Today was Seattle's Gay Pride Parade. I attended, complete with my wedding ring and kippah. I believe it's important to be present, as a married, religious member of the community.
That said, I struggle so much with many aspects of the gay community, including its ego-driven, body-image obsessed, over-sexualized, corporate-influenced set of values. Not really anything different from the general society, but I wish that the gay community could focus more on celebrating our diverse identities, and less on looking physically attractive, getting laid, and buying the latest in-fashions. The parts of the community I like are overshadowed by these more dominant, negative ones.
On a heart-warming level, I received a lot of curious glances and warm smiles beause of my kippah. Many people loved it, because it has characters from The Simpsons on it. Others were impressed that someone was visibly Jewish at the festival. One German woman asked me if I was Polish, and what Polish city I was from. I kindly laughed, saying I was not Polish, my mother is from Ireland, and I was raised in Seattle. She laughed, telling me I had a nice beard, and beautiful, smiling eyes - the kind she had only seen in Poland and Germany before.
Apart from a lot of hatred that exists out there for Jews, there are also those folks that respond quite warmly to someone visibly Jewish. There is something that seems to pique people's interest. When I am wearing a kippah, more people approach me to ask for directions, comment on what I am wearing, or make any other approached toward me.
It makes me wonder what positive aspects and traits people project onto Jewish folks. If they do not have hateful assumptions, I wonder why they assume good. Is it guilt from history? Is it personal, positive experiences? Or is it just me?
Who knows. Every time I wear a yamulke in public, the reacton is generally positive and striking. Maybe the difference is with how I take the world in.