Saturday, July 17, 2010

Warsaw Is Totally Gay!!!

This weekend has brought the climax of EuroPride 2010 to Warsaw.  Today's parade kicked off at Plac Bankowy and ended up at Plac Konstytucji, after making a detour.  The watchers and paraders braved scorching heat (I felt sorry for all those police in their heavy black uniforms) to light up the streets of Warsaw with a bit of fabulousness.  Now, I didn't catch the whole thing, but I was able to watch it right by Swietokrzyska.
All and all, it was much smaller and tame than most gay-pride parades.  Sure, there were a few drag queens dancing, a few others were dressed in skimpy costumes, and one fellow dressed like a devil in front of a banner saying "Catholics we love you"[sic] (plus a who line of sailors.)  But, there weren't hordes of leather daddies, performers simulating sex acts, or any symbols that were overtly sexual.  (For something funny, I would recommend The Onion article on this.)  Most walkers were clothed, giving the impression of being normal members of society and not sexual deviants.  Something like that can be hard in a place like Poland, which—although make long strides—is still a relatively conservative country.  Lech Kaczynski shut down Warsaw's gay pride parade in 2005 as the mayor.  (NOTE:  While Poland may not be the most welcoming place for gays and lesbians, Russia is even worse.  Last I heard, the Moscow gay-pride parade was broken up violently by police.  Also, I, the author, know several gay and lesbian Poles who live in Poland (even outside of Warsaw) openly and unmolested.)

A parader leads the pack as a modern-day gay hussar.

There were so many policje there, I was hoping that criminals were taking the day off to watch the parade.  Riot police in full riot gear stood in clumps right near Centrum (I felt bad for them; they must have been dying of the heat.)  The police had to call up extras, who seemed to be volunteers, who wore street clothes with a fluorescent Policja jacket and looked like they had never even driven past a police academy.  I am sure without the police presence, the scene could have spiraled out of control.  As it was, some people had to be arrested for attacking some of the marchers and throwing bottles and eggs at them.

Groups of police watch over the parade.

The parade was flanked on both sides with policemen for its entire length.

Riot police in the hot, hot sun.

Say what you want about gays, but they know how to get down and party.  The Irish endorse heavy alcohol consumption every 17th of March, and the gays dancing to techno music so loud it makes your eyeballs bleed.  Also, they endorse looking fashionable and fabulous, condoms, and having sex with those of your own sex.  With dance music blaring from speakers to keep the crowd and the marchers in party mood (it does make you move) the parade rolled down Marszalkowska until the intersection with Aleje Jerozolimskie.  Many of the marchers held the annoying vuvuzelas which they honked endlessly like car alarms during a lightning storm.  I was unable to enjoy The Village People's greatest hits because at any one time twenty people within earshot were blowing into the horrible plastic tubes.  Oh, FIFA South Africa 2010, what have you wrought upon the world?

Not everyone was glad for the EuroPride2010

They are just begging for conflict with this one.

The London Gay Men's Chorus.

Drag queens show off their stuff.

All the way from the Big Apple.

For the rest of the weekend it's one party after another.  Most of the events have run their course, but the final party showdown must also happen to close out EuroPride 2010.  It was a fun time had by most, but enough with those fucking vuvuzelas.

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