Arts and Culture

Five things NOT to do at Denver PrideFest

Denver PrideFest 2013 is this weekend, and there will be music, food, drink, live entertainment and a big-ass parade on Sunday morning. the people-watching opportunities alone are worth the trip downtown and the parking hassles.

But every PrideFest has its perils and pitfalls, and in order not to be named and shamed on Monday morning's Facebook feed, here are five things NOT to do at Denver PrideFest. (This list also applies to every other Pride event, everywhere else, so commit it to your "brain-bow" file.)

See also: - Denver PrideFest 2013 announces headliners Taylor Dayne and Martha Wash - PrideFest 2012 weekend: hotter (and more sunburned) than ever - Taking pride in Pride: Here's what it means to be an ally

5. Wear too much leather Leather garments are beautiful, perpetually fashionable and, in most cases, make an effective statement -- but they are not good in hot weather. It is painful to the point of heartbreaking to see guys and dolls alike walking around during PrideFest clad in cowhide from head to toe, sweating like altar boys at Catholic bible study, and there isn't a CostCo-sized shaker of baby powder big enough to combat the pouring sweats, dehydration and swamp-crotch that results from bullheaded Pride attire. To save yourself from being totally miserable, why not a compromise? By all means, wear some leather -- but don't go to PrideFest all full-on biker. Maybe just a vest, or a hat, or a corset or skinny pants -- but just one of these things, and if you must express yourself with the tightest of tight Bowie-bottoms, at the very least make sure you wear some breathable underpants so that your lips and bits aren't glued to the inside of your trousers. 4. Get too wasted on booze "We're here! We're Queer! Let's drink some beer!" is one of the massive appeals of PrideFest every year, because who doesn't want (or need) a reason to wear body glitter and see exactly how many plastic cups of Bud Light it takes to make you want to almost-naked crowd-surf off the side of a rainbow-parade float. But that being said, it will certainly be hot and humid this weekend, and you will want to suck back ice-cold brews like they were cups of awesome juice. Keep in mind, though, that you are in the midst of a ton of people with memory-recall -- and phone cameras that take better and better pictures with every phone upgrade.

Doing fucked-up shit when you are sauced at PrideFest is kinda like the same terrible fuck-ups you make the rest of the year, only during Pride you are really sweaty and screwing up in front of thousands of people instead of fifty people at a bar, some of whom will put your balls-out, bare-breasted shenanigans on Tumbler faster than it takes for you to splash water on your face. And your mother is probably on Facebook.

3. Harass the bisexuals Bisexuality exists, it is real and an actual sexual identity that some people choose to identify as. Bisexual people are not "free for the taking," they're no more or less promiscuous than anyone else, and they really don't like being labeled and hounded about their sexuality or told they are confused or need to pick a side. Remember this when you are out and about at PrideFest, mingling with different kinds of folks, because yes, Pride is a lot about sexuality and sexual politics, but it's best to stick to the positive kind of politikin' for a gathering focused on celebrating diversity. And keep in mind that the people opposed to homosexual marriage and gay rights don't discriminate -- they lump bi people in with the gay people, and you are on the same side.

2. Ignore the counter-protesters outside the the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Unfortunatelyk, the old adage "ignore them and they will go away" doesn't work very well with bigots, and every year there is a Pride parade there is also a contingent of conservative, religious folks who gather outside the cathedral to hold up signs with charming words like "fags" and "sinners." But it's their right to protest Pride just as it's our right to celebrate it with rainbow stick-on tattoos of unicorns. So some of the real heroes of PrideFest are the people who stand right next to the protesters, counter-protesting, with signs that read things like "This guy sucked my dick last night!" with an arrow pointing the appropriate direction. Don't forget to high-five the folks who stand next to these effin knobheads to make their point, or at least give them a thumbs-up as you pass by -- save the second finger over for the protesters. 1. Forget your straight-but-gay-allied friends and neighbors during the celebration During this annual celebration of everything gay and fabulous, after the many political and social victories that have been won this year, take a few minutes to give your straight allies some love. They get shit from conservatives and anti-gay folks just like you do, and it takes a special sort of person to have your back and stick up for you when they don't share your orientation -- but they share your feelings and your humanity. This has been a good year for GLBTQ folks, and with help, hope and feisty spirit, next year's Denver PrideFest will be an even bigger party to celebrate more progress toward equality.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jenn Wohletz
Contact: Jenn Wohletz