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Man About Town
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Gay Pride Reflections - 2006

By David Perry

Muslims have it right: on their faces several times a day, acknowledging the infinite and unfathomable power of the Divine, the other, the “Greater Than.”  Several times a day, devout Muslims lay their faces to the earth and say “thank you.”

I had a teacher once who said that what we are called to do in life is to be grateful. Here in San Francisco, those of us who are members of the LGBTQQ communities have so much for which to be grateful; so much for which we should touch our heads to earth several times a day and say “thank you.”

This past Pride, my partner and I threw a party in our office overlooking the Parade Route. The attendees were the usual suspects: friends, colleagues, clients and friends-of-friends-of-friends, hetero and homo alike.  For them, Pride was “one big party” and so it was. But, I couldn't help but remember all my past Prides ( 19 here in SF) and the different tone wrought by each: grief, loss, anger, fear, defiance. This year's parade had all of that -- in pieces -- but what was most striking, to me, was how “ho hum” it was.  It was like watching a champion runner having out-paced his opponents and stopping mid-stride just long enough to say, “now what?”

Or…to quote that famous Peggy Lee standard: “Is that all there is?”

“Gay Pride” has become, above all else, a Victory Lap. It pays homage to our forebears who marched down streets far less safe than the sun-drenched stretch of a televised Market we now enjoy, complete with corporate sponsors who also give money to our political enemies. Gay Pride now makes stranger bedfellows than ever before.

A wise man once said: “to those to whom much is given, much is expected.”  All of us who count ourselves as proud members of this City's rainbow community have been given much, and much we have fought for. Much has yet to be brought into the fight. However, by and large, we are spoiled children of Pride.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with celebration -- in fact, there is much “right” about it. However, parading down a street once a year, a street which is normally strewn with the sleeping homeless and waking, walking wounded, it would be good for those of us who are proud to march to remember: not everyone gets their own parade -- only those with 22% of the vote.

Our political and social freedoms have been hard-won in this City of St. Francis and nothing is ever secure. However, this past Pride I felt more secure than ever looking down at my marching brothers and sisters. I was proud for them and proud for me, but I still wanted more: a little less pride, and a little more gratitude.
--- David Perry

Bio & Past Articles

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Columnist David Perry

David Perry is the founder and principal of David Perry & Associates (, a communications consultancy specializing in working with nonprofits, small business and the arts communities. Perry regularly lectures on the Ethics of Public Relations and co-teaches a training called Media & Mantra which provides PR basics with relaxation techniques. He can be reached at