It’s that time of year again to break out the rainbow flags and colorful bead necklaces. Yes, it is LGBT Pride season across the country. It’s interesting to experience it at this age in my life. Yes, we went to the festival in Los Angeles. And I met up with some friends for the parade too.
So now LA Pride is charging $25 entry, or upgrade to VIP for $40 more to access roller skating and a special section to watch the performances. Things have definitely gotten more commercial and corporate since those first festivals I went to 30 years ago. There was a ferris wheel and some carnival games this year, plus some higher end food booths featuring sushi and more upscale items.
The parade itself was about 2.5 hours long. Yes, there were hot guys, and a good selection of community organizations, but there were plenty of corporations too with large contingents. So now it seems like having gay employees or trying to reach gay audiences are mainstream now. There seemed to be a lot of transgender stuff this year, in light of Caitlyn Jenner and the popularity of “Transparent” also.
These are exciting and interesting times we are living in. The Supreme Court has ruled for marriage equality for all. And it is refreshing to see so many diverse portrayals of LGBT characters on TV and the movies. Then add in openly gay artists on the radio and selling out concerts. Times have changed indeed.
So where does the gay community go from here? The most obvious is pushing for laws to protect us from getting fired from our jobs. And dealing with discrimination in housing also. The right wing is not going to give up either, so we can’t get too complacent about things. They are going to work every possible angle to protect their “Christian values” by passing laws like these religious freedom bills or saying they will openly defy the laws if the Supreme Court OK’s same-sex marriage. I fear that we may see a brief increase of hate crimes happening against LGBT people.
On the plus side, I am out as I can be in my life. Everyone at work knows who my partner is. When I go to the grocery store without my partner, they will ask where he is. I have found churches that accept us as the loving spouses we are, not just 2 random guys. My family is pretty open too about it all too, they realize we have been together a long time — even longer than some of my siblings marriages!
So be proud of who you are! I am, and I am glad I am here to see all the amazing things happening in the LGBT movement. Will I go to the Pride Festival next year? Not sure, I may pass on it. But you will definitely catch me watching the parade.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.