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Jun 28 2016
Finger On Pulse: NYC Pride March 2016 — With 100s Of Pictures! Comments (0)

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IMG_7509*All of the above! (All images in this post by Matthew Rettenmund, unless noted)

My day at the NYC Pride March was a beautiful reminder of my experience in life and of the fact that I'm always having new experiences in life ... and proof that my little body's slowing breaking down. Oh, my aching gay back!

READ: 100+ Sizzling Pics from the Adonis Lounge Go-Go Boy Float!

I was tapped to follow the stripper-drenched Adonis Lounge float, photographing the guys and the gays' reactions to them as we tooled through Manhattan, Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 11.43.40 PMbut was told the night before—at a nude party, which are great fun when only the strippers and not the patrons provide the nudity—that I wouldn't be meeting then until 3 p.m. That blew my mind, as anyone marching in the parade usually meets up in the morning. This year, organizers seemed to get more realistic about when groups should assemble on the side streets in the 30s and 40s along Fifth Avenue to cut down on congestion and fatigue, but there was no way I wanted to miss the parade itself just because I was going to be in it, toward the end. [Pictured: Me with Angel (Image by Angel Jimez), me with Edward (Image courtesy of Edward Thomas)]

So, I woke up early, fed myself, pulled on my beloved Mildred Fierce T-shirt and hauled camera over to W. 41st St., which I picked IMG_7475*
because I read that was where a group featuring teen trans star Jazz Jennings would be meeting up and thought she'd be fun to shoot again. I never found her, but did find my pal Edward Thomas and his sister.

It was a great block on which to hang out, filled with plenty of beauties, interesting faces and spirited coppers—I was mixing it up with the Gay Officers Action League, where I met a lesbian couple in love with Varla Jean Merman (my shirt provided the conversation-starter), was handed my first NO when asking to take someone's picture (an all-but-naked man in a leather jockstrap, who apparently wasn't seeking attention) and fell in love several times.

IMG_7495*Copping out!

I don't have official press I.D., which isn't technically needed to cover a public event, but I'm always worried I'll be stopped when walking from float to float. Once our group poured onto Fifth, there was no turning back and I was able to march forward pretty far, to within a few groups of the very beginning of the parade (I had fun with the Hillary marchers, unaware that had I just stuck with them a few more blocks, I would've encountered the woman herself—oh, well, I did get Chelsea last year).

IMG_7470*The first one I fell for: The adorable Zico boy and his hairy legs.

Once I'd gotten way down from the 40s to the teens, I simply turned around and began slowly moving back against the tide in order to see as many marchers as possible.

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IMG_7555*Now cheer this!

It was a beautiful march—colorful, exuberant, and sunny—but it surprised me that it didn't feel as pregnant with purpose as I'd expected in the wake of the Orlando mass shooting. To be sure, there were countless expressions of solidarity and sorrow over the event, most prominently in the inclusion of Pulse owner Barbara Poma and the many WE ARE ORLANDO signs, but the parade didn't have a different vibe—it was just much, much longer. Maybe that was the Pulse effect, a rush to be a part of the bigger picture, even if more than a few moms back home were wishing their LGBT kids were not going to be quite so LGBT, quite so out in the open; I guess a lot more people wanted to send the message that they were deeply affected by Orlando, but wouldn't let that stop them from being themselves in public.

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IMG_7612*Many 49ers in the crowd

The other thing I noticed more so than ever, and that drives at least some people away from the otherwise energizing event, is the relentless corporatization of it. I have argued before, and it is still my belief, that big business marketing to us is not demonic, and that if we live in a capitalist society and are the target of marketers, that is a sign of respect for our importance, our power. Also, it's psychologically vastly important that everyday brands go out of their way to support the LGBT cause openly—even if I'm not sure whether Kiehl's is a top or a bottom (probably bottom), or in what stage of transitioning Facebook may be.

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IMG_7606*Case in point: Delta Airlines had human billboards ... and yet these two pics were among my favorite due to the marcher's joy.

