- CITR 101.9FM and Mint Records chose the colours teal and gold for dress code for the float. After much deliberation, I finally settled on a strapless white/gold form fitted dress and a Prade styled light pink feathered wrap. For a moment I considered wearing a pair of comfortable flip flops. Then I imagined Conni Smudge running through the crowd to jump up on the float to exchange microphones with me when we passed Denman and Robson where she would be giving her personal play by play of the parade. If Conni can run in six inch heals, so can I, I thought as I strapped my feet into a pair of gold, BCBG spikes.
For a moment, I wondered if I should have taken Conni up on her offer. She had offered to dress me up as Marilyn Monroe. Although the white dress would be fetching, the concept of wearing a wig under my black headphones did not appeal. Ruefully, I wondered how I would be able to secure my waist length hair under a wig. With growing anticipation, I jumped into my taxi. I am no stranger to conducting live interviews. I play the getting to know you game every week during my 60 minute spot on CITR. Without a webcam recording “control-booth-Caroline” in action, you will have to take my word that I rarely wear makeup when I come in to do the show. I was nervous about coordinating Olivia and French Connection’s Marie-Eve Dumalong – roaming reporters, the studio with The Synchronicity Radio’s Marie Benard, and still smiling for everyone who came out to support pride.
I was a virgin to partaking in the Pride Parade. I’ve always been a pride supporter from afar. Maybe it is because my brother came out as a teen. During that period, he wanted nothing to do with his girly-girl sister. Over the years, I stopped asking if I could go with him to pride as he was worried I would embarrass him. Last year, I attended the parade as a spectator. I spent most of the parade slouched over. Silly as it might seem, I still felt guilty attending the parade without my brother’s blessing.
This was one of the reasons I offered to host the broadcast for CITR’s pride parade. I needed to come out! I wanted to show my support and the fact that I am proud that we live in a society where we can be proud of our sexuality. Although my brother has long since moved from Vancouver, that sense of guilt remained. Like an out of season coat, it needed to be disposed of.
I took a deep breath and hoped that I would be able to do the broadcast okay. Crossing my fingers, I hopped out of the cab to start the journey.
When I arrived at the float, Caba Radio’s Teddy Smooth, E-Rock, Duncan and other CITR personalities were dancing to the music as they formed an assembly line to tie ribbons and lollipops to the helium balloons. I wasn’t sure how I was going to conduct interviews with the blue gates set up separating the floats from the crowds. Thankfully, Raul Pacheco http://twitter.com/hummingbird604) was able to get through the crowd control.
Raul Pacheco-Vega, one of the country’s top bloggers and one of UBC’s faculty members chatted with me about coming out in Vancouver AND in Mexico. Raul, the youngest of five brothers came out in Vancouver first then in Mexico. Mexico, a Catholic country may cause a young man concern in regards to coming out. Thankful, Raul’s family was incredibly supportive and loving. Raul’s advice for people was: ” There’s a lot online support in Vancouver for people are considering coming out GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans).” According to Raul, some key resources include Gayvancouver.net – very community oriented website. Number of magazines like Vrag, Pinq Magazine. Another key resource is qmunity resource centre. Raul advised coming out at your own comfort. “You can come out first to your friends, then to your coworkers and whoever else you feel most comfortable with,” advised Raul.
Sweetly smooth the day sailed along. Thanks to Marie Benard skillful engineering, we bounced gently from interview, to song, to roaming reporters. On location broadcast coordinator, Bronwyn brought people up to the float for me to interview. It was exciting to find out about how different organizations supported pride. Amnesty International wanted our listeners to know that there were places in the world where people are not able to celebrate Pride. Youth Co AIDS Society offers support and education for people under 30 years old living with HIV/AIDS, and Stop War talked about how they support pride.
One of my favourite Sexy in Vancity guests popped on the float, Sexual Savant Salon’s Kim Anami. Her eyes shined as she spoke about how thrilled she was with the huge turn out. Thousands of people cheered as we practiced our “princess wave”. When I asked her what she was up to (when she wasn’t a vision dancing on the CITR float in a long blue dress), she mentioned her multi-orgasmic couple workshop that she is hosting at Tart Boutique on Friday, August 6th.
As we curved around the corner at Denman and Robson, I heard my name shouted over the cheering. Conni Smudge who was emceeing the parade greeted the CITR 101.9FM and Mint Records float. As I looked across the street trying to see Conni, I realized that we would not be switching mikes that day. There were thousands and thousands of people cheering.
Towards the end of the broadcast, I thanked Marie Benard. With the CITR show swap coming up, we had chatted about possibly co-hosting a show. Laughing we joked that we had a live run. As I hung up the phone and turned off the sound, I sat down on the edge of the float. As I looked up at the sea of teal and gold dancers on our float, I smiled. What a great way to celebrate Pride, I thought. Playing the getting-to-know-you game had paid off. Before I even gathered my things to leave, my iphone informed me that I had a few new friend requests on facebook. With fondness, I hit “accept.” Several of the CITR volunteers had added me.
As we headed towards English Bay, a familiar face greeted me. Raul climbed back on the float. As Duncan from Duncan’s Donuts and Fine Mist sang and danced, Raul and I continued to wave at the crowd. What a great way to end the parade, I thought. With old friends and new friends I sat tall and proud.
* On a personal note, my brother helped me locate guests to interview via facebook chat for this year’s Vancouver Pride. I like to think he is proud of me too.