PrideFest 2011 Celebrating Diversity in Downtown Denver
It's official: Denverites know how to throw a party! I've attended a couple of events at Civic Center Park, but last weekend I attended my first Pride Festival. Like many people, I had assumed that the event was specifically for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community. Although there were plenty of rainbow flags and same-sex couples, it turns out the festival was truly a celebration of pride. All kinds of pride, all colors of pride, all shapes and sizes of pride and all ages of pride.
The first thing that struck me as I joined the masses walking down Colfax Avenue toward the park, was the outrageous costumes. Men were walking down the street wearing only underwear (briefs seemed to be the most popular) and suspenders. I encountered a group of men and women who were sporting tutus; others wore rainbow capes that flowed behind them. One man was dressed as the Grim Reaper; an older woman was dressed as Mary Poppins.
I began to wonder what I was walking into as I followed the crowd into the park. But once inside the festival, all fears vanished: I watched young children get their faces painted, families picnicking on the lawn, young and old alike enjoying free music and entertainment. I visited the Raptor Education Foundation booth, where a Golden Eagle and Burrowing Owl captured the attention of kids and their parents. I enjoyed the local flavor of food vendors as I chatted with an Army veteran named Patrick.
I watched the Best Gay Dressed Dog contest, and listened to heart-wrenching speeches by people who have been discriminated against because of their sexual orientations. As I looked around the festive crowd, I saw people who were in love. Men, women, large, small, old, young, some with the same sex, some with the opposite sex. And at that moment, it truly didn't matter. Everyone was happy and having fun. No one judging or being judged.
I realized then that this was not a party the LGBT community threw just for themselves, or to elicit acceptance of them; it was a party they threw for the community, themselves being an example of that pride that we all have the right to embrace, regardless of color, size, religion or sexual orientation.
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Posted on February 20, 2012 by Tabatha Deans