The B word

It's Pride Weekend in Vancouver. We don't do it during the usual Stonewall remembrance week because very often the weather is crappy at that time of year (as it was this year—Seattle barely had a window for a rain-free parade). But August long weekend is usually glorious, and this is one of those weekends. Sunny and hot!

There are a couple of official events and several parties of various kinds. One of the official events is the Vancouver Dyke March and Festival, which took place yesterday. There's a march from McSpadden Park on Victoria Drive up Commercial Drive to Grandview Park, where booths are set up and several bands and other acts provide the entertainment. This year, for the first time, there was a beer garden! I don't know if everyone approves, but it's a good way to raise money for the festival. And this year with this heat, the timing couldn't have been better.

The other main event is the Pride Parade in the West End of Vancouver. It's huge and glorious and crazy and wonderful. It draws enormous crowds. I have watched, and I have also marched when I volunteered at Qmunity (formerly The Centre). Both are quite an experience, although I have had more fun marching than watching. I like to participate.

This year, I went to the festival part of the Dyke March and Festival. That was to see friends' bands play as much as anything. The atmosphere was fun, and I appreciated the beer garden. I skipped the parade, although it would have been fun to see Sweetie with cat ears and tail (she volunteers at Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue, which was participating in the parade). I haven't been to a parade since I stopped volunteering with Qmunity. Today, instead, I went to the beach and did a bit of sun worshipping (not a good idea, but I'm addicted).

A lot has been written about how LGBT includes the "B." It's all well and good to say so, but sometimes it's hard for me to feel included. That might be just me. But even though I imagined going to the parade wearing a T-shirt that said "Bisexuals HAVE decided," there is a bit of "neither fish nor fowl" about being the B in the equation.

(A note on that "undecided" trope. People's sexual orientation is what it is because that's what their body tells them. It's not a matter of decision. It's a matter of hormones and attraction and pheromones and who makes your heart leap. Some people seem intent on keeping their identity "pure." I get to be pleasantly surprised.)

I fit in with my heterosexual friends, who are not just tolerant but genuinely accepting people. But of course heterosexuals, being the majority, are not a "tribe." You don't have to be a tribe when the world reflects your orientation. I have a lot of lesbian friends, and I fit in pretty well with them, to some extent because many of them are also musicians. We have that in common. They are also accepting and inclusive. But I don't always feel like a member in good standing of the tribe. And I'm not always sure if the tribe is really my home.

I envy those with such a strong identification. The tribe really is like family. My own family are far away, either geographically or emotionally or both, so I could use a "chosen family." And I do have friends, good friends whom I love and whose friendship I cherish. But I don't have a hang-out. I don't have a group. And thus I have mixed feelings about Pride events. I'm proud of who I am. But it's not fun for a social person like me to feel isolated.

It's still a good weekend. I really enjoyed the music yesterday. I totally enjoyed the beach. I've loving the summer weather. And tomorrow is a holiday here! I'm sure I'll figure out this belonging thing at some point. I may be too old for after-hours parties, but hopefully not too old to learn to let things flow.

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