Monday, June 9, 2014

Rainbows, unicorns and pop princesses at West Hollywood's 2014 Pride Parade...

Another year goes by and another Pride Parade celebration swings around in West Hollywood, full of rainbow colours, glitter, balloons, sequins, unicorns and on this occasion a pop princess in the form of Demi Lovato as the Parade Grand Marshal.

Demi Lovato filmed her new pop video at the Parade
Demi Lovato West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Initially excited about her inclusion in the Parade, as she was slightly more high profile than her Grand Marshal predecessors like Kelly and Sharon Osbourne, ice-skater Johnny Weir, 80's movie actress Molly Ringwald and TV presenter Maria Menounos, I felt this was all just a PR stunt and exposure opportunity for the singer and she didn't live up to her Grand Marshal duties.
Unicorn float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
After several hours of watching the Pride wind down Santa Monica Boulevard, she was to be the finale to the Parade festivities, but instead we were pushed out of the way by a barrage of police deputies and her 'people', who were more interested in getting their pop video shot than the actual bystanders who'd come out to celebrate Pride.
Equality West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
It just felt like a let down, rather than it being a highlight of the day and I'd far rather a C-List celebrity who really gets into the spirit of the occasion, than someone just using the annual event as a cheap way to film their next music video.

AIDS LifeCycle riders raised over $15 million this year
AIDS LifeCycle West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
With that being said I always enjoy this annual celebration of gay pride, when it's an opportunity to come out and commemorate all the accomplishments of the past year, like the AIDS LifeCycle raising over $15 million for HIV/AIDS charities in L.A. and San Francisco, and to campaign for equality and gay rights for the future.
Wonder Twins float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
There were also some spectacular floats this year, like this Divine drag queen inspired creation for The Fabulous Wonder Twins.

Celebrating the successful Prop 8 plaintiffs 
that helped restore Californian gay marriage
Prop 8 Plaintiffs float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Plus other floats recognising the contribution of the Prop 8 plaintiffs and the team who helped overturn the repugnant law banning gay marriage last June, and allowed same sex couples, myself included to get legally married in California. Now that's something to celebrate this year.
Gay divers float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Imperial Court float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
More fun floats featured gay groups, like LGBT diving clubs and local bars like Revolver made an effort to have some fun and entertain the thousands of spectators along the hot Parade route.
Revolver bar float West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
It's always fun to see people getting into the spirit of the day, especially when that sun has been beating down on them for hours and they still keep going.
Rainbow tutu dancers West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Often living in West Hollywood it feels like every day is Pride, with over 40% of the population being lesbian or gay, and all the bars and businesses catering to our community.
Anti Sultan of Brunei campaigners WeHo Pride Parade 2014
But the annual Parade is still essential to highlight key concerns facing our community to a wider audience, like the current call for a boycott of the Sultan of Brunei's hotels, The Beverly Hills Hotel and Hotel Bel-Air, and other hotels under the luxury Dorchester banner.
Gay Men's Chorus West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
If you don't know what all the fuss is about, he recently enacted Islamic or Shariah laws, which can can result in the stoning to death of gays and lesbians in his country. We shouldn't be supporting someone who criminalises being gay, or puts us to death for the way we are born.
West Hollywood Pride Parade cheerleaders 2014
As well as gay rights and advocacy, the Parade is also about having fun and these cheerleaders bring the entertainment year after year and always put a smile on my face, and the rest of the crowd.
Cheerleaders West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
The Parade certainly brings out the performers and exhibitionists, but who doesn't like the glitter and glamour of the joyous event.
Glamour queen West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Billy Francesca West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
This year we have lots to celebrate, only last week Wisconsin struck down their discriminatory ban on same-sex marriage, making it the 27th state in the U.S. to enjoy the freedom of gay marriage.
Flag dancer West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
This didn't happen overnight and it took people standing up for their rights and equality to make it happen. It also makes being visible and ensuring the LGTB presence is felt, not just once a year, but all year, to make sure we keep pushing for equality all the more important.
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
If you live in West Hollywood you feel relatively safe and free being out, loud and proud, but there's still large parts of America, and the world, where gay youths and closeted gay people don't have that luxury and live in fear of persecution.
Micky's firetruck go-go boys West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Hot guys West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
You only have to look at the atrocities happening against the gay citizens of Russia and Africa to see the battle is far from over.
Before After spray tan boys West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
For me Pride is a celebration, but also a statement. We ain't going anywhere and we come in many different shapes, flavours and colours, and we all deserve to be treated with the same respect, rights and decency as the rest of humanity.
Valkyrie drag West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014
Of course Pride is also about having a good time and let's just say the odd glass of champagne, or ten, were happily consumer yesterday.

Make way for Demi Lovato
West Hollywood Pride Parade 2014 Demi Lovato float
Let's hope the West Hollywood Pride Parade doesn't sell itself short next year and whoever is chosen as Grand Marshal puts the celebration first and their personal agenda second. But I'll certainly eat my words if Demi Lovato donates a portion of the proceeds of her song to a gay charity.
Pride Labrador Cooper
And finally, here's our Labrador Cooper getting into the spirit of the celebrations (and at least he wasn't made to walk the Parade like some other dogs in that heat)...

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