Micah Clark’s Not So Good Very Bad Day

It’s all over but the shouting. The steady movement toward equality really is inexorable.

Earlier today, my husband and I rode our bikes to the Pride Parade. This was the 10th year for the Indy parade, and we were at the very first one–when, as my husband recalled, marchers outnumbered spectators even though only four or five groups marched. The parade has grown steadily–I stopped counting after fifty and it went on for a long time after that–and the crowd of spectators was massive.

The parade began at 10 and lasted until around 11:30, by which time the Pride Festival had begun. Even though the organizers had expanded the venue this year, going from the World War Memorial all the way up the Plaza to the library, it was so crowded I had trouble walking at some points. Parade and festival participants ranged from political candidates and officeholders, to banks, CPA firms and law offices, to local universities, to companies like Lilly, Cummins and Dow Agro. Local GLBT organizations were well represented, and so were area churches. (Out of 250 booths, I counted nine churches–and not just the “usual subjects.” The list included North United Methodist Church, Church of the Savior, Northview Church of the Brethern, All Saints Episcopal and Castleview Baptist, among others.)

So let me share some random observations:

  • The crowds weren’t just huge, they were significantly more diverse than they used to be. There were large numbers of African-Americans and Latinos this year, for example. In the past, the more conservative nature of their cultures has meant fewer black and Latino attendees. From the looks of this year’s crowd, those barriers have weakened. (Surprisingly, I even saw two Muslim women wearing headscarves.)
  • Organizers accommodated the greater number of children in attendance by erecting a Fun Zone with a couple of large blow-up “bouncy houses.” From the looks of it, the kids were bouncing themselves silly and having a great time.
  • There must be a lot of dog lovers in the gay community; I saw spay-neuter organizations, dog grooming salons, something called “Puppy Playground” and something else called the “Bark Tutor School for Dogs.” It wasn’t just dogs–a representative of PETA thrust a pamphlet into my hands with an adorable, fuzzy chick and the caption “If you knew me you wouldn’t eat me.”
  • A very persuasive young salesman nearly sold me a Chevy Volt. Chevrolet had several cars on display, but the Volt was clearly the star of their show.
  • The wonderful thing about capitalism is that it trumps bigotry every time. Literally hundreds of merchants were hawking their wares on the mall–from the jewelry and tee shirt vendors who reliably show up at every festival to realtors, printers, day spas, pizza joints and children’s camps. It was a great opportunity for marketing, and they were taking full advantage of it.
  • Also taking the opportunity for outreach were lots of government agencies, social services organizations, and a variety of non-profits hoping to attract new members.

Bottom line? Over the past decade, as old bigotries have steadily retreated, the annual Pride festival has come to look more and more like every other American celebration, with gays and straights, children and adults, vendors and politicians all mingling on the mall. That normalcy is what will finally defeat the remaining homophobic fringe characters who can look at lots of nice, normal people enjoying themselves on a sunny Saturday and see a group of fellow humans who somehow don’t deserve equal civil rights.

Fortunately, fewer and fewer people see what Eric Miller and Micah Clark see. That ship has sailed. Too bad they weren’t on it.


  1. I marched in the very first Gay Pride Parades up in Chicago back in 1970. There were only about 50 of us and we were more worried about the Chicago cops. It’s very gratifying to see the turnout today in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  2. Sheila, you captured the day perfectly! I was at the parade and the festival today with one of my best girl friends. She said to me, “Next year, I have to bring Grace! This is so fun! She would love this!” Grace is her 15 year old daughter. And, indeed it was a fun day. Full of happy, joyful, postive people just being who they are.

  3. I didn’t make it for the parade, but you caught the vibe of the festival perfectly. Even the IPD officers who were on-site seemed to be having a good time.

  4. An enormously fun day. Gratifying, too. And did you hear the news? The Democratic State Platform will now include a complete rejection of ANY Constitutional Amendments that have ANYthing to do with marriage. A first for Indiana.

  5. @Rick Sutton YAY! About time.
    @Sheila K. I truly wish the ship with Micah Clark and Eric Miller et al would sail then sink.

  6. Contrast this to the GOP platform on the issue of legal equality for same sex relationships. And curious that we’ve not heard a peep from the Pence camp about why his hand-picked choice for Lieutenant Governor went way off message when she voted to do completely away with the proposed amendment’s draconian second sentence. Was she uneasy about its impact on domestic partnershp benefits? Was it tied to her desire for Indiana to be a welcoming and attractive place to earn a living? In any event, she has some answering to do for that vote….and Mike should listen carefully.

  7. In 1990, Indianapolis Pride (then called “Justice”) was established well enough to bring in national entertainment. That’s why it was surprising, and very disappointing, that the police failed to contain virulent anti-gay demonstrators who were supposed to be kept a distance away. I remember the cops laughing at our discomfort, and I well recall feeling more vulnerable than I had felt at a Mississippi event three years earlier. Let’s remember those times as we celebrate these.

  8. I have been every year for the last 5 years, and I must say, I think they are doing an awesome job of getting organized, changing where they have issues the year previous, and gathering a diverse set of people, vendors, and community envolvment… I seen less protestors, and more people inviting friends, families and coworkers to come support pride. Its becoming a way to celebrate individuality. Not just “gay” people. But a way to celebrate different and let it be known, that different is good!

  9. It was a great day made it for the parade then spent my day giving back to the community by volunteering as a bartender for the day. I would just like to say Thank you to all my fellow volunteers for all there time.

  10. As a straight older woman I have been attending the parade since the very 1st one that lasted all of about 6 minutes. Remembering how great it was that finally gay friends could dance and sing and not worry about any repercussions.

    Having neighborhood duties this year, I was sorry to not be able to attend. Glad I could help at my community day but I really did miss my friends on Saturday

    My only concern regarding PRIDE is that, in a certain way the parade and festivities are loosing something. It seems to have become another reason to get stinking drunk. The gay friends I have grown to love, forged the way for the Pride day and Parade. My worry is that the younger gays have no idea how it “used to be”. Much like African Americans youngsters have no idea what struggles their people had in the 50’ and 60’s or what woman among us can even fathom not being able to vote. These two wrongs are hardly taught in schools anymore, and I am sure the valiant fight of my LGBT friends and family will never be taught in schools.

    So next year my LGBT new friends find out what you can do to help further the cause, and not just look at PRIDE as a one day or even a one week event. The struggle goes on all year long, become active in your community. Be the change you want see.


  11. Yes, as Christie above said, you captured the day so well! I too saw such a diverse group of people, and it was so gratifying. Our Indy PFLAG booth was busy all day long and I guess the only booth that wasn’t overly crowded was the one that sold male enhancements (lol). This year for the first time Indy PFLAG had a float, and Jan Nichols and I had the pleasure of sitting in the back and waving to the crowd. As we drove along, I kept saying to Jan, “Look, there’s more people, and more people, and more people” – there must have been at least 100,000 people this year! I know things are better than they ever have been for the LGBT community, and we are making progress, but there are still so many struggles, especially here in Indiana. I think, also, that one good thing about Pride is that people, especially the kids, can forget about the struggles for one day and spend the day in the park being totally themselves, dressing however they like, holding hands with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and not worrying about their safety or anyone making nasty comments. I am so grateful that I am able to be a part of this wonderful rainbow celebration!

  12. Oh, and one more thing. Micah Clark and Eric Miller are going to go down as being on the wrong side of history – I hope they both have more “not-so-good-very-bad-days” such as this one!

Comments are closed.