Tom and I have done a lot of traveling by car, and he’d tell you that wherever we go–or any time I come home from a solo trip–at some point, I’ll say, “I could live there.” I’m always delighted by something in every city, state, or small town I visit. It may be the people who charm me, the landscape that dazzles me, or the climate that tricks me (because unless you visit a place frequently, the vagaries of its weather are a mystery). Only one time did a particularly unpleasant incident put me off a state (which I won’t name, because you can’t condemn an entire state based on the behavior of one wanker, right?). And I know Manhattan would eat me alive, so it’s better left as a place I love to visit. All in all, though, I’ve found that most places have something good to offer so I try not to judge them, particularly if I’ve never visited there. That would be like hating a book I haven’t read or a movie I haven’t seen or a musical artist I’ve never heard, and who does that?
Hmmm. Let’s shelve that question.
Anyway, as soon as I read that The Advocate magazine had named Salt Lake City the gayest city in America, I knew there’d be hue and cry. I won’t debate the merits of the judging criteria or what “gayest” can really mean. There’ll never be a more diverse and outspoken group than those individuals who get grouped in the LGBTQIA acronym; I’m pretty sure my voice won’t be needed on this one.
All I’m going to say is that these photos, taken at Salt Lake City’s Gay Pride parade in 2001, tell a wonderful story of my mother and the community who welcomed one “straight old lady named Dorothy” with love, and shared with her many, many times of laughter and a few tears. I can’t give a photo credit, because I don’t know who took the photos. My copies are not high quality because no telling how many emails and computers they went through before they made it to me.
Dorothy has been spotted along the parade route.
She gets swept off her feet.
She’s been put on the float.
If only she weren’t so shy…
That year, then-SLC Mayor Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson was the parade’s Grand Marshal. No surprise that she’d find and be photographed with the local politico–or that she’d be wearing her Alabama Crimson Tide shirt.
To that bigoted person with whom I once worked who admonished me for my passionate belief in legal and civil equality for EVERYONE by saying, “I know how you were raised. What would your parents say about this,” I answer:
My parents would say I’m the daughter they taught me to be, and they’re proud of me for speaking out about my beliefs on fairness and justice. And also, they think I should laugh more.