PRIDE! Parades and festivals are an important part of gay culture and heritage, as well as all of the politics and marketing, etc., which goes on. It is important because someplace, every moment of every day, somebody comes to terms with themselves or a family member or friend or co-worker, and what it means to be "GAY" or "LESBIAN" or "BISEXUAL" or "TRANSGENDERED" and that person needs to know that they are not alone. PRIDE is as much a public display of support as it is a reason to party...even if it is only on one day out of 365!
If you have never been to a PRIDE festival and parade, you should go at least once, to have the experience and get a better perspective of what the community is like in your city. If you have been to previous PRIDES, GREAT! I hope you had fun and continue to attend and support them. Just know that the vast majority of smaller PRIDES grow each year, because we don't all live in the Mega-cities and need to know that there are others out there that understand what it is like to “want that hot guy at the gym, but are afraid to talk to him because you might get beaten up”, or that you enjoy doing drag, but haven't known where to go with this need, or what it is like to want a church that is accepting.....PRIDE gives all of that an outlet and in a fun and positive environment. PRIDE is about many things, but one of the more important is that everyone is allowed to be themselves and express themselves freely...from the DYKES on Bikes to the Topless Lesbians, to the CHUBBIES and the BEARS and TWINKS, JOCKS, DRAG QUEENS and DRAG KINGS, to the "Band Fags", to the "FLAGGOTS", to PFLAG, etc....even the religious and the political....all are welcomed!
The protesters are even expected, although they are pointedly excluded from the festival, they too have the right to attend and make their views known outside of the festival grounds...
I find very little to be "ironic" or "disingenuous" about having PRIDE parades and festivals....I think they are needed and more than once a year! I thinks we need to let people see that we are all different and yet similar. That we are the “professional” or the “blue collar guy”, or the father of children with a family and the High School student and the college Frat Boy, or the Lip Stick Lesbian Beauty Queen, or the military Veteran, or the minister of a Church, etc….that we can be Republican or Democrat, or Black or Asian, or beautiful or ugly, thin or fat or jocks or theatrical or flaming or… “Just like them”!
PRIDE in Columbus, OH, is a VERY BIG event and culminates a full month of events, this year on the weekend of June 28-29.....PLEASE Come to COLUMBUS for PRIDE! Last year had about 200,000 in attendance and the parade lasted about 2 hours and stretched out over about 2.5 miles, through downtown Columbus, in front of the State Capitol and is usually well attended by the Mayor and many high placed politicians and other supporters, MANY of them are STRAIGHT ALLIES! MANY HAVE THEEIR KIDS AND SPOUSES with them and many are marching in the parades!.....The city is very accepting, friendly and FUN!