I appreciate that the captains of industry understand that LGBT people are there customers and are not afraid to have our back on our biggest day of the year. Frankly, we'd have to buy from them anyway.

IMG_8674*The only thing they were selling was love.

That said, it's more and more of a killjoy to see so many marchers who were casted to walk attractively alongside and while wearing a logo. This fatiguing omnipresence of big business first hit me when I heard a team leader giving what sounded like shareholders speech before his company group's step-off, was compounded by running into a young friend who was being paid to participate (would he have even gone otherwise?) and was hammered home when, at the end of the draining day I was handed three rainbow bracelets—and upon closer inspection, discovered they advertised Wyndham Rewards. Womp-womp.

IMG_7436*Whether the message is from MasterCard or Harvey Milk, it's true: Acceptance does matter.

It's not moving, this businessy side of the parade, but on the other hand, I suppose it's the biggest pie in the face of every Anita Bryant ever that Walmart's with us, and that MasterCard is telling the world #AcceptanceMatters. Because it does, but who knew MasterCard would one day care?

I think what would help me get over the $$$ aspect is if the march could somehow encourage much smaller groups to have floats (at a discounted rate?) that were being judged for creativity and messaging. That way, I think people would be less inundated with pitches (including political ones) and the parade itself would only be more fun.

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IMG_7716*Their bodies are not your enemy.

In the past, I've also read a lot about people thinking the parade is too sexy, too about perfect bodies. I really don't get that at all. I hunted for those sexy IMG_7777*bodies, and while there were plenty on display, it sure didn't feel excessive. I recall other parades in decades past that felt far more decadent. (I later wound up on the dirtiest float in the entire procession, and it suck out like a sore thumb-job.) I also just unfriended a very intelligent but ridiculously politicized writer whose posts obsess over racism and sexism and homophobic in ways that are more self-parody than self-help. The straw that broke the homo's back was his declaration that he “hates” Gay Pride, partly due to a wrenching experience he had once (which I get) but mainly due to his feeling that all the lovely bodies are shaming him and telling him he isn't good enough.

I fully understand that twinge one can get when one sees a gaggle of ostentatiously sexy, mind-bogglingly muscled gay dudes in Speedos IMG_8111* acting like they were born that way, and there are definitely a lot of boys who, like too many girls have always done in order to seem less threatening to men, fake air-headedness and flash skin until it becomes who they are. But they are not the ones telling you you're not good enough by having great beauty, you're the one telling yourself that. Get over it, enjoy their beauty and—you know what?—enjoy what you've got, too. We are all born and we all die and any one of us can get shot in a club or get cancer or get gay-bashed or anything else you can imagine, so celebrating our fleeting sexiness should be an act of pleasure and defiance, not something to make us binge-eat a bag of doughnuts and declare our hatred for gay pride.

IMG_7754*Don't ever hate Pride.

All that said, I did have a blast playing photojournalist (surprising that I had about a half dozen people I asked for posed pictures decline), taking portraits, candids and landscapes of the gigantic, throbbing event from noon to 3. Ultimately, there is nothing else quite like a big-city LGBT parade, even if someone, somewhere is making a little cash off of it.

IMG_7543*See change!

By 3, I had made my way back to where the floats were waiting to make their way down Fifth, and found the Adonis Lounge's station. I spent several hours there—we didn't step off until something like 6!—and then spent another few slowly, ever so slowly, marching the entire route. But that's for another post.

IMG_7577*Looking at these women, who wouldn't wanna be a lesbian?

Enjoy some of my favorite photos, SHARE on social media and feel free to chime in if you see anyone you know ...

With Bill Cunningham gone, I'm doing my best to provide street fashion:

IMG_7430*Looking caftan and relaxed

IMG_7447*Proud, right down to his BVDs

IMG_7515*Mr. Blackwell can suck my dick (and probably would've): Love this!

IMG_7524*PartyNextDoor's precursor, PartyHere

IMG_7546*GLAAD-iator

IMG_7610*Coco Chanel advised her take one thing off. She kept the necklace.

