WASHINGTON – Everything around Dupont Circle, from hair to popsicles, was rainbow Saturday as an estimated 150,000 spectators packed the streets for the 40th annual D.C. Pride Parade.
Hosted by the Capital Pride Alliance, the parade of 186 groups marched 1.5 miles in three-hours.
“The fact that we have had this around for 40 years is wonderful. It is a testament to how the community has grown, changed and developed over these last 40 years,” Bernie Delia, Capital Pride Alliance board president, said.
Deacon Maccubbin, who served as a grand marshal, held the first Washington pride festival outside his shop, Lambda Rising, in 1975. Delia said that time was not favorable for the gay community.
“It was not really that long ago that the community was far from accepted. There were criminal statutes against same-sex relationships,” Delia said. “There were people who were fired from their jobs with their federal government because they either were or were perceived as homosexual.”
Themed “flashback,” this year’s parade was intended to celebrate the country’s progress since then.
“We think it is always important to look back, especially on these marker anniversaries. It is a chance to look back and see where we came from and where we are going to be,” Delia said.
This year George Carrancho, who works for a corporate travel company, and Sean Franklin, who works for a technology consulting group, were married on a float in front of the judges’ stand. They live in New York.
For the second year in a row a U.S. Armed Forces color guard led the parade. Before last year, no military guard had participated in a pride parade. Through the organization Scouts for Equality, Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts also marched for the first time.
Also new this year was a “family fun zone” meant to cater to the changing needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“One of the ways it is growing and changing is there are more same-sex families who have children. We wanted to provide them with a place to grow and enjoy,” Delia said.
Mark Hegedus, 51, of Washington, a lawyer at the Federal Trade Commission, normally marches with the Gay Men’s Chorus. However, this year he joined his nephew, Kyle Hegedus, 23, and other family members on the sidelines at their first pride parade.
“What is amazing is the sense of accomplishment,” Mark Hedegedus said.
The number of people who came out in support had an impact on Shohreh Mohebbi, 61, a retired Virginia teacher who now lives in Washington.
“It is really good that so many people support it,” Mohebbi said.
Reach reporter Sarah Fulton at [email protected] or 202-408-1492. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits SHFWire. Like the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire interns on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Download photos: Pride-parade.zip