I have been to several pride events. I attended my first pride festival in Norfolk, Virginia. There were about 35 people there and no vendors. We had a DJ playing music and a guy silk-screening T-shirts under the picnic table covers in Gramby Park.
I then was able to attend DC Pride with PFLAG group. I was amazed at the first time I saw Dykes on Bikes. I was really surprised at all the people there.
Then I moved to San Diego. I was completely blown away at the size of their pride event. They had fire and police battalions marching, that’s right boys and girls, marching in their parade. After the parade we all walked down to Balboa Park where the festival was. Looking back over my shoulder all I could see for blocks and block were other gay people. It was amazing.
I watched the people walk around me making their way into the festival grounds wishing that I had been able to share this with my daughter. She was living on the other side of the country with her father. I had taken her to several of the pride events, but she had never seen anything like this.
Around the festival grounds they had an area set up just for kids. There were games, refreshments, rest areas for strollers and weary GLBT Families where there, sharing with each other the joys of being out and proud.
Last year I attended NC Pride in Raleigh on the Duke Campus. I knew that it wouldn’t be what I saw in San Diego but I hoped for the best. I saw a couple of protesters, but for the most part it was a pretty good event. There were several vendors there setting up their wares as well as speakers talking from the stage area about equality. One thing that I saw missing however was an area for the kids.
Just a few months ago Raleigh was placed 3rd for LGBT Families yet there were and sadly I have to report still are no plans for LGBT Families at pride.
I spoke with John Short, executive director of NC Pride Parade and Festival to find out if they had any plans for the kids this year. Sadly I have to say there are no organized events for the kids. In our discussions Mr. Short said that traditionally the kids and parents play in the area behind the gazebo on the Duke campus. This is an alcohol free environment and this area is away from the crowds but close to rest rooms and food area.
When I asked him why he thought there were no activities specifically designated for the kids and families he said that previously local LGBT Parenting Groups hosted an area for the kids themselves. But this year no one had come forward for that. He went further to say that he would be really interested in getting together with a group and possibly working with them to set up something for the kids to do at the September 24 event.
Mr. Short suggested that I reach out with this article to see if any groups that might follow my posts contact him directly to see if they would like to set up something for the kids. Mr. Short can be reach at [email protected]
My daughter is grown now, living in London. She won’t be here for pride and has long since outgrown face-painting and games. Have your kids? It’s a big undertaking but a trip around the world starts with a single step. Wouldn’t you like to be able to look back in 10 or 15 years and show what you’ve done to truly represent your LGBT Family Pride?