Happy Pride season everyone! It’s that time to break out your rainbow gear and sunscreen as you head down to your local pride parade/festival. At this point in my life, I have experienced 33 years of pride celebrations. Most of them in Los Angeles, but a few times in San Francisco, once in Palm Springs and once in Boston too. I love the energy and diversity that I see on display!
Last year, Los Angeles opted to have a Pride Protest instead of the usual parade. It was happy to see all the people that wanted to protest. But it was back to normal (or should I say new normal) with this year’s celebration.
I realized something this year — and it is has been building to this for a few years. I am in love with the idea of Pride, but not the reality of Pride. Is it because I am getting older? Or is it because Pride has changed? It is probably a bit of both.
The Pride Festival in Los Angeles costs $25 for a single day or $40 for 2 days. That just gets you in the door to the festival grounds in West Hollywood Park. Add in any food and drinks you want, and you are looking at a decent amount of money spent for the day. They used to get performers I knew and loved — now not so much. LA’s biggest headliner was Tove Lo — I know I like 2 of her songs, not enough to interest me in going to see her.
There used to be community organizations and small businesses at Pride. Now they have all been pushed out in favor of corporations like Chase, Target and Busch. It’s more about making a buck off of the gay community now versus a safe place for us to celebrate being members of a marginalized community.
Last year’s protest put the spotlight back on issues instead of partying. We had gotten used to ever-increasing acceptability/visibility in our society. Then Trump got elected. He was supposedly the most gay-friendly Republican ever. I didn’t believe it for a minute.
For the 2nd year in a row, my husband and I decided not to go to the Pride festival. It doesn’t hold much appeal for us anymore. A lot of money for a short period of time, and not many things that interest us there either.
We did make it to the Pride Parade though. I enjoyed it as I always do. And it was the biggest crowd that I have seen in quite a long time. And I was happy to see that there was still a good segment of activism in attendance — from transgendered issues — to stopping gun violence — to organizations catering to blacks and Muslims. Plus a good amount of churches, community organizations and barely-dressed guys dancing in Speedos. Yeah, there were corporations like Disney, Delta and Metro. But big corporations being supportive of gay rights are the new normal.
So will I go to the Pride festival next year? Not sure. I live my life openly and honestly — so in reality I am celebrating Pride every day. I get to share my life with my husband and I have supportive friends and family. I hope you are as blessed as I am. Thanks for reading.
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.