As usual, the Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016 edition was a complicated act of beauty.
Hundreds of queer and genderqueer people of all colors, and not-queer allies (of all colors) strutted, danced, rolled, and skated down Central for an hour and a half. The smiles were genuine, the waves were patterned, and the message was real. It was, of course, about 14 hours before the Orlando massacre. I’m sure everyone came out for their own reasons, and mine were a little selfish. But then, I assume everyone’s reasons for going to Pride are a little selfish.
I cover the parade because…
- From the sheer volume of cameras, yes, Pride is already well covered. But even assuming 1% of those shooting are good photographers, and 5% of what they shot is good work, in the end, it’s the quilt that matters.
- I covered the 2015 Pride parade. I wanted to shoot it again, so I can start creating my own archive. It’s a small but meaningful donation of activism.
- I wanted to map how my eye has changed.
As I said, the Pride parade is complicated.
I have a hard time feeling proud of Pride because of its high-level sponsorships. I don’t like the feeling that [redacted] puts this event on. It feels deeply, reductively patriarchal to me, like they own Pride, or they’re trying to. The Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016, Presented by [Redacted]. Maybe the most disgusting are the alcohol companies, not content to provide so many young (and old) queer people with an addiction stream year-round. They have to beer-stain the rainbow today, too. I do recognize that alcohol can give joy, and respite, and liquify courage. But it’s complicated. And know where to find it. It doesn’t need a billboard truck in the parade.
These big donors discolor all the little contributors, too. Those floats from local lawyers and CPAs mean something. They want to take the much-less-risky-nowadays step of aligning with the broader Queer Community.
But as Orlando shows us, any queer support from the presumed-straight world is still very risky. Ultimately risky. Which is of course why we need more genuine support. Less ads, more shoulders. Less [redacted]s, more Trans Resource Centers.
In the end, I’m glad I was there. If there’s any one thing I don’t doubt, it’s the power of witness. I see you, Queer Albuquerque. I see you.