Dublin Core




A clip of Matias reading “Parades,” a poem that dramatizes the disconnect between American conservative Christians who saw AIDS as punishment for sin and the thousands of gay men who suffered because of the disease.


David Matias Papers


Elizabeth Huth Coates Library Special Collections, Trinity University


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The community of Jesus met to decide a theme for their float in the Chatham 4th of July parade.
Church members stuck to self-righteousness like lint clung to the oscillating fan keeping them cool that summer evening.
I bore witness to their pageant.
Satan imprisons your soul.
People behind bars, signs hung around their necks, name tags for sins: fornicator, thief, alcoholic, homosexual.
They silenced the sidewalk spectators, who stopped waving their miniature American flags.
I go somewhere else in those moments, this time to the gay games celebration.
Sixty-four thousand of us in Yankee stadium, performing the wave like only gay men could: with full extension of the arms and wrists.
Stonewall 25 hours we march, past the UN to central park.
Suddenly movement stopped, the music went off, spectators from windows along the route became quiet.
They watched another kind of wave. Tens of thousands stood in silence. Hands were held high forming ASL "I love you"s, a fist, a victory sign, or three fingers, because it was 3 p.m. and time to take pause.
Manhattan froze for two minutes in the hot sun, everything draped in apparent stillness.
We heard a pulse that was far away get closer and closer. Air conditioning engines, taxi motors, warehouse generators, train brakes below, boats on the Hudson.
A cop standing, legs apart, at a sawhorse barrier looked around, then tilted his head down.
A tide of reverence washed over the miles of mourners.
We rained on ourselves, thinking, and thinking of all the friends dead from AIDS.
I once heard a theologian scholar describe Jesus as the most female of men. I'm sure this parade gave him pride.

Original Format



2 minutes 53 seconds



“Parades,” History Exhibits, accessed July 23, 2024,

Output Formats