DC Pride Is Back and Better Than Ever
WASHINGTON — People flooded the streets in celebration of the Capital Pride Parade and Festival this weekend, which were held in person for the first time in two years due to the pandemic.
The theme of the Capital Pride events this year was “reUNITED,” a commentary on the importance of coming together after staying apart for so long due to COVID-19.
“We knew that many individuals, even though many folks are vaccinated and starting to come back to quote-unquote normal, there’s still many in our community that hadn’t been in large spaces in person,” Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, said.
“So we knew that Pride would be that moment for many, to in essence be reunited with family, with friends … within a space [where] they felt safe, welcomed, comfortable and able to be themselves. … Bringing folks back together, ultimately we chose the word ‘reunited,’” he added.
The excitement of everyone involved was apparent to all in attendance. Crowds with whistles and party beads showed their support as the parade went by. They sang Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” at full blast alongside parade floats and cheered as Vice President Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance on Sunday night at the Capital Pride Festival.
The festival stretched down Pennsylvania Avenue from 3rd to 7th Street, allowing people to talk with and grab goodies from over 300 vendors in attendance at the festival.
The first annual Pride celebration in Washington, D.C., occurred in June 1975 on 20th Street between R and S NW. In 1999, former President Bill Clinton declared June to be Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, to honor the Stonewall Inn riots of 1969.
While in office, former President Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month and President Joe Biden has since changed the name to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride Month to further the inclusion in the queer community.
The DC Center for the LGBT Community, one of the groups in attendance at the festival, is a center for the queer community that offers support services such as mental health services, sexual health services and testing, and arts and cultural events.
Eddie Mansius is the treasurer of the DC Center for the LGBT Community.
“It’s very empowering for us to be back in person. … [I]t feels like we are getting back to some resemblance of normal, but I think recent events have reminded us that there is still so much work to do,” Mansius said.
“But it’s encouraging to see so many people here that I feel like it’s something we can accomplish together,” he added.
Dorien Rogers, the nominee for the state conference president for the Maryland youth and college National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, expressed the importance of intersectionality.
“When we talk about the liberalization of Black people, especially the advancement of Black people, we need to make sure that we recognize the intersections, and LGBTQA is one of those intersections,” Rogers said. “So that is why we are here today to not only build community but to educate, inform and empower the community members to bring change where the impossible meets the possible.”
The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC and Paul Heins, the associate conductor of the choir, were at the Capital Pride Festival Sunday, supporting LGBTQ pride and recruiting new members for their choir.
“It’s great to be back amongst the community. It’s great to see familiar faces and new faces, and we’re just glad that things are getting to a place where we can be together again and enjoy community,” Heins said.
If you missed the events this weekend, there are still many more happening until the end of the month. Check them out before the last one on June 30.
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