A Flag Bearing Fairy Godmother Saved Pride In a Poughkeepsie Miracle

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Ryan Doughty and Josh Taylor are in many ways the heart of the gay community in Poughkeepsie, New York. The couple, who have been dating for 24 yearssince meeting when they were in college,  have created a salon in their home that serves as the de facto LGBT headquarters in the city. So when their Gay Pride flag, which they fly virtually all year went missing in early June they were aghast.

Photo above: Joshua Taylor

Doughty says the flag was stolen at least twice, once last summer and then again last fall. The couple have closed home security footage of the culprit.

His neighbors, who fully support and love the splash of color and panache it adds to the Mill street neighborhood, were aghast.

Photo above: Ryan Doughty

Doughty tempered neighborhood calls for justice upon learning that the thief who was a homeless man with mental health issues and sought to help him.

This latest theft was a shock and with only hours until Poughkeepsie Pride was to commence, they had no flag.

Until, a Fairy God Mother left them a gift.

Yes, Virginia Poughkeepsie would have Pride! Doughty says the homeless man who’d stolen it in the past, was even excited to see the new flag. “He has seen the new flag up. He asked my neighbors about it. He told them that he loves it. It’s such a pretty flag that he loves all the colors.”

Doughty and Taylor had numerous reasons to celebrate this year. Nine years ago Taylor gave the love of his life one of his kidneys to survive.

In a feature story in The Advocate from June 18, 2012, their story was told in “The Perfect Match: When Love Means Giving an Organ.”

Above from left to right: Josh Taylor and Ryan Doughty.

“It’s good to know you can rely on someone when things get tough. And for Ryan Doughty, that person was his longtime boyfriend,” the story said. Doughty was diagnosed with glomerulonephritis, or swollen kidneys. The result of Doughty’s diagnosis was end-stage renal failure. His kidneys only had 5% of their function left.

Taylor and Doughty had been sweethearts for 15 years. They say they fell in love at first sight at the Congress Tavern in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  Both had just graduated from college, Taylor from Vassar and Doughty from the Conservatory of Music at SUNY Purchase.

They moved in together in New York’s East Village, where they went on to spend 10 years and eventually wound their way back to the beautiful Hudson Valley in 2004, settling in a converted loft in an old firehouse in downtown Poughkeepsie’s historic district. Since falling in love all those summers ago, they worked as the DJ duo Prephab and have been partners in both business and love.

Photo above: DJ Prephab Kidney-versary celebration.

Doughty needed a transplant, or these treatments were going to last the rest of his life. Finding a kidney is a tremendously long process often fraught with high expectations and dashed hopes. It can try even the most patient of people.

If you’re lucky, it can take three to six years to find a match. Many willing donors are ineligble because of health issues. So there aren’t enough kidneys to go around, which makes the process highly selective. Said Taylor: “Donor’s list, dean’s list, highly selective … so much of the language they use makes this horrifying process sound like you’re applying to college. I finally agreed to get tested as a donor.”

After eight tense weeks, the results came in: Taylor was a match.

“We didn’t want to rush into this,” said Doughty. “We wanted to make sure the timing was right. So we scheduled the surgery for the following spring. This gave us enough time to prepare for it mentally and physically.”

The transplant was done successfully this past April.

“Josh and I share a kidney,” said Doughty. “We are connected in a way most couples aren’t. It’s a testament to our relationship. No government can deny us that.” But more important, Doughty is healthy. He’s got energy that he hasn’t felt in a long time. “Now that I have Josh’s kidney, I feel as if I have a second chance on life.”

And they’re still having happy endings.

Photo above: (from left to right) Taylor, DeLaria, Doughty, and Nick Hotchkiss.

Grand Marshall Lea DeLaria was escorted by motorcycles and followed by hundreds of marchers on the route from Market Street down Main Street, ending at Waryas Park on the shore of the Hudson River.

 

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According to Mid-Hudson News: The parade was hastily organized by the Dutchess County Pride Center after pandemic protocols were relaxed recently.  Celebrating diversity and memorializing the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that marked the start of the gay liberation movement, the parade was attended by several local leaders.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro greeted DeLaria and many marchers before the start of the parade.  “We are founded on a simple yet profound belief: it is self-evident all are created equal. And, we have learned these last 17 months how precious life, moments, and the love we share are. We celebrate and support that today and always,” Molinaro said.

Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison attended to show his support for the LGBTQ community and welcomed attendees to the city he leads.  “We are a city of diversity and acceptance. I am honored to be a part of it and lucky to live here,” he remarked prior to the start of the event.

DeLaria, an award-winning comedian and actress, is considered to be the first openly gay comic to appear on national television.  The performer greeted everyone that approached her with a big smile and was posing for pictures with everyone that asked.  “My daughter and I have watched Orange Is The New Black and enjoy her character,” said Lynn Miele-Versaci.  “We really enjoyed meeting her and sharing a few laughs.  She’s really cool.”

Meanwhile Doughty and Taylor played beats on the Hudson well into the wee hours.

Doughty and Taylor as the DJ Duo Prephab can be reached for bookings and press at: prephab@gmail.com and follow them on Instagram.

 

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