Five Tips for a Happy, Healthy Pride


Priorities – Making it through Pride unscathed!

I know, I know. What kind of killjoy writes lectures about pride safety, for goodness sakes? Isn’t pride about overindulging, letting our freak flag fly, and sticking it to the patriarchy by having a really good time?With my comic (as opposed to nurse) hat on, I’ve performing at more than 150 pride celebrations in the last decade. That’s a lot of doggie drag contests and rainbow butt plugs and greasy vendor food. And I love pride events, especially small town ones.

But health just isn’t the biggest priority, let’s be honest. More than once I performed under a two-story high beer bottle. There’s nothing about a two-story beer bottle that suggests enjoy in moderation. And once in a large southern pride I emceed for eight hours whilst a person high on something other than queer empowerment (Cocaine? Ecstasy?) ran back and forth in front of the stage, each lap shedding more clothes and picking up speed until finally she was sprinting back and forth, panting, clad only in  a rainbow flag. WIthout even a matching pair of flip flops.

Somehow I bet she felt more dehydrated and headachy the next day than proud.

So, maybe we can look at this from a harm reduction rather than a killjoy perspective. 

Tip #1:

Post global warming (and pre-everyone deciding we could just as easily celebrate pride in October during National Coming Out Month) your biggest pride day enemy is going to be heat. Especially now that Fred Phelps is dead.

Wear light colors, and light fabrics. And breathable fabrics. And don’t wear tons of layers, so the sweat that collects on the innermost one can never evaporate and cool you.

I’m aware I  just described the complete wardrobes of the average drag queen, but they’re professionals. Don’t try it at home. Or in this case, at the blacktopped fairgrounds we take over once a year.

Tip #2:

Everyone needs sunscreen. And by everyone, I mean, no matter what: if you are tan already, if you have more naturally occurring melanin, if you “never burn”. It’s not 1973, everyone’s heard of skin cancer plus we all know the havoc wreaked on the ozone layer by the Gay Agenda.

Oh, they’re not blaming us for that?


But still, the Ozone Layer is not what it used to be.

If it’s hot, you’re going to sweat off even “waterproof” sunblocks which are mostly theoretically waterproof, so be prepared to reapply.

Also, did you know that the cheap glitter is made of metal which can reflect the sun back onto your skin? The resulting burn can be both painful and weird-looking. I have learned this the hard way.

Tip #3:

Along with sunscreen, everyone should carry a water bottle. I know, who wants to drink water? It will make you have to pee and then you’ll have to venture into the portable toilets used by all 10,000 of your closest friends and that’s gross. So bring your own toilet paper and your own hand sanitizer and a clothespin for you nose.

You can always use the clothespin later for something more fun. You should also carry a portable water dish and water for any canine friends that you’ve invited along. Dogs will drink out of any puddle when they’re thirsty, but can you imagine what’s in a typical Pride Puddle?

Tip #4:

Have a designated walker. Even if you’re taking public transit to pride and no one will be driving home, drinking groups of pals should elect one member of your party to stay sober and make sure everyone gets home safe. That person should probably have a first aid kit and an extra water bottle and you should cook them a meal the next weekend in thanks for listening to everyone’s drunken “I can’t believe my ex is here with my therapist” tirades.

Tip #5:

Elephant ears are not gluten free. Don’t even ask the vendor and don’t take your cause up with pride director. Point of fact, elephant ears are essentially made of gluten. Unless they are made of actual elephant in which case you’d probably have better success taking it up with PETA.