Gay Pride in our community is a major event. It’s a time to celebrate in a, positive way, the greatness of being gay. I love it. I have a great life, I have a partner Stacey (this year we will celebrate 20 years together), I have a great family that supports me, I have great friends gay and straight, I have a great home, and I have a great job traveling all over the world. I couldn’t ask for anything more. Now, don’t get me wrong there are things that need to be changed in our world and people who need our help but this blog is intended to share a little insight into our Pride celebration.
Pride is a long and great tradition in the gay community. Beginning as a protest march after the raid at Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York City, in 1969, it has now become a month of celebration of our diversity. When I was first coming out to my family and friends Pride gave me the solace and acceptance I needed knowing I was not the only one out there and that it was ok to be who I was. Plus, everyone was having such a good time it was infectious and I couldn’t get enough.
So this year, Stacey and I and some friends are going to as many Pride celebrations as we can and here’s our list for 2012.
Long Beach Pride celebrated its 29th year and we were really excited to attend this event because it was our first time. Long Beach, Ca. is a great area and is home to a sizable, dynamic gay and lesbian population. We love to visit as often as we can, however, our schedule never allowed us to attend Pride. That changed this past weekend and we were not disappointed. The two-day celebration had numerous events, many entertainers (Queen Latifah was the headliner on Sat. night), a lot of food and I must say some toxic beverages. The popularity of this Pride event has grown over the years and it’s one of the ‘biggies” not to be missed.
Next on the Agenda is L.A. Pride. This was one the first Pride events I ever attended when I was a teenager (and still way in the closet) so it holds a special place in my heart. It was one of the first times I could be gay in public and it felt great and extremely liberating. This year Pride in on June 8 – 10 and it has all the potential to be the best one in years. Since Los Angeles is so large you have a great diverse community, family, friends and allies that come together and celebrate our history, courage, accomplishments and the future. What more could you ask for? How about Belinda Carlisle? She will be performing on Saturday and it should be a blast. The best part is the Trevor Project will be the Grand Marshall of the Pride parade. They are a great organization and we always encourage supporting them financially or by volunteering your time.
Then we are headed north to the behemoth and massive San Francisco Pride. This one is hard to explain but if you have ever been to San Francisco and realize how small the city is especially downtown and then add a million people on the streets, it’s a site to see. San Francisco Pride has been said to be “one of the last remaining pride events that can truly be called a rite of passage.” “The SF Pride Celebration will be held over the weekend of June 23 and 24, 2012, in downtown San Francisco in Civic Center at the foot of San Francisco’s historic City Hall where Harvey Milk once stood and addressed Pride-goers more than thirty years ago. With over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, and more than 20 stages and venues, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.” I love this Pride. I can say nothing else.
Then towards the end of the summer we will attend the Ventura County Pride. What you’ve never heard of it? Ventura County is about an hour northwest of Los Angeles near the Pacific. This is a great Pride because it is much smaller in size but has the feel of one of the larger Pride events. This years Pride will be held over the weekend of August 24-26 and will be fun filled, entertaining weekend of community events. Paddy’s bar is a must see and great way to indulge in a well-poured cocktail and see some wonderful entertainment.