America has impressed me with its civil society on many occasions but this one was the culmination of a long felt notion that things here are just different from things anywhere else. And this one is in a good way. New York. The Gay Pride parade was about to start rolling. I was walking down 7th Ave after a breakfast with friends over the England Germany game as the impressions from football (i don’t call it soccer because it is called football first) were replaced by the faces and bodies of the sexual revolution.
As I reached Greenwich Village the atmosphere became more dense people were coming from everywhere and so did we: me and my friend Endre joined the crowd watching the parade. A beautiful and colorful flow of people who under the music and dances in their costumes and make up were making a clear political statement about who they are and what they want from the rest of society. Equal rights to work to marry and to enjoy life.
Unlike the event in New York, the Love Parade in Berlin and all its variations in Europe are primarily a showcase of eccentric art, techno music, rebellious behavior and open sexual provocation. It gives the message of how different and shocking we gays are, it is a demonstration of dissent from the normalcy of society. In this sort of shape the message of equality gets lost for the more conservative part of society, it is just too hard to digest and people are turned off rather than joined in with the movement.
The American message was delivered in a rather different way. I was surprised by the lack of nudity by the carnival in the parade by the simplicity of the message which was sang, shouted and danced away. The groups were numerous. Many different nationalities, religious groups, sports teams, corporations advertising themselves as a safe place to work for gays, mothers of victims of homophobic violence, same sex couples, universities and even elementary schools, West Point raising the questions of gays in the army, senators and political leaders who support gay rights, people who march with their lovers to demonstrate their love, groups and subgroups which i could not have thought of were standing there representing a clearly stated demand for end of discrimination. They were not saying “we are so different form you, you don’t get us”. They were saying “we are the same as everyone else and we deserve the same rights and liberties as everyone else.”
This was a highly emotional afternoon and the sight of these people marching towards making a difference made me believe in their cause and made me a part of it. Instantly.