I hemmed and hawed about going for days, after having been excited for weeks. I was two days out of quarantine from being exposed to covid for the very first time (thanks to my therapist), and the weather wasn’t looking the best.
My evening caregiver, Timothy, had offered to accompany me to the Capital City Pride celebration as a friend in his off-hours and my main caregiver, Harper, was planning to shop with me at the Farmers Market before we headed over a block to the pier where the celebration was located.
Being somewhat familiar with the park on the pier, I was well aware Harper might have issues with her disabilities due to its boardwalk. Boardwalks aren’t fun in wheelchairs either, but my powerchair can go over the boards become bumps, no matter the pain it causes me.
I was disappointed in the choice of venue, but thankful I could access most of where I thought it would be located, and I was excited for the opportunity to connect with the local queer community again.
Arriving by dial-a-lift bus, I zoomed over to the line to purchase my monthly meat from Stewart’s Meats, anticipating that Harper would be quick to join me. It is our routine for her to visit the Market office on my behalf with my EBT card to pick up my match bucks.
I had no idea she wasn’t able to easily find disabled parking near the Market.
After allowing most of the line in back of me to pass me as we waited for meat together, I called Harper.
She was forced to park about a half mile away. I was thankful she at least had a cane, her wheelchair is still on order. But her long legs made good time and soon we were checking out with my ground buffalo and beef for my burgers.
Timothy met us before we strolled the rest of the market and purchased a couple of tomato plants for my garden.
After we created our own mini parade, upstream against the current of Pride-goers streaming from the event parking, we dropped off our purchases at Harper’s car and she decided she had enough energy to join us for a bit of the celebration. So we turned our mini-parade around and joined the river of rainbows on the way to the boardwalk.
It was sprinkling from the beginning, and we were all happy to hide under the tent and discuss a few queer issues of law with the first booth we came across.
The booths were all crowded, due to people trying to find some cover from the weather, but during a slowdown in the drizzle, I was able to locate a few friends I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.
Funny how you can live in the same general area for your entire life, yet get disconnected from entire communities.
Perhaps I do that more due to my Dissociative Identity Disorder than any other reason, but I know my disabilities and autism cause me to isolate more than others might as well.
As excited as I was to see neighbors, new TikTok friends as well as friends I had lost touch with over the decades, I was disappointed.
I understand we have no control over the weather. But it isn’t as if we don’t have a boatload of data to show that the first Saturday in June is not notorious for good weather in this area.
Location. Location. Location.
The boardwalk is difficult to walk and roll on a good day, but add water and it is asking for trouble.
Then there was access issues above and beyond boardwalk. I literally could not get to anywhere I could see the entertainment from. I rolled around the other side, hoping for access, to find a step.
Harper left before long and Timothy and I questioned returning to the celebration, but the rain increased in intensity and I called for an early ride home.
I had fun, I will say that. I loved seeing old friends and new, and it was good to see so many people turn out in spite of the drizzly day.
However, as disabled people have literally been screaming for years, “Pride needs to be accessible.”
There is no intersectionality without the disabled. Please invite us to your space, to OUR space, but please make sure we can get there.