O-ho, the Wells Fargo Wagon Is a Comin’—Stagecoach as a “Gay-Coach”
In the Broadway show The Music Man, with the stagecoach approaching the small town of River City, an adorable little tyke—played by Ron Howard as lisping little Winthrop—steps forward:
O-ho the Wellth Fargo Wagon ith a-comin’ now,
I don’t know how I can ever wait to thee...
It could be thumpin’ for thumone who is
No relation but it could be thumpthn thpethyul
Just for me!
I wish Ron Howard could have been with us. This year’s Washington D.C. gay pride parade was full of ”thumpthn thpethyul.” Drummers, dancers, and divas were in full force—so was the iconic antique horse-drawn carriage of Wells Fargo, with an adorable sleeping hound dog on the roof as a reminder of how far we’ve come.
Strolling behind the carriage was a male couple in Wells Fargo T-shirts—holding hands as naturally as the Cartwrights rode horses on Bonanza. The sleeping dog on the roof of the stagecoach, and the tweeting occupants within, were clear indication that time has moved beyond the bucolic scenes of yesteryear.
Before Winthrop “things” (sings!) his way through his lines, the town folk have all guessed what might be on the wagon. Curtains? Dishes? A rocking chair? Raisins from Fresno? Imagine the scene instead with those two gay men walking behind. (Why, it brought us gays from Washington D.C.!) This ain’t your grandfather’s stagecoach.
So I’m watching the nifty sidewalk display with all the Wachovia/Wells Fargo material and the rainbow flag in their window and giving them an A on every level and realize that the TD Bank on the corner has nothing in the window and nothing on the sidewalk.
They’ve spent all this time bragging about their banking services. What about your support? There’s this huge poster of TD spokesluminaries Regis and Kelly and you’re thinking why didn’t they just photoshop Ellen in between them for a day? But they did redeem themselves with a float—as did SunTrust.
So what’s pride without dancing? Shirtless men line danced on a flatbed, the Lambda Squares square-danced on the asphalt, and there was pole dancing—yes, pole dancing— brought to you by D.C.’s legendary Results: The Gym.
Our straight allies danced with us and each other. With temps at 90 degrees, and humidity higher than Lindsay Lohan, awards should go for homo-humidity endurance: runner up would be “Scoop!” the dog who carries the shovel and encourages you to Scoop Your Pet’s Poop. Well he (she?) is in full headdress and that felt fabric dog regalia head to toe.
But the heat stroke winner has to be Miss Latino LGBT project in a green velvet ball gown. OMG. Marabou was everywhere along with sweaty drag queens by the dozens. They all looked like Snooki from Jersey Shore. But none, to my knowledge, were tweeting with John “DADT” McCain.
Front yards were full of party goers—and our straight allies join in with vim, vigor and vodka. (Plenty of vodka.) PFLAG is always sure to get themselves applause and for me—always a goose bump. Best poster sign: “OF COURSE WE LOVE OUR DAUGHTER.” The dogs were adorable, and—just asking—why do one quarter of gay men under 30 look like Jake Gyllenhaal? Which came first, Jake or the knock-offs?
The churches were there in strong number. Saints alive! Everyone seemed to be welcoming us: St. Thomas, St. George, St. Stephen, and St. Margaret all sent an entourage—as did All Souls (each and every soul), the Lutherans, the Methodists, the Presbyterians—even the Baptists!—followed closely by “Miss Teen Jesus” on the back of a convertible. Dive right in to diversity, my friends. Dive right in. I’m sure Pat Robertson’s entourage intended to join in but got caught in NASCAR traffic.
Pity. He could have seen gay rugby players, gay rowing teams, gay swimmers, and gay runners. And, since the reverend claims that disaster follows us gay folk, please note: there was not one drop of rain on our parade!
The first dozen parade spots are reserved for our local politicians and the lag between each group maddeningly takes forever—a political metaphor for how long it takes us to get anything done. Why can an oil giant deliver a suitcase full of money and instantly push one lever to pass (bad) public policy. And here we are on the right side of civil rights history—supposedly a “no brainer” of overt discrimination—and our victories come so slowly?
So, even though we’ve come light years, there are miles to go before we sleep. Every one of us wants that stagecoach to deliver us the news of the repeal of DADT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and the passage of ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act). Still, we persevered with pride in the nation’s capital this year. Thumpthn truly thpethyul
Brent Mundt resides in Washington, DC but lives in Rehoboth Beach.