Emily Rizzo

June 1998

Q. June is coming up and I'd like to get my parents to march in the Gay Pride parade. They are accepting of my homosexuality and are members of the their local PFLAG chapter but don't attend meetings too much.

A. By all means urge your parents to march! Parents find Gay Pride marches and parade almost as exciting as our children do -- sometimes even more so! There is absolutely nothing better for the ego than to be wildly cheered by hundreds or thousands of people and PFLAG contingents always get the loudest cheers. Many parents are simply overwhelmed by the outpourings of love and support they get from marching in parades.

I was fortunate in that the first Gay Pride march I ever attended was the 1993 March on Washington, only six months after I'd joined PFLAG. What impressed me most were the folks who came over and just wanted to say thank you for being there or tell me they wished their mom would march. For me, the most moving moment was when a leather dyke with bare pierced nipples came over for a maternal hug and said, "I wish you were my mom."

I remember one mother in my chapter who was reluctant to march: perhaps someone might see her there and wouldn't she feel foolish with all those strange people around. By the end of the parade she was holding our banner and deliriously happy -- I can't think of a better word to describe her. That parade was a turning point for her: she decided then to come out at work as the mother of a lesbian and is now one of our staunchest members.

So by all means try to get your parents to march. Why not suggest that you march as a family?

Please send your questions to Emily.Rizzo@nyu.edu All questions will be answered confidentially.

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