Pride Fest 2016

A priest giving hugs

I think that, given the current climate in which we live, its particularly important to attend events like pride. Even if you’re not on the LGBTQIA (or MOGAI as I prefer to be called (info here)) spectrum, your appearance and support are appreciated in times like this. As shown in the photo to the right, where a priest from the local Episcopal Church was hugging two trans girls (and anyone else who wanted a hug).

The beauty of Pride Parades is the sense of community that it creates. Queers and straights; young and old; people from all over the region and from all different lives coming together to stand up and say: Love Wins.

Pot Bernie

I had the honor of marching with a group of teachers in the parade (in a twist of irony, none of them know I’m ace) to support a local candidate. Also marching with us? Pot Bernie. I’m not sure why, but this cardboard cut out of the senator was wearing a pot leaf necklace.

Wait, are you gay? Haha. No. I’m not gay, I am not a male who is sexually attracted to other men. Nor am I a lesbian. I identify as Asexual, because I’m not actually sexually attracted to anyone (for more info on asexuality, go here). So while I’m not gay or lesbian, I do fall into the queer spectrum.

What to Expect at Pride:

  • Rainbows
    • This may go without saying, but you will see a lot of rainbows.
  • Flags Everywhere
    • You’ll see a lot of people wearing flags as capes
    • You’ll see a lot of variety in the flags. Technically the rainbow flag is just for gay men (although most people use it to represent the whole MOGAI group, and we don’t mind), so a lot of other flags are used (example: asexuals fly Purple, Grey, Black, and White). Here’s a guide to pretty much all the flags.
  • Hugs
    • You will get hugged. A lot. By people you’ve never met. They’re not trying to make you uncomfortable, and I’m sure if you’d say “no thank you, I’m not comfortable being touched” they would back away in a heartbeat.
    • Don’t be afraid to give hugs. I ran up and hugged every person with an Ace flag and they thought it was the coolest thing ever.
  • Vigils
    • More often than not, and this is sad to have to say, you’ll see memorials for the latest hate crimes.
  • Protesters
    • Unfortunately, people don’t practice “live and let live” and unfortunately most of them are Christians who evidently don’t understand “love thy neighbor”
    • When the parade went past a particularly loud group of protestors we screamed “Love Wins” over and over so you couldn’t hear them. This is also normal.
    • Police who are there to protect you. If a protestor is making you uncomfortable, say something. They will stand by either you or the protestor (usually they’re already near the protestors) to make sure nothing happens. If you see something suspicious, don’t hesitate to report it. Maybe it will be nothing, but thats not worth the risk.
  • Nudity, or very close to it.
    • Expect girls (or trans men) shirtless with only stickers to cover their nipples.
    • Men in short shorts and crop tops.
    • Non-passing trans people in the clothes they want to wear. Not all trans people “look” like the gender they choose to be, but if you’re unsure what pronouns to use, ask. They will be grateful. They/Them is a pretty safe bet if you don’t know what to use.

I’m by no means an expert on Pride, I’ve only been once!! But this is my experience as a first time go-er.

#VolMeansAll at #Pride2016. I was so blessed to be able to walk with the Democratic Party. #acepride

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