What one event could bring together 35,000 people representing the church, the police, the army, doctors, the city’s transportation authority and almost every political party in Sweden, including the country’s finance minister?
Stockholm’s Gay Pride parade.
The shock of seeing boobs, butts and an assortment of body parts that should be reserved for private time was nothing compared to the sight of the army and the church marching in open in support of homosexuality and an assortment of other lifestyles that even bent my liberal morality barometer. When the pony-tailed finance minister Anders Borg walked by, proudly marching with his party, I moved from a feeling of ease and merriment to a deep welling of pride. This is a country that affords its people all of the rights they are fair to expect. Gay people can marry, adopt children and can openly serve in the military. Most importantly they are openly supported and accepted, with very few people taking aim at their lifestyle.
The parade, held at the end of July, is a reminder of how far countries like the U.S. have to come to make good on their promise of “freedom.” The Stockholm Gay Pride parade is an event that celebrates their right to live as they please. And celebrate they do. It was simply the most fun I’ve had since I came here. It gave me this blooming warmth in my belly to see these wonderful people so proud of their lifestyle and their community. And I just could not stop giggling at the trannies in garish platform heels and makeup reminiscent of Tammy Faye Bakker as they hammed it up for the camera.
(WARNING: There are really boobs and butts in these photos. As well as an unfortunate looking man in a Borat mankini. You’ve been warned.)
It is a day that makes me proud to live in Sweden and be among the open minded and kind who believe that your life is yours. It is also a day that makes me look at those in the United States too small-minded and closeted (ironically) to embrace a different lifestyle and tell them to, well frankly, “mind their own fucking business.”
It’s unfortunate that these sorts of parades in the U.S. are at its heart a plea for basic rights. And I am afraid that the day Tim Geithner or any other U.S. Treasury Secretary marches in a Gay Pride parade, Borg and other progressive politicians in Sweden will have taken to marching with a tranny on each arm, dressed in a pair of chaps or platform heels and swinging their hips to the Village People.