LONG BEACH — Despite gloomy skies, the atmosphere along Ocean Boulevard for Long Beach Pride Parade on Sunday was festive and filled with rainbow colors.
Thousands of onlookers lined the street, waving their Gay Pride flags and cheering people who marched along the parade route. The parade resembled a jubilant Mardi Gras: colorful floats, fabulous drag queens, a live band, DJs spinning dance music. There were a few, lazy, not so colorful floats. Come on, guys. It’s the Long Beach Pride Parade. Dress it up.
Many of the apartments, homes, and condominiums that dot Ocean Boulevard also were having a gay old time — Some people hosted Pride parties in their front yards or inside their residences, which were decorated with rainbow-colored Gay Pride flags and banners.
Parties aside, the parade has a serious side. Gay Pride parades are about giving visibility to the entire LGBTQ community and reminding people that our fight for equality is far from over. Pride Parades started as a revolt against the oppression power structures that refused to acknowledge that we exist and refused to give us equal protection under the law.
In an interview with Q Voice News, celebrity grand marshal Alexandra Billings talked about these points, which are still relevant today, even in Long Beach.
The history of the Pride Parade also includes a death threat. In 1985, Long Beach Lesbian and Gay Pride Board President Judi Doyle marched in the Pride Parade wearing a bulletproof vest because someone threatened to kill her. No bullets were fired that day.
Fast forward 33 years. We’ve come a long way. Sunday’s parade was celebratory, political, revolutionary, and fabulous. We look forward to many more.