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July 10, 2017

LA PRIDE 2016 – A CELEBRATION IN PROTEST OF THE ORLANDO MURDERS


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It’s been two months since the Orlando murders at the Pulse gay Nightclub in Florida. And it’s been just about that long since I last posted on this here hiss fit.

The blood from the murdered 49 was probably not completely dry yet when we woke up on Sunday, June 12, to get ready to celebrate Los Angeles Pride 2016. Outlandish outfits that had been planned for months were good to go, gym bodies had been meticulously sculpted and ready for a big reveal, and if we’re going to be for reals here, some knives were sharpened and aimed at Christopher Street West (CSW)–the non-profit organization responsible for putting pride weekend together–because the LGBTQ community was not happy with CSW for a laundry list of reasons. You know the drill, people were mostly up in arms about the jacking up of ticket prices from $25, to $35 at the festival gate and–insult-of-all-insults–this year’s Pride was branded as a “music festival” to cater to millennials, which made some older gays feel too old for Pride. Pride was also being called the Gay Coachella, which I guess that’s supposed to be a really bad thing. Bitches were not having it.

I for one, was mostly annoyed by the return of the VIP section at the festival, which is the exact opposite of inclusion and blatantly meant to separate the upper crust gays from the lower undesirable ‘mos, which I find so damn disgusting at a pride event. I know how these VIP sections work. I bet half of the bitches who walked around with their VIP badges didn’t pay the $150 to get it.

All eyes were on CSW, ready to dissect any misstep during Pride weekend. But then there was the horrible news of yet another mass shooting in America early Sunday morning. Then there was the update that it took place at a gay in club in Orlando FL (we would later learned that it happened during a Latin themed night). Then there was the body count. Then there was the alarming news that a man had been stopped in the city of Santa Monica with bombs and guns and semi-automatic rifles while on his way to West Hollywood for the LA Pride parade, and the whole thing felt like the 911 attacks, where it was one thing after another and all you could do was brace yourself for more horrible updates.

We all know how it went down, but I post this because despite the horror, there was absolutely no question; the massacre of these young people who were killed during a Saturday night of dancing would not stop Los Angeles Pride from happening. Yeah, we were sick to our stomachs with grief and we were nervous. I decided to leave my dog at home in case I had to make a run for it, but my partner and I were hell bent on going despite the warnings from friends and family who thought we should stay at home—and I know plenty of people who skipped the event, because they were too heartbroken or too scared, but thousands, upon thousands of us put our best gay face forward and showed our enemies who want us dead, that we are not afraid.

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So yes, we attended the Pride parade in West Hollywood. The police presence was massive, and although I didn’t see them, I hear there were snipers camping out on rooftops to keep an eye out in case of a terrorist attack. It was definitely one of the strangest Pride parades I have ever experienced, because on the one hand it was a party as usual, but on the other hand, the Orlando signages–most of it handmade at the last minute–were everywhere in solidarity with the Pulse victims and their families.

And nope, I didn’t make it inside the festival grounds after the parade this year, because I’m no millennial, but I don’t have to be one to tell you that Carly Rae Jepsen was like sooo four years ago and also it’s like, why pay $35 to get into the festival, when I had already experienced the party for free that Friday night (grin)?

Photo by Anil Patel

Photo by Anil Patel

Anyway, for the past many years I like to go out and take pictures at La Pride and post them here for your viewing pleasure. And this year should be no different. I know it took me two months to do so, but in case you have forgotten, let me remind you that this is how we show up in the face of the most vicious and deadliest acts against our LGBT existence in U.S. history. This is what it looks like when you attack us, try to scare us, and snuff out our light. We set aside our differences, we let SCW off the hook (for the moment anyway) and we celebrated our pride in complete protest of the heinous crime. Yep. In your face.

Of course, the next day, we would mourn for our dead.

Luv,
Me

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About Paulo Murillo,

Paulo has been writing for the gay media for over 16 years. He made his debut as a columnist for FAB! Newspaper. He has written for LA Health News, IN Los Angeles, Frontiers and The Fight Magazine. He has been featured in The Bay Area Reporter, XY Magazine, Bay Windows, Windy Times, and Press Pass Q, He has been quoted in the pages of Edge Magazine, Gay & Lesbian Times, Seattle Gay News, Fuges, and in a shitload of online news outlets and blogs, thanks in large part to Rex Wocker’s Quote on Quote – Wockner Wire.

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