Saturday, June 11, 2005

Change of Pride 

Well, the reality wasn't as bad as the nightmare, but it certainly didn't go as planned.

In contrast to my dreams of last night, I was able to find my NESL shirt to wear this morning, was out the door at 8:30 and arrived at Copley in plenty of time to check in at registration (our section's designated check-in was 9:30-10:00). Armed with two Parade Marshal badges, I headed to Starbucks for an iced venti decaf nonfat caramel macchiato, then over to our designated line-up spot. Checked in with the E section Parade Official, and had a seat where he directed me to wait. This was 10:00. Marchers were supposed to be grouped by 11:00, and the parade would start at noon.

Fortunately I had brought a book with me (I'm now nearing the end of Madam Secretary), because my ass was on that sidewalk for two hours. I chatted with the pleasant Parade Official periodically, and he said if no one showed I could always be a group of one. But at 11:59 I gave in to the reality that no one would be joining me to represent New England School of Law, and I thought it would be more of an embarassment to the school than a show of pride to have our entire group consist of a single 5'2" woman walking by herself behind the booming bass and grinding black leather that was the Ramrod float. Instead I would find a gang of lawyers with which to throw my lot.

I checked back with the Parade Official, and he directed me to Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), one of only two legal-related groups (the other was the ACLU of Massachusetts). I asked him to direct any NESL late arrivals to GLAD, and he assured me he would. One block down I found GLAD's Parade Marshal, told him my plight and asked if I could join them. He heartily welcomed me, introduced himself and retrieved an official GLAD shirt for me to wear. Yeah, I wore two layers of t-shirt on this really, really hot day. After sitting in the sun for two hours waiting for, well, no one to show up.

After a few tease starts in which we moved 10 or 15 feet, we finally got moving for real around1:30 or so. I had a pleasant chat with a woman who wasn't really sure of the ins and outs of marriage in Massachusetts, the proposed anti-gay amendment and that whole process, and the 1913 law. I also got to witness lots of people cheering, calling out "Thank you GLAD," and some who ran out from the crowd to personally thank GLAD for their work on Goodridge that led to their being able to marry after many years together. One woman had been in her relationship for 31 years, and last year they finally were able to marry.

So while I wasn't representing my school, I was helping represent a group of attorneys who have done good things, and who strangers thanked on a hot summer day in the streets of Boston. It made me proud of my choice to go to law school, and hopefully in two years I can take part in Boston Pride as a law school graduate, and the year after that as a member of the bar.

And I'm making it my personal mission to have a visible law student presence at next year's event. Check back next year to see how that went.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:21 PM