I came. I saw. I marched. I made an obscene gesture at some rowdy Christians. And then I tripped, fell on my ass and twisted the shit out of my ankle. But it was all for a good cause: I marched in the Denver PrideFest Parade with the leather contingent.
7:30 a.m. is mighty early, and I had a PrideFest T-shirt to make. It's amazing what hijinks one can brew up with a few items from Hobby Lobby -- the place is filled with things that a kinkster's vivid imagination can turn into whippy-chainy realities.
I ate a microwave burrito and washed it down with half a bottle of cheap Moscato, slathered myself with sunscreen and was off to Cheesman Park on foot, because even if Jesus Christ himself was Queer as Folk, he still couldn't score a parking spot anywhere near the parade area.
My marching companions had yet to arrive, but I sat and serenely contemplated our upcoming march, and I was proud to represent the leather contingent, registered under the Rocky Mountain leather Alliance (RMLA) and featuring Mr. Leather 2011, Mr. Colorado Rubber 2011, the Colorado branch of the National Leather Association (NLA-CO), The Colorado Mentor's program and Denver boys of Leather.
We were all part of different and/or overlapping groups, but are all kinksters, and we were all gonna do a sweaty two-mile trek while inserted between floats with dancing lesbians and singing drag queens. They were all my kind of people.
Our leather guys and gals trickled over to our parade spot, and we all had a few gropes and a few smokes and made fun of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church for a bit; then the pony-girl was fed a few carrots and I found a huge freaking mushroom. I asked everyone I saw if they would ever eat a mushroom that grew in Cheesman Park, and every single person I queried said "NO!"
We finally got to marching around 10 a.m. -- we were in the middle of the parade so we had to chill for a bit -- and I was in my favorite spot: in the rear with the gear. I walked next to Master Trent and his ladies "slave Kelly" and "Adeera," the NLA-CO Honor Guard, who carried lifestyle flags. I recognized the Colorado Kink flag, the Master/slave flag, the Colorado Bears flag and, of course, the rainbow flag.
The parade was fantastic. I could feel a massive blister developing on the sole of my left foot, but the crowd was so supportive and enthusiastic as we trotted up Colfax that a measly blister was a small cost of doing good business. I was also pretty glad at this point that I'd decided to go the t-shirt-and-assless-jeans route with my PrideFest fashion statement, because in past parades I was really digging strutting my goodies in a pleather corset top and slut boots until I got sweatier than a whore in church and chafed the girls. Baby powder can only help so much, and I'm getting old. Battling the growing blister, I disguised my limp, did the prissy Buckingham Palace smile-and-wave, and all was good in my 'hood right up to the point where we reached the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at Colfax and Logan. Then, out of nowhere, a fast-paced group of church-sters came up on my left, the basilica steps crammed with Christian gay-protestors were on my right, and I was stuck between the rock of ages and a bunch of Jesus hard-ons. This was about to get ugly.
The Christians to my left were wielding a Holy Bible and a huge banner and a sign, so I immediately mistook these mobile crusaders for the bad Christians, not-quickly-enough realizing that they were actually the good Christians who were protesting the bad Christians on the basilica porch. I had my camera out trying to capture the action as both groups hollered at each other, and that's when I got that the good guys were getting our backs. They were my people.
I clicked away at my camera, and then realized that I was way behind my marching group, so as I was about to do a chubby sprint to catch up, I looked over at the basilica steps one last time and I swear by my skull-and-crossbone panties that one of the bad Christian protestors mouthed "God hates you!" right at me. These were not my people.
"That dog won't hunt, Monseigneur," I thought to myself right before I did the classiest and most mature thing possible: I grabbed my crotch and screamed "Whose nuts? DEE'S NUTS!!!"
It was a shining moment of vocal retribution. That'll teach those Bible-suckling jackasses not to verbally shank me with the almighty God stick. Fired with kinky gay pride, Moscato and righteous indignation I poised to take off running so I could catch up with the group, and promptly tripped, tumbled onto the pavement, and twisted my ankle like a soft German pretzel.
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So much for my grand exit. I limped as fast as I could back to my spot in the parade, pretended to not be in horrendous pain, and smiled like I'd just eaten a bucket of peaches. I was sobbing like a toddler on the inside.
But overall it was a scarlet letter day for me, the LGBT community, the leather community and everyone who scraped their rainbow butts out of bed at the business end of the morning on a Sunday to advocate freedom of expression, speech and lifestyle -- and despite my tore-up left foot/ankle, I felt nothing but pride on my way home to pop a muscle relaxer and use my bondage tape for something other than fun.