Parades have never been my thing. In my mind, they’re always small, hometown affairs where locals smile from stars-and-stripes lawn chairs while firefighters distribute candy under the summer sun. But when my local underground music magazine announced they’d be marching in this year’s Pride parade, I signed up. I wanted to support the LGBTQ+ community, partially because a small piece of me has a stake there, and maybe a little because I think open defiance is still punk rock.
My misguided notions left me totally unready for what I found. 60,000 people lined the mile-long stretch, bedecked in rainbows and the full spectrum of Pride flags. I have never experienced such an outpouring of love, support, and community. Families cheered and waved alongside drag queens and trans rights groups. And why shouldn’t they? These ideas, these senses of identity and belonging, are not contradictory, and that was the very reason we had all come.
The road to Pride was much longer than the mile we walked (and danced, and chanted). This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, widely recognized as the dawn of the LGBTQ+ rights movement. We were reminded that the struggle for equality was not over as we passed protestors—just five of them, corralled off and obscured in the shadow of the bright morning. I wouldn’t have known how to suffer their insults and slurs had they been volatile, but I didn’t have to. Those 60,000 voices of unity and acceptance spoke so much louder than the voice of hate.
In the end, my attendance probably wasn’t noticeable—just a drop in a river of people. But that river of people keeps growing and gaining speed, and in the end, it’s going to wear down any walls that try to hold it back.
Proposal Writer, Sales