So Near and Yet So Far, AKA Old Hippies to the Rescue (2015)

This describes an event that happened at the beginning of Pride Weekend in Dallas in 2015.

Word got out that a church group was going to harass our first ever Teen Pride on the eve of the main Dallas Pride celebration. It’s sort of sad to say we’re used to churches trying to wreck our celebrations every year, but something about them giving grief to a bunch of kids —who already have enough problems in their schools— really angered the community. As per standing orders for all vaguely-Liberal-aligned groups in the US, the organizers asked us “not to engage,” but to somehow find a way to keep the kids from seeing / hearing all the hateful stuff these churches usually do. I joined the people making a last-minute scramble to help out.

It was old hippies to the rescue! Tie-dyed sheets festooned the perimeter of the event in a psychedelic curtain. Bongos were passed around by Radical Faeries. Show tunes were sung, poorly but loudly. A few of our scouts confirmed that the kids inside were playing happily and couldn’t see or hear a thing, not even from the bounce house. Then the soldiers for Christ brought out their holy megaphones. Ravers to the rescue! An old-model Japanese hatchback rolled up, opened to reveal a subwoofer that took up half the trunk, and unleashed the power of House Music. A few kids came to peek through the curtain to see what was going on, but we encouraged them to get back to enjoying their party. Then the hatchback’s playlist shifted to Disco, a chubby white guy on our side of the line became possessed by the spirit of Gloria Gaynor, and he stunned everyone into silence with a lip-sync and dance rendition of “I Will Survive.” As he took his bows, the little car’s speakers blew out; but by then the DJ inside the event had assembled an impenetrable wall of Rap. Mission accomplished, us old folks clearer out. Lest you think things are so very black-and-white here in Dallas, Teen Pride was hosted on the grounds of a church, one that doesn’t have a problem with gay people; or, apparently, Rap music.

Best. Pride. Ever.

Unfortunately, that weekend marked the beginning of a series of hate crimes which have occurred almost every other weekend since the end of our Pride parade. The first, and one of the worst, happened to a lone man walking home from the parade. Community leaders estimate that —regardless of how they’re being classified by DPD— at least 30 people have been ‘bashed in the heart of the Gayborhood since September 2015.

As I typed this, I received word that the church which hosted Teen Pride had just been evacuated so the city’s bomb squad could examine several suspicious suitcases found in the building.

We live in dangerous times…