IMG_7565*These three were a matched set, and that Pucci-esque crop top was definitely not wearing the guy on the right.

IMG_7749*You won't find this at T.J. Maxx.

IMG_8617*I'll take two!

IMG_7532*The workout look is ironic and sexy at once, the unicorn horn and those incredible shorts are singular.

IMG_8697*Cosplay couture

IMG_8688*A definite rainbow high

IMG_8672*Pink is the new black.

Guys to whom I'm proposing marriage (and promising fidelity):

IMG_4290*Go ahead and tell me again: NO Asians. Rilly?

IMG_7420*He wouldn't take a pic without his friend, but his friend blinked.

IMG_7459*Come fly with me.

IMG_7481*He blew it.

IMG_7529*Goin' coconuts.

IMG_7567*I do hedge work.

IMG_7570*There must be an angel (or two) playing with my heart.

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IMG_7596*Gay power (bottom)!

IMG_7607*Low and tight across the hips

IMG_7609*Dreamboy

IMG_7640*Saluting the flag

IMG_7665*Plaid, plaid, plaid, plaid boy

IMG_7704*Fur real, if that iPhone could talk ...

IMG_7726*Would take him home to mom faster than Taylor Swift took Tom Hiddleston

IMG_7776*Is Kiehl's safe as lube?

IMG_7886*Fuzzy dream

IMG_8051*One of the best smiles for miles and miles

IMG_8102*They're all cute, but the one in the front makes a good point.

IMG_8119*Black jockstrap under white shorts is my dog whistle

IMG_8127*Snapped him in the parade, woke up today and recognized him on Grindr, 100 feet away. We're all connected, and horny.

IMG_8015*Frisky business

IMG_8622*Please find me.

IMG_8572*We'd be great together. I could teach him about the '80s. And the '90s. And yes, the '00s.

IMG_7621*Enthusiasm counts.

Awesome pairs:

IMG_7414*Sibling revelry

IMG_7453*We talked about Mildred Pierce. I should've left something on him ... he might catch cold.

IMG_7465*When you notice a creeper snapping your pal's photo the moment he's shirtless ... but you still want to look good in the picture.

IMG_7541*Was this imaginable even 10 years ago?

IMG_7601*I wouldn't even own a TV if I were either of them.

IMG_7630*We're with her!
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IMG_7669*If they keep carrying on like this they'll never find girlfriends.

IMG_7990*Street festive

IMG_8235*Now you know why nobody got hurt yesterday.

IMG_8001*KY? Because we like you!

IMG_8116*Shady

IMG_8144*I want to see the high school pictures.

IMG_8692*Down the rabbit hole

IMG_8542*Quite a pair

Not many celebs this year, but here are some known quantities:

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IMG_7759*Lea DeLaria, Selenis Leyva, Dascha Polanco of Orange Is the New Black

IMG_7784*Broadway (and Broadway Bares) dancer Adam Perry (R)

IMG_7894*He's now a Logo host!

IMG_8029*Varla Jean Merman reacting to my shirt

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IMG_7823*Broadway talent Michael Cusumano & partner were dancin' in the street.

IMG_8539*RushboxApp.com's Cheyne Hauk with Lesbian for Bush Rollerena!

IMG_8537*YouTube sensation Bryan Hawn with a devotee

IMG_8124* copyLegal eagle Gloria Allred

IMG_8042*The legendary Charles Busch

IMG_7908 copyRoxxxy Andrews, Tatianna, Coco Montrese, & Detox ride the Logo float (and yes, I missed Nico Tortorella).

Another dose of hotness, just because:

IMG_7918 copyWhen it comes to Pride, I'm a show-er, not a grower!

IMG_8705*I'm with stoop.

IMG_8667*Styling by Basquiat

IMG_8526*Enjoy the PRIDE

IMG_8113*Swimmers' bodies

IMG_7999*Forget Uber—call luber.

IMG_7617*I'll miss gender, but if these boys say it's over, it's over.

IMG_7781*Free sample?

 

 

Check out these pics and more on my Facebook page, where I encourage you to tag anyone you know.

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