- Gender and Relationships
CELEBRATING YOUR GAY PRIDE
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
I wasn't planning on writing a new hub, but since I could not add this video to my Gay Questions, Gay Answers hub, I decided to write one anyways. And, what a better subject than gay pride celebrations themselves, and how you can get involved. If you have never marched, or carried a sign, but would like to. This hub is for you.
Gay Pride Celebrations
Almost every major city has a gay pride celebration, that is usually held in the month of June. Even a town the size of Grand Rapids, MI has a gay pride event. (West Michigan Pride) But it is the big boys, like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco that bring in close to a million people for their events. Some last for several days, and have special events for different gay groups. Like Chicago's Bear pride celebration.
But the US is not the king of the pride events. Canada also has some pretty major pride events. Toronto Pride, and Montreal Pride are both huge events, both drawing in over a million, even two million party goers. From an entire city block set up as a dance floor, to a carnival with rides, and many stages with musical acts. But, the most amazing thing is the seemingly endless sea of people, as far as you can see.
Some events just have a simple parade, while others have parties, shows, and a kind of gay flea market. The markets are your way to see what the gay community offers. You'll find clothing, fetish gear, toys, directions to the hottest bars and clubs. There are also those hidden away places that not everyone knows about, who will show up at these events to promote themselves. Gay resorts, clubs, bed and breakfasts, specialty shops, salons, and cafes. And these events are always looking for volunteers.
HOW YOU CAN VOLUNTEER
If there is a city near you that has a pride celebration, chances are you can find them on the web. A lot of those sites have a form you can fill out to volunteer, or contact information on where you can ask about volunteering, or, they may even have an office, where you can go and talk to them directly. Most of what is needed is crowd control. People to keep the crowds back during the parade, and also to report an suspect activity. They also need people to help control the markets, and make sure that the vendors who show up, are assigned to their correct location, and make sure that someone who isn't on the lists, waits until one of the officials makes sure that they are supposed to be there.
It also doesn't hurt to ask. When we were setting up our Camp booth, at West Michigan Pride, we had a lot of people wanting to help us set up. Our event also got hit by a freak storm, and lots of people were coming to help us tear down our booth, as 60 mile and hour winds came up all of the sudden, and almost blew everything away. So, some participants are very glad to have set up help. You might not get a reward for your efforts, but, being able to tell your friends that you supported the cause may make you all warm and fuzzy inside.
VOLUNTEERING IS FUN!
WAIT THERE IS ALWAYS MORE!
Come Out With US
If you are not much of a volunteer, but are just curious, and want to show your support, you can also just show up and participate! You also do not have to be Gay to march in a parade, there are people from all walks of life, that celebrate our day with us. It is great to see the parents of a gay teenage son or daughter, walking down the street waving a sign that says "I love my Gay Kid!" Or, "My Son isn't only Gay. He's Awesome!
Another thing you will find at gay pride events is a vast connection to the community. There are many support groups, and organizations, that are there to help you if you need it. Many events also offer STD testing. There are also many political action groups there, who will be happy to tell you what they are doing to try to better our community, and lots of petitions to sign to get rid of a certain a-hole Michigan governor who's sole purpose it is to crap on everyone that doesn't have money. Just thought I'd throw that in Governor Snyder! Ya Jerk!
Happy Stuff Everyone Likes!
At pride events with a market, you will also find your favorite beverage. Most will have a beer tent, in which all you need is a valid ID, be legal to drinking age, and that may be there for you. Some food vendors also come in to sell any kind of food you can imagine. Even Pizza hut has set up at our local pride events. Some of the food is reasonable, and some of the profits from that food go to AIDS research, and other help programs for the gay community.
Are You Talented In Any way? (NO! NOT LIKE THAT! LOL!!)
Some events are always looking for people who want to perform for the masses. There is everything from a lesbian chick band, to female impersonators, to jugglers and acrobats. To a entire gay orchestra, or a large gay men's choir. They have also had audience members get up and learn how to country line dance. I did that once in Montreal with over 250 people line dancing to the "Wild Wild West" not only in English, but in french as well.
Some of the bigger cities bring in top entertainers. Joan Jett, Blake Lewis, Tiffany, and many others have performed at Chicago's pride celebration. So, if you are not a performer, chances are, you will see many acts throughout a pride event. But gay Pride isn't the only gay event, there are many others. Like the huge gay "white parties" in Miami and Palm Springs. There are also many large Bear gatherings, like Bear Week in Provincetown. Many, Many more.
So, why not be like Millions of others and attend a pride event. It may open your eyes to a world that you never knew existed. You certainly won't feel alone anymore!
THE SAD SIDE OF PRIDE
If you go to a pride event, don't be surprised to see church groups protesting near by. I was shocked to learn that the Westboro Church was picketing at Chicago pride. These are some real nut jobs. Funny to see only 30 or so people going up over 1,000,000. But, as they shouted their hate, nobody could hear them, because the roar of the crowds booing them drowned them out. The best thing you can do if you see these people is ignore them. They are looking for a confrontation. Don't give them the pleasure. Just keep walking.