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Saturday was the Marche des Fiertés LGBT— the Paris Gay Pride Parade. I haven’t been to a Pride in years but my friend Jacques invited me to see him on the Asian float, so of course I went.

Paris Pride 2011

Jacques was indeed fabulous, dressed as an Asian prince!

Jacques, Asian Prince.

I was impressed by the number of floats and marchers — many times the Boston event and approaching the scope of Sydney’s Mardi Gras. There was a lot of happy energy, especially amongst young fêtards and some unique and even bizarre characters. My full photo set is at this link: Paris Pride 2011 Photo Set

Nevertheless, I personally was left mostly unmoved. Gay identity is interesting in the context of conflict — either the inner conflict of denying or accepting your own desires, or exterior discrimination or repression. In the 90’s Boston’s Pride was quite a big deal, and I participated passionately, both as part of the Harvard contingent and to demand equal rights under law. While there is still a long way to go at the national level, both Harvard and Massachusetts have done almost everything possible to normalize and support LGBT people. At the same time, Boston’s Pride has declined, and my own involvement with it has evaporated (although of course I still support national LGBT groups). For whatever reason — possibly because society here is still relatively homophobic despite a fair degree of legal equality — Paris Pride reminded me of the Boston events of 15 years ago.

After finding Jacques I had had enough of the hoopla. Just a block away, down rue August Comte, I was rewarded by this lovely, calm wedding cake.

Apartment Building on rue August Comte

Le mot du jour: char. A “float” in a parade. (Also “tank” or “chariot.”)