before. It makes the parade overall seem slightly less colorful, but I think plenty of other groups and businesses have stepped up. (Amusingly, Hour Eyes Optical always has one of the floats with the most dancing gogo boys.) I honestly think there's some selective memory going on here, because even when the Parade reliably featured floats by the likes of R Place or Neighbours or The Cuff -- all of whom focus on their own huge Pride events at their Capitol Hill venues now -- the Parade was still glutted with countless political and (open and affirming) religious contingents.

Sunday: Seattle PrideFest 2017


When Gabriel and Kornelija were at the parade with me last year, Gabriel was insistent on waiting until the very end. But it's just so long -- four hours is a little much. We may have missed some good bits, or maybe not; the parade was clearly very close to ending already when I asked Shobhit if he was ready to head over to Seattle Center and he said yes. So, we folded up the blanket tote and were off. Most of the crowd around us had dissipated by that point already, as is always the case by that point in the parade.

And holy shit, Seattle Center was packed. It had been during my afternoon visit to the Capitol Hill Pride Festival on Saturday as well, but I think this was slightly worse -- sardine-packed crowds either way. At Seattle Center, Shobhit moved through all the booths, looking for free stuff as always. We found the Three Dollar Bill Cinema's booth, just as we had at Cal Anderson Park on Saturday, and between the two days those booths yielded enough vouchers for me to get six different tickets to movies at the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival this October. I don't usually go to that but I guess I will be this year. I always felt like I tended to find better gay-themed movies at SIFF, but those this year were a collective "meh" so maybe the SLGFF will be better this time.

I kept messaging Evan and Elden, who had suggested we meet up after the parade. We later learned they never even made it to the parade, and had just gone straight to Seattle Center. After the booths, Shobhit and I went straight to International Fountain, where Shobhit stripped down to his swimming briefs and spent a lot of time getting soaked in the fountain water. I wouldn't have minded doing the same but was just wearing regular shorts and was not about to strip -- not even to my underwear, as many people often do there at Pride.

I kept thinking Evan and Elden might meet us where we were, as we were stationery and I told them several times where we were. They had apparently gone to the Frank-N-Furter booth but I guess the line was too long; Elden messaged me that they gave up and were headed back home. I asked if they wanted to meet up on Capitol Hill and they said yes. They were going to catch the bus.

Shobhit didn't have bus fare, and we walked -- even a bit far out of the way to go up Pine instead of Denny because Shobhit prefers that as it's not as steep. We still beat them. After some back and forth about where to meet, because Shobhit got pissed when I agreed to Bait Shop without consulting him, we met up at Rooster's. They had even said "We're almost to Rooster's," and I replied that we were a block away. Several minutes later, after we were seated, Elden messaged me that they were on our way but were dropping off groceries. Evan lives like a block from there but still, why tell us you're almost to Rooster's when you're actually headed home, however temporarily? I mean, I didn't care that much. But this really annoyed Shobhit and kind of put him in a sour mood from then on, which was fucking ridiculous.

He really didn't like it, I later learned, when I "made him" join us at Bait Shop across the street after dinner after all -- because I fucking love their "Street Corn," which I was sure was permanently off the menu but Evan insisted they brought it back. She still wanted to go there, and so did I. I told Shobhit he could just go home if he wanted and I would come home later. I don't know why he didn't just fucking take that option. Instead, when we were walking home from Bait Shop -- where the food took way too long to prepare but was absolutely worth the wait -- Shobhit flipped out on me just because I was looking at my phone while we walked, an objectively stupid pet peeve of his. "You're not even talking to me right now," I said. What the hell difference does it make? I'm so sick of his apparent idea that he can just boss me around, dictate what I can do and when, what money I can spend and how. To call him controlling would be an understatement, and I feel like I'm reaching a breaking point with this bullshit. He does this crap the most when he's irritated with me for no good reason -- like, say, I'm trying to tweet something while we walk, otherwise in silence.

I reminded him that he could have gone home without me, and I kid you not, he actually said this, as a follow-up to his voicing resentment that I knew he was "dog tired": "And fall asleep on my way home?" Ha! Jesus Christ. Like he's going to fall asleep while he's walking. He did snooze a little at the table at Bait Shop. But guess what? Big surprise: we got home, and he did not go to bed for another few hours.

He also literally said this to me: "I just won't go out with you anymore." We both knew that wasn't actually true. He just likes to behave like a fucking child when he's angry. It's legitimately insane. I am so, so tired of it. It's times like this that I seriously start to consider whether being single again would be worth how crushingly lonely I know it would leave me. Either way, I clearly deserve more respect than this. Shobhit obviously thinks he's believing the same thing. Except he's confusing submissiveness for respect. And I will never just outright submit to him. I'm not his god damned caretaker.

And, as always, within an hour or so, we were fine again. One of these days, though, this shit's going to end without it being fine at all.

To be clear, we are actually fine a majority of the time -- 95% at least. We're still getting along way better on average than in the first six years of our relationship, before he moved to New York. It's just that when we're not fine, we're really not fine, and I can't fucking stand it. And that's always the question, isn't it? How much can you fucking stand? I'm just not sure my tolerance for this kind of behavior can last indefinitely, regardless of how seldom it occurs. It shouldn't be happening at all, which is the thing.

The whole weekend, and more: Random Hot Guys!


But hey, buck up! The weekend was for the most part still a great time, right? After all, this weekend's photo set of Rando Hot guys features a record number of photos -- as this time it has pictures from five different events: Volunteer Park Pride Festival; Trans Pride; Capitol Hill Pride Festival; Pride Parade; PrideFest. Note specially the second-to-last shot in the set, though, from PrideFest. That's one of the hottest shots of a "Random Hot Guy" I've ever gotten, I think.

As always, click any of the photos in this entry to be taken to their respective full photo sets on Flickr.

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positive energy please