Went to my first San Diego Pride parade yesterday and had a great time. Yes, I admit I went to not only show my support as a straight ally, but to hopefully ogle some hot guys with my buddy Gordon. (Hey, at least I’m honest!)
It was a very hot, sunny San Diego day in Hillcrest yesterday, with tons of happy faces (albeit quite sunburned today…well, at least mine is!) and such a POSITIVE vibe amongst the LGBT and straight folks, from some who have been around the block a few times to those barely able to take their first steps–just a great pleasure to be a part of.
There was such a wide variety of groups represented, from politicians to roller derby girls, from the bear community to a public charter school, from the ACLU to the USDA, and many more you can see in my online photo album (273 pics!). Being an animal lover, it was fabulous seeing our 4-footed friends making several appearances, including San Diego Pug Rescue, the Neuter Scooter, Sunset Cliffs Animal Hospital, and the horses from the Wells Fargo contingent.
I have to admit I was floored by how many church and synagogue contingents there were, too! Again, just a VERY good feeling to see so many areas of San Diego County come together in such a positive fashion. (I read somewhere there was a very small group of protesters, but I didn’t run across any…thankfully.)
On the negative side, though, I do have to say that as a former marching band geek (yes, I admit it!) who has participated in many a parade, I hope that next year parade organizers work on NOT having so many gaps of time between contingents, as was first evidenced early on with at least 10 minutes (really more) of nothing, nada, zip, zilch, between the ‘loud and proud’ (literally) first group, “Dykes on Bikes” and the second group. Unfortunately there were many more gaps like that throughout the parade. That being said, I can only imagine what goes into trying to organize 8,000 participants in 180 contingents and floats. Organizers might also want to consider more crowd control (estimates of over 150,000 attendees!) since people had no qualms about just moving themselves right out into the street to hang out, not only interfering with parade activity, but also rudely blocking the view of those who’d staked out spots curbside much earlier. There were a couple of times I had to ask folks to move out of the way so a wheelchair bound woman nearby could see the parade.
I’ve included a few of my favorite photos I took at the parade, but if you’d like to see more (including Grand Marshals, Cleve Jones and Lady Chablis) the link is below. I haven’t had the time or energy to crop them or add descriptions, yet, and also still have several videos to upload…at some point. San Diego Pride Parade 7/18/09