PROVO, UTAH—"We're here, we're same-gender challenged, and we're awfully sorry to impose," said Provo Gay Humility Parade organizer Thomas Smith. "If we had our choice, believe me, we wouldn't hold this parade at all. But who are we to deny what God hath wrought?"
Involving about fifty men and a handful of women, the parade started at the corner of Fifth East and Second South in a Provo residential neighborhood and disbanded a block later at Fifth East and Third South. "We stayed on the sidewalk, so we wouldn't get in anyone's way," said Smith. "We didn't want to trouble the city for a permit."
Most of the men wore white shirts, ties, and clean, ironed Levi's creased down the middle. "We handed out rainbow key-chain fobs to our marchers beforehand," Smith said, "but we asked everyone to keep them in their pockets during the parade."
Some of the participants carried signs. Held discreetly in front of her chest, Lily Spainhower's sign was laserprinted on white paper in Helvetica 16-point font: TELESTIAL KINGDOM OR BUST. "I'm actually hoping for terrestrial," Spainhower said, "but I wouldn't want to presume." A man who declined to give his name carried a sign that said, JESUS LOVES ME, BUT HE'S NOT IN LOVE WITH ME.
Smith arranged for a handful of protesters to picket the parade and berate the marchers in order to intensify their humility. "Walking through the fire of affliction burns away the dross," Smith said. Priests and teachers from the East Bay Twenty-Second Ward held signs reading GET THEE BEHIND ME—BUT NOT LITERALLY and NO PRIESTHOOD FOR PANSIES. As instructed they chanted, "Gay, gay, go away—get born again some other way!"
Jeff Paulsen marched next to his long-term partner Frank Hume. Both men kept their arms reverently folded and did not indulge in any physical contact with each other, as per parade rules. "Frank attends the local family ward, and I attend the over-thirty singles ward," Paulsen said after the parade. "When the sacrament comes around, we don't take it, and we pinch ourselves until it hurts."
"While we didn't want to draw undue attention, it felt good to be ourselves in public for a few minutes," Smith said. "I'd say about twenty onlookers saw us. We just hope the Provo City Library still honors our library cards after this."