The brave, the proud, & Cyndi Lauper
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.
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.