Tag Archives: Gay Pride Parade

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 2015 – On the Sidelines

Here are some photos from yesterday’s Gay Pride Parade. These were faces in the crowd of people watching the parade.

This first picture is the reason why we need gay pride parades still – I was standing on the curb, waiting for the parade to arrive, and this woman carrying this sweet little girl came up to me and said, “She’s a Pride baby – she needs her picture taken! Take her picture, she’s a Pride baby!”. When I put the camera to my eye to compose the photo, the mother turned her head so her face would not appear in the photo, only the little girl’s.

Pride Baby
Pride Baby

These guys saw me standing with my camera and approached, asking to be photographed. They asked me where the photos were going to be used – “Will these be in the New York Times?” I told them I’m shooting for this blog, and they said “you can use our photos anywhere!”. I hope they find this photo and enjoy it!

Besties
Besties

I don’t know her name or if she is in fact a mother, but I’m calling her Pride Mama for all her ribbons and beads.

Pride Mama
Pride Mama

This is my friend, Sak Pollert, who owns Rice restaurant on 14th Street (where I parked myself to watch the parade, as the restaurant is on the shady side of the street in the afternoon when the parade is passing).

Sak P.
Sak P.

One of the waitresses at Rice – she put a rainbow flag in her hair like a chopstick.

Rainbow Waitress
Rainbow Waitress

I think this guy is one of the busboys/kitchen staff at Rice, out to watch the parade. I loved his Grumpy Cat T-shirt.

I Hate Mondays
I Hate Mondays

I don’t think this guy actually had anything to do with the goat in a trench coat sign behind him (I think it belongs to the guy in the black t-shirt to his left). When he saw me composing the image, he straightened up, made eye contact, and posed.

Boy, Goat Sign
Boy, Goat Sign

This young lady was standing next to me for a while, and I wanted to get a photo of the shirt with that caption.

Right Side of History
Right Side of History

This gentleman was all decked out in rainbow finery (if you call tons of sequins ‘finery’). He was certainly in the spirit of the day! Not visible except by interpolation were his six-inch platform heels.

Rainbow Top Hat
Rainbow Top Hat

I titled this one “Apres Parade” because I caught these two as we were all leaving the parade, heading home after a long, hot, fun day.

Apres Parade
Apres Parade

This was another experiment photographically. I shot the whole parade using my Helios 85mm f1.5 lens. This is the second time I’ve shot the parade with this lens – I did it for the first time the last time I photographed the Pride parade, and the lens was brand new to me then. It’s a bit of an oddity because it’s manual focus and it uses a pre-set aperture – unlike modern all-automatic lenses, this one you have to tell it to stop down the aperture on the lens by turning a separate ring. The lens has a particular signature to its look – when focused and configured properly, it produces a “swirly” background (most visible in the “Apres Parade” image in this post, and several others (Bright Wig, Bike and Miss Gay Virginia) in an upcoming post. The lens is big, heavy, a bit slow to use, especially because of the aperture mechanism, and exposures are sometimes a little off because there is no communication between the lens, camera, and flash. The “swirl” is something I’m still debating if I like. I might need to just shoot more with it to decide.

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 5

Remember what I said earlier about issues? Here’s another example of how issues have shifted – instead of HIV/AIDS, now we have PETA pushing to spay/neuter our pets. Again, an important issue – both of my cats are neutered. But “Condoms don’t work- spay your cat” doesn’t have quite the same impact as “Silence=Death”. Again, not that I’m wishing to go back to 1993 when people literally did drop like flies. Progress is a wonderful thing. The nostalgia is more for the sense of shared community that came with having an enemy to fight. We were all brothers then.  Now we’ve got Thai restaurants and PETA selling us pad thai and feline gender reassignment surgery. At least the salespeople are cute 😀

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 4

Truly the gamut of images of Pride. I was most struck by the young Latino boy marching with ‘Mpoderate! (Empower Yourself!) a gay Latino/a youth group. Talk about an at-risk population – kids who are aliens in their culture in so many ways- coming from a foreign country and/or a home where English is a distant second language, a culture where male/female roles are rigidly defined and deviation is met with anything from disapproval to violence, and a range of religions that fervently discourage homosexuality, and it’s a wonder that many of them make it to their 18th birthday without criminal records, HIV infection, or getting hurt/killed. This is NOT to generalize that the Latino community is monolithically oppressive or that there are no happy healthy well-adjusted gay Latinos in the US. But the kids who use the services of ‘Mpoderate! are the ones who are facing all those kinds of oppressions. If you’re interested in finding out more about ‘Mpoderate and how you can support their services, you can check out the website for La Clinica Del Pueblo – they’re the parent organization.

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 3

I’ve been attending Pride parades and festivals for over 20 years now. Every year is different, in every city. One thing I’ve noticed as a sea change from the early days is the switch in emphasis from AIDS/HIV (not that it has gone away, but it is now very much in the background, which is not necessarily a good thing) to gay families – the most wildly cheered groups are PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Families of Lesbians and Gays) and the gay parenting groups. There are as always the nearly naked dancing boys with the Supersoakers, the gay bars and the leather/sm/fetish clubs, along with drag queens galore. It is fascinating to see how the movement has changed as time has gone on… now that our basic civil rights are reasonably secure and the political focus has shifted from mere survival to guaranteeing the right to thrive. There’s a certain absence of frisson, rebellious tension and erotic possibility in the air that used to be there, and I’m not sure if it is because I’ve grown up or because the movement has.

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’ Part 2

I went to the Pride Parade yesterday here in Washington DC. It was a photo exercise as much as documentary outing because I limited myself to shooting the entire thing with my Canon 5D and 135mm F2 L lens. I was aiming for portraits of the people populating the event. I’m going to batch them in sets of ten give or take so I don’t overload anyone visually, or completely choke their bandwidth. And as always, the appearance of anyone in these photos is not to be taken as indicative of their sexuality or gender identity, one way or another. Gosh, I can’t wait for the day that disclaimer is absolutely unnecessary.

 

DC Gay Pride Parade 2012 – ‘Faces of Pride’

I went to the Pride Parade yesterday here in Washington DC. It was a photo exercise as much as documentary outing because I limited myself to shooting the entire thing with my Canon 5D and 135mm F2 L lens. I was aiming for portraits of the people populating the event. I’m going to batch them in sets of ten give or take so I don’t overload anyone visually, or completely choke their bandwidth. And as always, the appearance of anyone in these photos is not to be taken as indicative of their sexuality or gender identity, one way or another. Gosh, I can’t wait for the day that disclaimer is absolutely unnecessary.