P-town, August 2017: the theme was Gods and Goddesses at Carnival this year. Medusa, Athena, and a hell of a lot of topless gladiators were out in full force.
There were many six-packs to be admired, and some kick-ass dykes on bikes valiantly rocking leather under the steamy summer sun. The Provincetown police department appears to be almost entirely queer and as fashion-forward as my Aunt Edith.
I brought my 21-year-old son James to Provincetown this year—it was his maiden voyage. As the week wore on, I saw his shoulders gradually loosen as he experienced what we all have the very first time we arrive: you are welcome here. Even a white privileged teenager coming out in Brooklyn in 2016 can have a bumpy journey. There is nothing quite like letting your true colors fly completely unfettered.
We spent the week with my best friend. He’s big on coordinated outfits and doesn’t trust my fashion sense so he’d ordered matching togas for all of us. We tried them on the day before carnival. Mine was too tight for my middle-aged middle and way too femmy for me. It cried out for kitten heels and a clutch—I'm more of a high-top converse and army backpack kind of gal. Then we switched togas and found our personas. I became the soft butch goddess of the resistance, wearing a long rainbow cape and holding a homemade "Love Conquers Hate" sign, acknowledging what had just happened in Charlottesville. James let his inner drag queen fly. After a quick trip into town to the House of LaRue (because of course Provincetown has a store selling heels in mens size 12) we were ready for the parade.
At 6’ 3”, wearing a new auburn wig aptly named “Lovely,” 4-inch glossy lipstick red stilettos, and a toga mini skirt, James looked ravishing. And more importantly, he was radiating joy as he strutted his stuff down Commercial Street. Walking beside him, watching him soaking in the winks, waves, and catcalls was divine.
We were mother and son, side by side, celebrating ourselves, each other, and the community around us. Our rainbow genes have never fit so well. Here’s to P-town, and family pride.