[Gallery] Pride Parade Was Fun, Here’s What Happened
(all photos by DL Haydon)
I saw way too many banana hammocks last Saturday. I spotted at least a dozen guys whose tattoos covered more than their clothing. That’s the Pride Parade for you.
Montrose played host to a massive celebration of everything gay this weekend. Thousands of people flooded the sidewalks along Westheimer to show their spirit.
It was a good time. Most people there looked like they were having fun. The festive atmosphere made it feel like the gay version of Mardi Gras (which really is just Mardi Gras).
When I asked him what part of the parade was his favorite, Bill said, “Being with friends. Hanging out, having a good time.”
Brent, who was attending with his boyfriend Michael, said he enjoys “being able to be myself.”
Brent and Michael were dressed in matching blue mantanks. Both shirts had writing declaring their new relationship status. The back of Brent’s shirt had “Taken” and an arrow pointing at his ass.
“They’re a new couple, they’re so cute,” said their friend Amanda.
Brent and Michael fit right in at Pride Parade. There were tutus, rainbow peacocks, shirtless men with and without manes of chest hair, fishnets, string bikinis, rainbow flag capes, t-shirts with “DOUBLE FISTING” in all caps and more men in booty shorts than a Chippendales show.
The crowd wearing this stuff was fascinating too. I saw transgender women dolled up and looking pretty, ambiguous folks who didn’t look like they fit traditional genders, white girls with dreadlocks, butch lesbians holding hands with their girlfriends and drag queens.
The highlight was one drag queen also cosplaying as a unicorn, not something you see every day.
“I like the drag queens, they’re pretty cool,” Amanda said.
The crowds turned out in force despite an oppressively humid day. Even thunder, lightning and intermittent rain that morning hadn’t prevented a sizable crowd from coming out to the parade.
People jammed themselves up against the barriers to see Mayor Annise Parker and her wife Kathy Hubbard lead a procession of cars and pedestrians down Westheimer. The parade’s sponsors rolled down the street, throwing items from their businesses at people. Thanks, Chipotle, for giving me a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for burritos. I’ll be sure to use that with my new Budweiser cup.
The parade enjoyed 26 sponsors. You know the event has gone corporate when McDonald’s has a booth in front of their store for the day. It’s that big.
Pride Parade has grown beyond its Montrose roots. It’s bigger, more corporatized now. You have more people from all over the city coming in.
You can see the differences with how people treat the stores. Fellow FPH writer DL Haydon pointed out that Adam & Eve, the Wal-Mart of sex shops, was rocking a huge crowd in front of its store. Erotic Cabaret Boutique, a sex shop that’s been in Houston for more than 30 years, could have been on fire and no one would have noticed.
You can’t complain too much about the Pride Parade getting bigger and less local. Bigger means more people from all over the city are supporting LBGT rights, not just people who live in Montrose. That’s good news. More support is great!
However, we as a society still have a ways to go to advance LBGT causes. Everyone I talked to was happy to run around and proudly proclaim their orientation, but none gave a last name on record. Attending a Pride Parade is still something they’d rather not have in print.
Pride Parade was a good time. Everybody there was happy to come together and collectively proclaim their support for LBGT rights. The atmosphere was positive, happy and supportive.
Brent and Michael’s other friend Sarah said that was her favorite part of the parade.
“All the support,” she said. “Just the vibes.”
by Kyle Nazario