Getting our kids, ages 9, 10, and 21, up and around before 8:00 on a Saturday morning is almost impossible. While the Tipster (age 9) still tends to be awake around 7:30, the boys would just as soon sleep until noon. So, what gets them up and out of the house so early?
The Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade, known around our house since the kids were tiny as The Rainbow Parade.
We’ve had to miss the past couple of years for logistical reasons so being able to return again this year was a real treat. The parade is bigger than ever, the inclusion is greater than ever, and the expressions of personhood and love are more dynamic than ever. There is nothing in Indianapolis quite like the experience of the Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade.
This year did bring its own fresh set of challenges. Previous years we’ve been able to park at Grandpa Bob’s house, which is at the North end of Mass Ave. However, this year parade staging extended further back onto 10th street, making it impossible to get to his house. That meant finding parking a little further back and hiking a bit. No one complained too much on the way in, but coming back there were plenty of gripes about feet hurting.
By 9:00 we had staked out our usual spot at Mass. Ave and Park. I was on the corner so I could, in theory, get the best possible shot, while the kids, under Big Gabe’s careful watch, were steps away, safely behind the barriers. Previous years at this same location we’ve had a sheriff’s deputy present to help keep the crowd back and in line. That has helped everyone be able to see and made it possible to get some fantastic pictures. We did not have that assistance this year. For whatever reason, once the parade started police presence practically disappeared and as a result there were points through the parade where those participating in the parade had less than six feet across which to navigate the street. This made getting the long shot and performance shots impossible. It also meant the Tipster couldn’t see and 30 minutes into the parade she was glued to my side instead.
As a result of the crowding, I made the decision to focus on the faces we saw in the parade. We ignored the corporate banners and hordes of people walking through wearing their employer’s t-shirt. Like a lot of people, I have a problem with companies showing up in Pride parades claiming to be allies while their work environments are often far from supportive. Instead, we focused on the people (and babies and puppies) who are the real reason Pride exists.
Pride, should we need a reminder, is about people of all possible sexual persuasions being allowed to exist and express themselves without harassment or aggressive behavior or blatant violence being leveled against them. Pride is about loving who one chooses to love, no exceptions. Pride is about not worrying about who knows or who doesn’t, what’s “appropriate” or not, and finding beauty in who we really are, not who we pretend to be during the week. We saw thousands of those faces and captured as many as we could.
We left about 12:45, the parade still going strong. By that point, two of the three kids were bordering on severe anxiety attacks from the crowds of people that only grew as those at the front of the parade returned to cheer on those toward the back of the parade. Huge crowds, no matter how caring and accepting they may be, are problems for those with anxiety issues, so we know to retreat before the situation becomes critical.
The most enjoyable moments may have been the spontaneous crowd sing-alongs that randomly happened during the parade. A nearby business was blaring music throughout the parade and any time a well-recognized song came on the entire crowd started singing. That kind of inclusion and togetherness, with everyone singing the same song, may be the best representation of Pride ever.
While I took a large number of photos, I selected only those that didn’t have a blurred hand sticking up in front of the shot or excessive corporate representation. If you see someone you know, please feel free to tag them. Click on any of the thumbnails to view the images full-sized. Please note that right-clicking is disabled across the entire website. If you really want a copy of one of our photos, let me know.