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Say It Loud: I'm Gay and I'm Proud!


As we've said before, Paris Play loves a parade, a parade, a parade.

One of the loudest and most exuberant we've been to so far was today's Gay Pride celebration, which just happens to have passed our corner for hours this afternoon, a block from the Seine.  It's one of the loudest thanks to the never-ending convoy of flatbed trucks with full DJ rigs, playing continuous disco, or tech, or dance music at levels you can hear four blocks away.

And it's one of the most exuberant because, well, just look.  We saw new folks of all types--you provide the label, they were there, many in platform shoes--and some old favorite friends including the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, with whom we used to party in San Francisco (they have a French convent over here), and even, floating above the revelers, an animated hero.  It's safe to say that France's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community was boisterous and proud and fully represented.

No gays on the scaffold

Of course, exuberance was also tempered by the fact that being gay can be a death sentence in many intolerant countries around the world, and that pride is also a matter of asserting ones' rights.

No crowd estimate, but, according to reliable news sources, past parades have drawn as many as 650,000 revelers and spectators.  Since Paris weather turned summery and beautiful only within the last week, any costume was possible, from full drag, to square pants, to no pants.


Homo or hetero my children I love them as they are

Human rights are my pride

And why is the princess never a prince?


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Reader Comments (11)

Great work, Richard. I can't choose a favorite image here, but I have to say I am partial to anyone who can fill out a candy-pink corset with pride. xoj

Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 23:59 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Dear K & R,

Such fun flamboyance! Which Greek god would you say symbolizes the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence?


Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 0:29 | Unregistered Commentermarguerite baca

Marguerite, we'd say Hermes, for sure. Any time you have a Trickster character crossing gender lines, the spirit of Hermes is alive and well.


R (and K)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 1:27 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban


I'm partial to the guy who can fill out candy pink SKIN which such wonderful tattoos. I certainly don't have his cheeky pride.


R (and K)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 1:33 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Dear K & R ~

Wonderful! Reminds me of WeHo during both the Pride Week AND Halloween parades... pride and freedom and creativity to be who you are. And alongside the sobering reminder that intolerance and fear and hatred have meant a death sentence for LGBT people in many countries. (On a side note, the retired bishop of Uganda, Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, was at our church last week as part of his U.S. tour to seek help in putting pressure on Uganda to overturn the death penalty and other harsh sentences for gays and lesbians... which, shockingly, the very conservative Anglican Church of Uganda has supported! Long, complicated story... the laws there also have been said to be fueled by the influence of extreme right-wing U.S. Evangelicals. I cannot understand how these people claim to be Christian!)

So, here's to Paris and WeHo and San Fran and other enlightened communities where LGBT people can live openly and without fear! Our cities are richer for their presence...

(And also, I am so fascinated by that man's beautiful full body tattoo... and those fabulous red socks! :))


Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 1:44 | Unregistered Commenterdawna

I was caught up in this parade last year. Did you see this year the group of gay Paris cops with their squirt guns firing away? That was my favorite "float". Nice pics!

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 8:29 | Unregistered CommenterL. John Harris


It's difficult to live in a time where you KNOW you will look back and say, "How unenlightened we were," yet have to live with the injustices, up to murders being committed by governments, that take place until enlightenment arrives. If we could speed up the process...so we try, but also mourn for each child wounded, each creative spark snuffed, each life lost.

And when we can, we celebrate! And we praise that fellow's undimpled cheeks.


R (and K)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 10:09 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Thank you, John. It's good to know the Paris police were out (of the closet) in force.

As for the photos, we just believe the old axiom that, The closer you get, the better the photo. Parade security here, once the first couple of floats have gone by, is far less stringent than in the U.S. Much more of a laissez faire attitude after the first few blocks. The parade route is miles long, and marchers and spectators mingle freely, which is why we can get close-ups. No need for press pass access.

The Bastille Day parade is different, cause that's the Champs-Élysées, and there's much more of a government presence.

Hugs, and may all your chicken be moist,

R (and K)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 10:22 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban


I'd add to Richard's answer about Hermes' trickster spirit, that Dionysus was the most bi-sexual male Greek god. His rituals included cavorting with the Maenads, as well as homosexual capers. Yet, ironically, he was the only male Greek god who (reputedly) was respectful of women and capable of fidelity in relationship. And of course he presides over merrymaking and a loosening of spirits. And wine. And the masks of drama. And depth. And tragedy.

The best portrait we know of his spirit is in Euripides' The Bacchae. Worth reading in all ages. A classic, i.e., sublimely great.

Love to you,

Kaaren (and Richard)

Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 23:44 | Unregistered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Hey Richard and Kaaren,

I love Paris Play! Your adventures and perspectives are always so colorful.

When Natalie was about ten, I took her on a road trip to San Francisco and we were surprise to find we had arrived on Gay Pride weekend and the parade was going on directly under our hotel window! What a treat. We joined in and followed them down to City Hall where there was a whole fair set up. You can imagine what a huge event it is in SF. Oddly enough they were even selling tequila and beer and spirits were high on a beautiful day.

Only thing that bothered me was a float with naked mud wrestlers when there were a lot of families with young kids around. But I was thrilled that we got to experience that, by pure serendipity.

A smile to you both, Diane

Tuesday, July 3, 2012 at 8:37 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Sherry

Hi, Diane:

Yes, those mud wrestlers were what we environmental educators would call a "teachable moment," out there in the field.



Wednesday, July 4, 2012 at 1:27 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

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