Monday, June 13, 2016

Celebrating life and love at L.A. Pride 2016...

Love will always win, that's what I keep telling myself. When I awoke yesterday to the news of the senseless murders of almost 50 gay men, women and allies, and more terribly wounded in Orlando, I was sickened and saddened.
LA Pride Labrador Cooper
The fact that it was time to celebrate L.A.'s annual Gay Pride Parade made the loss even more of an outrage. There was no doubt in my mind that I owed it to all those who were killed to go out and show my solidarity, love and support for my LGBTQ community.

LA Pride Parade Disney participants
Did I worry that something may happen to this gathering of thousand of innocent people, yes of course, especially when news came of a man being arrested with guns who wanted to do harm at L.A. Pride, but when has it ever been easy to be out and proud.
LA Pride Parade Stand with Orlando sign
That's why it's so important to have these parades and marches, to show our visibility to the world and our neighbours, and to combat the deranged gunmen and opportunistic bullies like Donald Trump who fan the flames of hate and bigotry.
2016 LA Pride Parade Hairspray dancers
We exist, we have a right to be here on this planet as much as anyone else, and we have the right to love who we want to and be happy.
LA Pride Parade Comcast NBCUniversal marchers
And we have the right to enjoy a day of love, compassion, togetherness, rainbows, balloons, glitter, unicorns and fabulousness, free from fear, hatred and discrimination (and not even L.A.'s June Gloom could dispel our united spirit).
2016 LA Pride Parade Hillary for President supporters
Let's still not forget there are still any inequalities and injustices LGBT people face in the U.S. and around the world, states where you can still be fired for being gay for instance, so when someone comes to one of our clubs where we've gone to dance and have fun and kills our brothers and sisters, we have every right to be angry and to demand action.
2016 LA Pride Parade Project Angel Food
Why do politicians and lawmakers worry about such simple things as where you can go to the bathroom, and not do anything about the fact someone on an FBI watch list can go into a store and buy military-grade guns that can be used to kill innocent people.
2016 LA Pride Parade The Abbey float
I still get angry and sad thinking about it, and this morning when I was reading more about what happened it brought me to tears.
LA Pride Parade drag queen
I'm glad yesterday, that I and many people in West Hollywood had a Pride event to be with friends and family, and make sense of the tragedy together. It was the perfect tonic to the ugliness in the world.
LA Pride Parade Mickys firetruck go-go boys
Any act of terror, be it airport bombings in Brussels, the mass shootings at the Bataclan concert in Paris, or this attack at a gay nightclub in Florida can't stop sane, normal people from living ours lives to our fullest. If it does then they've won and we've all lost.
LA Pride Parade Gloria Allred Transgender Defenders
Sadly that sentiment probably doesn't mean much to the people grieving the loss of a son, daughter, father, brother, sister, or friend at this time, and my thoughts are with them.
Ghostbusters Ecto 1 LA Pride Parade
This wasn't the only shadow over proceedings yesterday, as in the build up to Pride people had become increasingly concerned about the over commercialisation and sanitisation of this year's festivities. Pride shouldn't just be another musical festival that people can sponsor and make money from.
Disney float 2016 LA Pride Parade
My first Pride festival in London was an amazing life event. In my twenties I got to be amongst hundreds and thousands of people just like me, when it wasn't as easy to be openly gay, reaffirming I wasn't alone in the world, and that's really important when you want to live your life out and proud.
2016 LA Pride Parade Gay Men's Chorus float
Young LGBTQ kids shouldn't be priced out of the opportunity to explore their community, and Pride shouldn't just be about what music acts are performing on stage. But as the sign says, if it's not your Pride, do something about it and reclaim it.
2016 LA Pride Parade Reclaim Pride marchers
The same can be said about gun control. If you're appalled and outraged by this tragedy do something about it. Write to your Congressmen and women, don't vote for someone who won't do anything to stop guns getting into the hands of crazy people, or limit the type of guns allowed to be sold. Don't let the NRA continue to buy your Senators and politicians. Stand up and be counted, make your voice heard.

How long before this mass shooting is already old news and just becomes another everyday occurrence that people just accept as the norm in America. We can't let this happen ever again, and we can't allow LGBT people to be the target of such hatred anymore.

I'm all talked out. Keep safe, tell your loved ones you love them and continue to live your life with pride...

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