Bisbee Pride

The Gay Pride movement began in late 1969 in response to the Stonewall raid (on the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in NY). A march was scheduled in New York City for June of 1970. Since then, the movement has grown and now Gay Pride events happen around the world, from Aathus (Denmark) to Zürich, throughout the summer months. In Bisbee, this was Gay Pride Weekend.

People come to Bisbee from around southern Arizona each year for this celebration. The hotels fill up, the restaurants and bars serve up plenty of food and drinks, there are booths in Grassy Park, and there are lots of special events.

Events began Friday. There was a golf tournament in the morning, booths opened in the park, and that night there was the now famous (infamous?) lingerie pub crawl. No photos of that, folks! There was also an outdoor dance.

And on Friday evening, there was one special unscheduled event. An early Monsoon Season show! There was an afternoon buildup of clouds that darkened and soon tossed a little rain on Bisbee. This was followed by a beautiful rainbow over town – the Gay Pride rainbow, perhaps? (photo by Sharon Lee of Bisbee, used by permission)

The rainbow came to Pride Weekend. Thanks to

The rainbow came to Pride Weekend. Thanks to Sharon Lee for the photo!

On Saturday there was a parade, Bisbee’s first Gay Pride parade – short, but fun. Gay bikers led the parade and were followed by a convertible carrying Grand Marshalls Mayor Adriana Badal and Councilman Gene Connors. Gene is the man who brought the civil union law to the City Council.

Gay bikers lead the parade

Gay bikers lead the parade

Mayor Adriana Badal, Grand Marshall, in the back of the convertible

Mayor Adriana Badal, Grand Marshall, in the back of the convertible

Gene Connors, Mayor Badal, and the others who voted for it may soon be facing a recall election, though it could be difficult here for the folks beginning the recall drive to get enough signatures to have any success.

Below you can see some of Bisbee’s Art Cars.. First is Bisbee Van by Kate Pearson, then the J Gurl by Diane Bombshelter, and third is Hillary Car by Gretchen Baer.

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A small peace contingent joined in the parade.

Peace and Equality

Peace and Equality

They carried the gay pride peace flag and each in the group wore an “I am Bradley Manning” flyer on her back.

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Bradley Manning is the (gay) US Army Private accused of passing classified information to the WikiLeaks website. His supporters also had contingents in parades in New York, San Francisco, and other cities. Bisbee is likely one of the smallest place to hold a Gay Pride parade and have a group of Manning supporters.

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On Saturday afternoon there were more events – a pool party, a Drag Divas event, a movie (Some Like it Hot) and an evening cocktail/music party that went on until midnight.

Grassy Park was filled with booths and even had a beer garden!

Grassy Park was filled with booths and even had a beer garden!

Sunday included some special parties at local restaurants and another pool party.

The favorites, as usual, were the Grand Canyon Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

One of the Sisters

One of the Sisters

Me with one of the Sisters

Me with one of the Sisters

Several of the Grand Canyon Ladies of Perpetual Indulgence - with thanks to Lucy St. John of Bisbee for the photo!

Several of the Grand Canyon Ladies of Perpetual Indulgence – with thanks to Lucy St. John of Bisbee for the photo!

In all, it was another wild, wacky, and fun-filled weekend in Old Bisbee!

St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic

Yesterday I took the two-hour trip to Nogales AZ to visit and help at the St. Andrew’s (Episcopal Church) Children’s Clinic. I rode along with my friend and mentor Cheyenne MacMasters who has been offering her Reiki skills at the clinic, held the first Thursday of the month, for about ten years.
We made it through Sierra Vista and Huachuca City, then into the soft beauty of the wine country area of Santa Cruz County. Through Sonoita and Patagonia, then into Nogales, arriving just in time.
We set up the Reiki table under a little portable gazebo in the peace garden. A perfect place to do our healing energy work.

Reiki gazebo in the peace garden

Reiki gazebo in the peace garden

Then we had a quick sampling of cake and coffee offered to the volunteers and returned to begin Reiki on the children and a few of the mothers, too.
This clinic offers free medical services to severely disabled children of extreme poverty in Sonora Mexico. Though many come from the sister city of Nogales, Sonora, many ride busses for hours to attend the monthly clinic. Our first customers boarded the bus at 3 am in Caborca in order to be at the clinic by 9:00.
This clinic was founded in 1973 by a mother in Nogales, Sonora, who had a disabled son and wanted to work with other mothers of disabled children. Together they found doctors and services in the US and convinced the specialists to come see their children.
The clinic soon outgrew the woman’s modest house and the doctors had the idea of moving it to the US. It took a lot of work with US Customs, because many recipients and their families are ineligible to cross into the US. Today, though, some Customs agents donate their time to ensure the families get the proper documentation to cross for medical purposes, facilitate their crossing, and help families board the free shuttles to the clinic.

One of the free shuttles, in this case, a Nogales school bus.

One of the free shuttles, in this case, a Nogales school bus.

The clinic is now a 501c3 charitable organization based in St. Andrew’s Church. Up to 250 children are seen in one day. One of the volunteers described the situation as “controlled chaos” and boy is she right!
Every square inch of the church is used – meeting rooms, hallways, the sanctuary, and even the pastor’s office and large closets. The pastor’s office is used as the room where blood is drawn, and just outside the room’s door sits the secretary, amazingly composed and functioning amidst the noise and confusion. The large office supply room was covered with volunteers sitting on the floor, filling bags with nutritional supplements for children with disabilities that don’t allow them to receive proper nutrition from what the eat, and for those who can only drink, not chew.

Cheyenne provides Reiki to a young patient.

Cheyenne provides Reiki to a young patient.

The vision clinic provides vision screening and free glasses (used children’s glasses are much needed!). Children with complex eye issues that need surgery, such as those needing corneal transplants, red sent out of state for complimentary surgery. The hearing clinic provides testing and free hearing aids (used hearing aids also needed).

The hearing clinic, donated by the Lions Club.

The hearing clinic, donated by the Lions Club.

The clinic has a working relationship with a major hospital in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora, and once a year the doctors there provide free cleft palate surgeries for between 30 and 35 children a year. The clinic provides transportation and temporary housing.
The clinic sees children with spina bifida, cerebral palsey, and Rett Syndrome. There is no space here to discuss this syndrome – look it up. It is pretty awful. Just know it strikes females, leaving them unable to communicate, walk, or defend themselves in any way. Ironically, they are also usually quite beautiful, and they often become easy targets for rapists.
More, more, and more they do – provide amputations, prosthetics, crutches, and wheelchairs. Physical therapy is offered, and the therapists teach family members how to provide a level of therapy in the home.
I was astounded and how much gets done. I was honored to spend some time and provide Reiki to help the children and their mothers distress and relax.

Girl Scouts serve cookies to clients and their families.

Girl Scouts serve cookies to clients and their families.

I thank Cheyenne for taking me along, and I suspect I have now found something to do each first Thursday of the month.
Visit http://www.standrewsclinic.org for additional information, to schedule a visit, or to make a donation.