Why Pride Is Important – Some Scenes from Des Moines

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Every June, a lot of people ponder the idea of LGBT Pride… what should it look like?  How does it serve our community?  An article on Slate.com’s The Root demonstrates how different today’s pride celebrations are compared to those during the civil rights era for the Black community.

Honestly, I love how open pride celebrations are.  How grand to be embracing our sexuality and our full identities!  Yes, some people might present themselves in ways that we are not accustomed to seeing, but I don’t think that makes them “wrong” or “inappropriate.”  The whole notion of pride, at least as I understand it, is to celebrate who we are with no shame.

I was actually talking to my friends about one of the big differences between the civil rights movement of the 60s and the gay rights movement: the soundtrack.  For the civil rights movement, gospel, anthems, and spirituals gave the demonstrators strength and fostered community and passion.  Given that religious organizations are often the opposition to gay rights, it’s easy to see how that kind of music might not fit.  Instead, our soundtrack is often dance and techno music.  Strong dance beats and uplifting lyrics keep us energized.

Pride is our opportunity to be in a truly queer space; a space where we are not the minority for once.  We can just be open and feel really proud of who we are, without trying to hide.  Our soundtrack, our theatrics, our displays… these all serve the unique needs of our community to feel free.

Below are a few pictures from the Capital City Pride (Des Moines) parade from this past Sunday (June 14, 2009).  Given the amazing progress Iowa has seen recently, it was truly an exciting weekend to celebrate our community.  I hope the images below help you understand the importance of pride festivals and the needs of our community to unite and energize each other.

DSM Pride 09 - 1

One Iowa:

Another Iowan 4 Marriage.

Born, raised, and READY TO MARRY in Iowa.

DSM Pride - 2

JUST MARRIED.

DSM Pride - 3

Love makes a family.

DSM Pride - 4

It’s a life, not a lifestyle.

I like girls who like girls.

Proud bisexual junior-higher.

Mom loves me + knows I’m gay.

DSM Pride - 5

Ironically, there were several church groups walking right behind the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers.

DSM Pride - 6

Just married.

How beautiful.  We have so much to celebrate.

I’ll leave you with the crowd enjoying a performance from the fabulous Champagne Showers:

DSM Pride - 7

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