I finally got back from DC's Capital Pride festival this weekend. It was a blast. Almost (if not more than) 200,000 people participated in the parade and street festival on Saturday and Sunday (respectively). I've never seen so many LGBT people gathered in the same spot in my entire life.
The DC LGBT festival kind of makes our 8,000 (approx.) strong NC Pride look like nothing. I'm kind of sad... I'm wishing North Carolina was as accepting as the DC community (I also wish we had more openly gay folk around here).
One thing is clear to me after going to Capital Pride: There is strength in numbers. One after one, elected officials and candidates for office marched as a part of the DC parade on Saturday. Either they were just pandering for votes or they were serious about their love for gay people. Either way... they were there and that is what counts. The Mayor of DC sent out his LGBT Liaison (yes... such a thing exists) and he even sent out a proclamation. Numerous members of the DC Council were there, along with DC's non-voting Congresswoman, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton.
That is one thing you don't see when it comes to NC Pride (usually in September). The great majority of candidates or elected officials participating in our state's LGBT festivals (i.e. Boone, Asheville, Charlotte, state-wide NC Pride) are either openly gay or among the most liberal.
Capital Pride was definitely fun (and, no doubt, there were plenty of cute guys there). It was also very moving and inspiring. I want NC to become more like DC (if that is possible)... I want NC to become accepting and diverse... I want to see us fully embrace our LGBT citizens. It will definitely take work, but I'm willing to do it, and I hope you all are, too.
By the way... check out my post on the DC trip to get the full scoop of how it went, along with some great photos (and for all my Gay BlueNC'ers.... you'd better check out the shirtless boys on the parade floats, lol).