Participating in Pride Parade: How It May Impact You

As a cisgender heterosexual male, I consider myself fortunate in many ways. The glimpses of homophobia I’ve personally endured directly, such as sometimes being teased and called “fag” for having a high-pitched, soft voice as a child, are minor compared to what anyone truly outside the accepted majority has to endure.

At the same time, our cultural lack of understanding and acceptance around sexuality has impacted me indirectly but profoundly in many other ways. Regardless of your orientation and identity, it has likely impacted you and many people you love, too.

Imagine yourself or a loved one in any of the following situations:

  • You remain closeted about your sexuality well into middle age, fearing how others would react to the real you.
  • Your spouse or partner, and best friend of many years, comes out to you as a different sexual orientation.
  • Your child has to carry a permanent sex offender label, largely due to misunderstanding about how their disabilities impact their sexuality.
  • You receive death threats due to your sexual orientation (and you happen to be a grandmother).
  • You are fired from a job shortly after refusing to sleep with your supervisor.
  • You develop severe depression in your senior years, partially due to fear that you’re going to burn in Hell for having had premarital sex.
  • You crave touch of any kind, but are scared due to a belief that all touch has to be sexual in some way.
  • You suffer rape or other sexual abuse.
  • One of your parents, known and respected by many of your peers, is arrested and imprisoned for sex crimes.

    The above are just a few impacts I’ve witnessed, experienced, or been told about by people I know and love. They’ve affected people of a range of ages, spanning from infants to seniors.

    You most likely know people who fit some of these scenarios, too.

    What do all of them have in common?

    They stem from misunderstanding and fear about sexuality, and how it fits into human connection on a larger level.

    If our culture supported more open, honest, safe, and supportive dialogue about sexuality, many of the above situations may have been prevented.

    Silence perpetuates misunderstanding and fear-driven behavior. As we make sexuality-related topics less “taboo” to talk about–not just superficially, but on a deeper level–we can develop greater shared understanding.

    Energies intended to catalyze connection, inspire creativity, and produce pleasure wouldn’t so often be twisted into forces that drive disconnection, suffering, and harm. The above are just the tip of the iceberg.

    That’s a major reason I’m marching in my city’s pride parade this weekend.

    When we’re more comfortable with the diversity of sexuality and ways in which we connect, we can become more open to sharing about this important aspect of the human experience.

    This helps all of us. Regardless of our orientation and identity. We are all in this together.

    Perhaps you’ll decide to march, too, or at least go to watch and show your support.

    I’m also marching to support the debut of the interim Snuggle Mobile, an innovative project to bring nourishing platonic touch to more people. (Photo from

    The interim Snuggle Mobile
    The interim Snuggle Mobile (from

    Debuting the Snuggle Mobile in the Pride Parade is especially fitting, given that our programming around sexuality also impacts our ability to share and enjoy non-sexual touch. This helps all of us. Regardless of our orientation and identity. For more info on that topic, check out the Snuggle Party Guidebook.

    Related to all of this, I’m also excited about the release of the new Ecosexuality anthology, which offers a range of perspectives connecting sexuality to social and environmental sustainability. I’m proud to be one of the contributors to that collection, as it will also help to inspire more dialogue about sexuality. (Two other contributors, Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens, will be catalyzing an “ecosexual contingent” at this year’s San Francisco Pride.)

    If you’re also participating in a march this month, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share your reasons in a comment! It may inspire others.

    Here’s a Post-Pride photo update!

    Lots of people received free hugs. While it was a bit warm for snuggling, parade goers witnessed one of the most comfortable floats ever. And a dog in a tutu. Thanks to Shanya Luther and others who made this happen; it was an honor to volunteer.

    Getting the snuggle float ready for the 2015 Portland Pride Parade
    snuggle mobile panorama
    Panorama of the Snuggle Mobile and float before the Portland Pride Parade
    Getting the snuggle float ready for the 2015 Portland Pride Parade
    portland pride 2015 snuggle 5
    Giving hugs at Portland Pride 2015
    Raging Grannies in the 2015 Portland Pride Parade.

    Dave welcomes phone-based life, career, and transition coaching clients from around the world.

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