Like the PrideFest parades and celebrations of yore, Denver's 2012 edition left me sunburned, emotionally confused, laughing and borderline crying. I was laughing because, in my hour or so of parade watching, I saw at least ten rainbow streamer-covered flatbed trucks jammed with tiny underwear-clad dudes shaking their dicks as Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga and Carly Rae Jepsen battled it out on sounds systems. The tears came when I witnessed dozens-strong PFLAG, One Colorado, Gender Identity Center of Colorado and LGBT For Obama groups march down Colfax to Civic Center Park. It was a beautiful, stinking hot day.
No doubt politics play a big part in GLBTQ celebrations annually, but in a year when both a presidential election and civil unions legislation are on table, the focus seemed more clear. "Fight for your right to Pride" was PrideFest 2012's chosen theme, and it showed as State Representative Mark Ferrandino, State Senator Pat Steadman and U.S. Representative Jared Polis were just a few of the Colorado politicians out in force.
But it was Diana DeGette who got the wrath -- not from the anti-gay protestors flapping bibles on the sidelines, but from a sole, angry pro-marijuana legislation bully. The annoyance came in the form of his utilization of a megaphone to counter the politician's kind waves. During a day of celebration, marijuana cheerleading seemed tacky and inappropriate.
But the weed guy couldn't totally take all the glory away from the religious nuts -- positioned outside of The Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception were the usual "repent your gay self" types. Luckily, it now seems to be the norm to have a "Fuck this guy" and/or a "He's gay" counter-sign holder standing beside biggots, so all remained well.
Once down in the thick of PrideFest, sunburns could be seen for miles around -- the 100 degree-pushing day didn't do much to stifle partiers and supporters. But in true PrideFest fashion, all interests were supported; along with condoms and lube being thrown like glitter, PFLAG was kindly tossing sunscreen.
Turkey legs and rainbow sarongs were hawked, alongside tents selling dog collars (for dogs and people) and even dogs themselves. But my favorite new merchant discovery of PrideFest 2012? Broke Straight Boys. Because finally, someone figured out that I love straight guys who look gay (but are probably just gay.)
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For more PrideFest 2012 coverage, check out slideshows from last Friday night's Pride kick-off at Tracks, various celebrations around downtown Denver on Saturday and Sunday, and a recap of Fab Morvan from Milli Vanilli's performance on the main stage.
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