Tag Archives: Eleanor Holmes Norton

DC Pride Parade 2015 – The Marchers

The DC Gay Pride Parade always features a political contingent. This year being an off-year for elections, we saw fewer than usual (last time it seemed like there were an interminable array of political contingents – virtually everyone running for office in DC, suburban Maryland and suburban Virginia was in the parade). I captured two notable entries – V. Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Bishop of Vermont and the first openly gay Episcopal Bishop, and Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s representative in Congress (who can’t vote on anything because DC isn’t a state). She’s always at the Pride march every single year, and has been for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been attending these things for close on 25 years now).

V. Gene Robinson
V. Gene Robinson
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton

I’ll put the Boy Scouts under the political banner only because of the ongoing controversy surrounding gay scouting that has dragged on far too long.

Boy Scouts for Equality
Boy Scouts for Equality

What a sign of change in the parade – when I first started attending, there were virtually no children to be seen anywhere, either in the parade itself or even in the audience. Now, not only do you have married gay couples marching, you have married gay couples with kids, and the friends of their kids and the parents of the friends of their kids marching with them. This was I believe the PFLAG (Parents & Friends of Lesbians And Gays) contingent, with parents and kids just being parents and kids.

Kids with Scooters
Kids with Scooters

Many city agencies march in the parade. It’s not quite San Francisco, where the Fire, Police, and even the Sanitation departments have contingents (the sanitation workers ride those little ride-behind sidewalk sweepers that look kind of like lobsters with brushes for claws). But hey, this year we had the DC Public Library giving out beads!

The Public Library...Beads?
The Public Library…Beads?

And the DC Public Schools had a very large contingent of kids of all genders, gender expressions and sexual orientations marching with their gay and ally teachers. I think it’s terrific when kids are allowed to express themselves and be who they are with pride – marching in the parade means that they’re less likely to end up on the street, homeless, addicted and practicing survival prostitution.

DCPS, Born This Way
DCPS, Born This Way

The United States Military had a very strong presence – each major branch of the service marched, and the grouping was led by a uniformed color guard. Here are some very cute sailors in sailor suits.

In The Navy...
In The Navy…

What gay pride parade would be complete without a float (or ten) of scantily clad go-go boys drenched in glitter, gyrating to a disco beat? Pride has moved upscale with corporate presences from Fortune 500 companies (Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton, and here, Hilton Hotels), and they’re not afraid to get their sexy on. Twenty years ago, you’d not have seen any of these groups.

Party at the Hilton!
Party at the Hilton!

Of course, it’s the local businesses that are willing to go all-out in the just-slightly-naughty department. Nellie’s Sports Bar had quite the collection of go-go boys.

Nellies Beach Boys
Nellies Beach Boys

Another thing a Pride parade wouldn’t be complete without: the Leather contingent. Here are four leathermen hanging out in front of the West Elm furniture store by the “Twinks and Otters and Bears, oh my!” sign, tempting passersby to shop for a chair and a sling…

Twinks, Otters and Bears, oh my!
Twinks, Otters and Bears, oh my!

And the perennial favorite, always the first contingent in the parade, Dykes on Bikes.

Boy (I don’t know her real name, but Boy is what she goes by) is a multiple sash winner in leather contests, and has been a fixture around the DC area for a very long time. She’s the one driving the bike.

Boy, Bike
Boy, Bike

Another lesbian couple (I’m assuming, they could be just friends) riding in the parade:

Bright Wig, Bike
Bright Wig, Bike

And to cap it off, a row of Bykes (Dykes, Bikes… Bykes, get it?) parked outside a restaurant on 14th Street at the end of the parade route.

Rainbow Lei, Harleys
Rainbow Lei, Harleys

DC Pride Parade, June 7, 2014

Sorry for being a week late with posting these. Life gets in the way of blogging at times. If you remember the last time I photographed the parade, I gave myself a little project to shoot the whole thing with just one lens, the 135 f2 L lens for my Canon 5D. This year I did something similar, but with the 85mm Helios f1.5 Russian-made manual focus lens that I have for my Canon. The Helios has a rather unique character to its out-of-focus areas, which you’ll see quite clearly in these shots. The lens is an odd bird in today’s world in that it is a pre-set aperture lens. You focus wide-open, then turn a manual ring on the barrel to set the aperture to the one you have pre-selected before taking the picture. It’s a holdover from the days when lenses had no mechanical interaction with the camera beyond mounting to the body. The upside is that it makes it easy to adapt the lens to any camera. The downside is, you have to remember to re-set the aperture after focusing.

When the lens is properly focused, it gives a unique signature look – the subject is tack sharp, and really pops out from the background because the background has a “swirl” to it reminiscent of but not the same as you would get with a vintage Petzval-design lens. I chose this lens as my one-and-only for the day not only for the out-of-focus effect but also because it is a shorter lens, therefore a little more intimate than the 135. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Rainbow Streamers, 17th Street
Rainbow Streamers, 17th Street

Politics:

DC Pride would not be complete without a major political section. Actually, in some way, shape or form, most of the parade is political (especially if you include the religious groups that march under that heading). This year marks the first time an official US Military Color Guard contingent was able to march openly in the parade thanks to the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Watching them march in the parade was a very emotional moment for many people.

US Military Color Guard
US Military Color Guard

This year’s honorary grand marshall was Chris Kluwe, the straight former kicker for the Minnesota Vikings who took a very vocal pro-gay, pro- same-sex marriage stance, replete with some very memorable if not entirely polite turns of phrase. It was an extremely brave stance for him to take, and ultimately it cost him his job. He was honored for being a relentless ally.

Chris Kluwe, Grand Marshall
Chris Kluwe, Grand Marshall

This couple marching in the parade with the police contingent showed up at the counter-protest to the Westboro Baptist Church looney-tunes protest of DC Pride, giving silent rebuke to the Westboro clan with a passionate kiss.

Police Officer Couple
Police Officer Couple

David Catania is running for DC Mayor as an independent. It is almost impossible to run for city-wide office anymore without participating in DC Pride – pretty much the entire city council was in the parade, and even several former-candidates who lost their primary elections had marching contingents.

David Catania Supporters
David Catania Supporters

My apologies to David for this photo, but it’s not my fault that he’d been hit by a super-soaker prior to marching past where I was taking photos.

David Catania
David Catania

This is Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC’s Congressional Delegate. She sits in the US House of Representatives but does not have the same rights and authority that a full congressperson has because DC isn’t a state. She’s a regular at Pride, though – I don’t think I’ve been to a single Pride parade in the last 20 or so years that she hasn’t participated in.

Eleanor Holmes Norton
Eleanor Holmes Norton