Rocco the cockapoo knows something special’s going on. From his perch on the comfy chair in front of the center bay window, he overlooks the intersection of Noe and 17th, two short blocks from the nexus of flag-waving celebration at Jane Warner Plaza, in the heart of the Castro. His soulful brown eyes survey the proceedings as revelers gather on the sidewalk below and news crews in helicopters circle overhead, filming the delighted throngs for posterity.
Dog meets dogma as Rocco makes his own sort of scent-led sense of the scene: fresh-faced twinks and Sapphic soccer moms representing the entire spectrum of gender and sexual identity, all looking fab in short shorts and sensible shoes, and carrying “Case Closed” signs; leather daddies sipping to-go lattes and reminiscing about the good-and-bad old days; moviegoers congregating around the Castro Theater, currently hosting the San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival; and other pups out for a victory lap, their leash-led companions chatting excitedly about the morning’s landmark SCOTUS announcement. Rocco yaps playfully, aware of the flair in the air, even if he doesn’t quite understand that his two dads can now get hitched (if they decide to; c’mon, give us some time…) and be recognized and valued as equal to their breeder brethren across these newly enlightened United States.
A mere few miles away in the Tenderloin—so easily reachable via the inbound MUNI but so different in geographic and emotional terrain—a similar sort of frisson is felt around Ellis and Taylor, where GLIDE’s fifty-year history of radical inclusivity an unconditional love have more than a little to do with today’s supreme courtliness. Rev. Cecil Williams united same-sex couples way back in the ‘60s (take that, Injustice Scalia), and Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto has instigated similar wonders in more recent years. These are our leaders, our heroes in a community that embraced difference decades before “LGBT-friendly” was even a concept to be flaunted by hip hotels or satiric sitcoms. GLIDE has been here and queer from the get-go, not just accepting but truly embracing difference. Who wants the same old, same old, anyway?
Jane Austen (who Rocco would no doubt simply adore, if only he were into fiction) wrote, “Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.” Bono, who has sung with the GLIDE Ensemble at Sunday Celebration, wrote of “pride in the name of love,” referencing MLK’s legacy of civil rights for all. Jane and Bono (and Rocco) get it: Pride (unlike prejudice) is a state of mind, a private satisfaction, a public celebration. In this case, pride goeth before the Fall only because Spring is the more desirable wedding season. So go ahead, put a ring on it. (By the way, in my alternate version of Austen’s masterpiece of matrimonial machinations, Elizabeth Bennet gives Mr. Darcy the boot and runs off with Charlotte Lucas.)
Married, single, gay, straight, gender queer, whatevs—join GLIDE in commemorating Pride on Sunday, June 28 beginning with Sunday Celebration at 9:00 AM and continuing with a collective sashay down the parade route (look for your GLIDE peeps in contingent number 43). The mighty GLIDE Ensemble will perform on the Main Stage, after which main man Cecil will perform a wedding ceremony. Check GLIDE’s website for deets.
Rocco and I will see you there.
Steven Jenkins, Director of Leadership Philanthropy