Michelle Sieg

The brave, the proud, & Cyndi Lauper

By - Jun 4th, 2009 09:05 am
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Every year, there’s one woman I never see at Pride Fest. Well, at least not technically speaking. Where I have seen her, however, is right out in front of the festival gates. And if you’ve ever gone, you probably know who I’m talking about. You can’t miss her; she’s usually standing there, quietly, with just her sign and her silence.

“God blessed me with a gay son,” the square piece of cardboard says for her. As festival goers shower this sweet Debbie Novotony doppelganger with hugs and high-fives, the protestors across the street receive little-to-no attention – despite their larger numbers, bigger signs and louder voices.

With Pride Fest less than two weeks away, I can’t help but wonder if she’ll be there this year. I’d like to see her, give her a hug and maybe even tell her about this article. Mostly I’d like to thank her for being so brave. That sign of hers sure could piss a lot of people off – both straight folks and non-Christians alike.

I wish I had that type of fearlessness (and perhaps publishing this article will go a long way towards my own bravery). But mostly I wish Pride Fest wasn’t about making a statement either way. Nobody protests – or defends – this city’s other lakefront festivals. And if they do, well then, that’s just gay.

Pride Fest is not about exclusivity, and I hope we can all get together for a beer June 12– 14. I promise you don’t have to wear rainbows (and in fact, I prefer that you don’t). Plus, I don’t even think any of the headliners are gay. Although Cyndi Lauper has been known to drape herself in a Pride flag. And Etta James may or may not have had affairs with women. Oh and then there’s Brandy, which sounds like something only a retired gay man would drink.

Other than that, this festival is practically gay-proof, or at the very least straight friendly. And why wouldn’t it be? We all want the same things out of life here in Milwaukee – nice weather, cold drinks, fried food, live music, friends, love – and possibly a drag show or two.

See you all there. And this year, if I see our sign-bearing beacon of hope inside the festival, please allow me to be the first one to buy her a beverage. In the meantime, here’s the full Pride Fest line up.

Photo courtesy Daniel Bissing, pridefest.com.

0 thoughts on “Unscripted: The brave, the proud, & Cyndi Lauper: Pride Fest”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I went to PrideFest this year and it was fantastic, and in my opinion very straight-friendly. I seemed to enjoy it almost more than I have Pride Parades that I’ve been to in other cities, where they don’t have an accompanying festival. PrideFest seems so much more like celebrating culture, diversity and togetherness than making political statements. Heck, it’s hard to get too political when you’re downing lemonade and mini donuts, or dancing a riot to Cyndi. And it really does seem like a festival everyone can enjoy. Hopefully people will soon start to be able to separate political ideology from identity.

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