When Did We Become As Hateful As The Haters?
As I got out of the cab on St. Ann at the back of the Quarter (the cab driver wasn’t willing to drive in; parade going on), I fell into step after a couple of blocks with the perennial bible-thumping protesters trying to save our doomed gay souls from eternal torment in the flames of hell. The onlooking crowd was booing, hissing, and making all manner of disapproving gestures, the least offensive of which was a simple upthrust middle finger. For two agonizingly long blocks every step I took along the uneven pavement of the French Quarter sidewalk was in sync with the meager advancement of that unwanted self-righteous element defiantly making its way down the street.
As I finally reached Bourbon St. after patiently side-stepping, weaving, and ducking through the uncaring and ill-mannered men and women who filled the sidewalks, the young crowd of dissenting LGBT festival goers began throwing things, including an assortment of beverages – some caffeinated, some alcoholic – at the silent, stoic men waiting patiently to carry their scripture covered banners past the crushing sea of onlookers. In that moment, I thought to myself how out of my league the average person in attendance was, and how little I wanted to be associated with them. So began my hour-and-a-half of panic attacks, ultimately sending me home and away from the weekend’s debauchery in favor of a glass of wine and some quiet contemplation.