It all started with a pretty cool morning as apposed to the last several years we have celebrated pride in June. The atmosphere was light and airy. I had parked between the Post Office and the Dollar Tree to insure that my car would be in the shade by the time the entire event was over. As I walked along Olive Ave to get to the beginning of the parade route I (by force of habit) braced myself for all the snide remarks, ridicule and insults that were (under normal circumstances) unavoidable. Much to my surprise I was greeted, by strangers, with smiling faces and friendly nods. I returned the same friendly greetings. Some even stopped me to compliment me on my choice of pink T-shirt, (A big rainbow on my chest) “Smile If Your Gay!”
When I got to the location on Palm Ave, I helped Jason and Chris of GayFresno.com to attach decorations to our vehicle entry. I was very amazed that total strangers actually struck conversations with me, I felt very much accepted. (Thank you all, you know who you are. I was the one in the red feather boa and cowboy hat.) We gathered the beads we were to toss in route and we all helped get each other organized, I loved it.
As we began our way down Olive Ave, we all danced, cheered, shouted and were in high spirits as though embarrassment was not in our vocabulary. Of course I expected fellow LGBTQ folks to cheer us on but I also saw families, straight families watch and cheer us in surrport. It actually brought a rush of feeling happiness. The happiness of how far we all have come and what those of us older, (I as well) had to endure back in the 70’s and 80’s when Gay Bashing was a national pass time. My sense of pride for myself and my gay community grew over a thousand times at that moment.
At the event after the parade, I was astounded at the number of people paying to get in and the number of vendor and informational booths. Last time I was at Fresno’s event where we had to pay only a handful went in only les than a dozen booths overall. That is why I had stopped going over fours years ago. I helped work the booth for GayFresno.com and even spoke to some cute guys, (Hi there Richard, Samuel Fairy guy from
Overall I would say that it was great, I came home more exhausted and sun burned than I ever could imagine. But, it was all worth it.