BY ZOE AMOS
From AT&T to ZICO, businesses, non-profits, social clubs, local politicos, universities and more showed their LGBT support at the 40th Anniversary San Diego Pride Parade held on July 19, 2014, in the gay neighborhood of Hillcrest. Parade watchers were blessed with uncharacteristic cloudy skies as they celebrated each contingent as they walked, biked, danced, and performed their way along University Avenue and down Fifth toward the weekend Pride festival held in Balboa Park. LGBT organizations and their allies marched to cheers from the crowd, estimated at a record popping 400,000 plus attendees.
I stood at the corner where the parade began beneath the towering rainbow flag waving proudly at the aptly named Normal Street. Activities began with a roar as the San Diego Women’s Motorcycle Riders, fondly referred to as Dykes on Bikes, set the day in motion. The parade’s Grand Marshall featured Toni Atkins, newly-minted Speaker of the California State Assembly, the first out lesbian elected to this position. San Diego’s finest made an appearance as did members of the military, both active and retired.
Talk about good, clean fun, my favorite float was created by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, which featured a plastic-lined room filled with scantily-clad foam-covered dancers who frolicked to the strains of “YMCA.” This conscientious locally-based company handed out samples of their certified fair trade organic lavender coconut scented lotion. To the crowd’s delight, the float spewed fountains of foam high into the air like a giant, white rooster tail.
For over two hours, parade sponsors entertained us with disco, live music, flag and rifle pageantry, hula hoops, and more. Beauty queens and inspirational couples waved politely as they passed in convertible BMWs, and a model perched in a martini glass gestured flamboyantly to the crowd. Banners announced social statements, a credit union handed out rainbow wristbands, and coupons were dispersed to the crowd. Rainbow colors adorned people, their pets, balloons, classic cars, clothing, jewelry, and any available surface, making this colorful display a treat for the eyes. The air was positively charged with a celebratory vibe that fueled smiles and cheers. I could go on and on, but the photos tell the rest of the story.
Zoe Amos brings her lesbian point of view to articles and stories on diverse topics. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter. Read her stories on Kindle and Nook. Check out her other life at www.janetfwilliams.com.