A Weekend at the 2013 LA PRIDE PARADE

A Weekend at the 2013 LA PRIDE PARADE
For the first time ever in my life, this year I had the privilege of being among the over 400,000 in attendance at the LA PRIDE. This is an annual parade and festival characterized with colorful celebration and appreciation of the city’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community (LA Pride, 2013). Prior to this, I had only read much about the LGBT community in gay literature . At this gay parade, I experience firsthand a colorful celebration of diversity and equality that happened to be much fun that I had expected. This year’s event was held on a weekend, lasting three days starting from June 7th to 9th (LA Pride, 2013).
Majority of those in attendance were drawn from the LGBT community but also a significant number of straight allies (including myself) and several celebrities showed up to lend support. Notable celebrities that entertained the crowds included Selena Gormez, Maria Menounos, Christina Milian, Samuel Larsen, Brendon Ayanbadejo from the GLEE TV series. The event was also graced by such headlining performers as Ciara, Kat Deluna, Luciana, Chiddy Bang, Uh Huh Her, The Pointer Sisters and Kerli. This was not just a local community event – there were numerous media crews on ground to bring the ongoing at the Parade and the Festival to both the national and international audience.
As a first time attendee, the weekend’s Parade and Festival treated me to a diverse collection of experiences. On Friday evening, the event started off with a signature event called the Purple Celebration, which is an exclusively women party. There were over 180 exhibitors, numerous live stage performances as well as such specialty sections as the Latino Carnival – a cultural and queer art experience by Club Papi and Momentum This year’s event was held on a weekend, lasting three days starting from June 7th to 9th (LA Pride, 2013).
The iconic LA PRIDE was held on Sunday 9th. Traditionally, it features colorful marching contingents, bag pipes and over-the-top floats comprising of community groups, sponsors, businesses and honorees (Cervin, 2012). For this year’s event, we were treated an additional several “firsts” such as #IMAGINE Lounge, which is a social media-motivated lounge experience. I was particularly thrilled by the presence and active participation of the National Guard. I felt privileged to have been in attendance with LA PRIDE maiden Super Bowl Champion, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Shahs of Sunset cast.
The organizers of the LA PRIDE event have a reputation of doing a great job at creating a mass appeal (Wythe, 2011). Indeed they lived up to this reputation. Attendees could not only experience the most energetic Pride Parades and some serious performances from the likes of Chiddy Bang and Ciara, but also could hang out in the park and party with friends. In addition, we enjoyed meandering through the lots of exhibitors and art displays. In a nutshell, there was something for everyone at the LA PRIDE parade and festival living up to the mission of celebrating diversity and equality regardless of one’s sexual orientation.
Attending the LA PRIDE event this year for the first time ever left me with some interesting insights about the contentious issue of homosexuality. I got to learn that, just like myself, more and more members of our society are warming up to the fact that the LPGT community is here with us and need not be sidelined anymore. The many straights that showed in solidarity with the gay community was testament enough to me that the long-held perception of homosexuality being morally wrong is fast dying out. There is an ongoing paradigm shift in the minds as well as moral compasses of our current generation as relates to the issue of human sexuality.

LA Pride. (2013). FAQ. Retrieved from: http://lapride.org/pride/faq.html
Wythe, B. (2011). How Pride Parade Became Tradition. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/blog/2011/06/09/pride-parade/
LA Pride. (20133). Pride 2013. Retrieved from: http://lapride.org/pride/
Cervin, M. (2012). California road trip: San Francisco, Yosemite, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles & the Pacific Coast. Berkeley, CA: Avalon Travel.