More than 600,000 people participated in and attended the 2024 D.C. Capital Pride, which, for the first year, started at 14th and T Streets NW, and traveled south along 14th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House. (Ja'Mon Jackson/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)
More than 600,000 people participated in and attended the 2024 D.C. Capital Pride, which, for the first year, started at 14th and T Streets NW, and traveled south along 14th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House. (Ja'Mon Jackson/The 老澳门开奖网 Informer)

As Pride Month continues across America, thousands flooded the streets of D.C. on a spectacular, sun-drenched day on Saturday, June 8, to celebrate the strength, beauty and contributions of members of the LGBTQ community and advocate for continued strides toward justice.  

Celebrated Tony Award-winning actor and singer Billy Porter, a staunch human and gay rights activist, served as this year鈥檚 grand marshal, along with multifaceted and award-winning actress Keke Palmer.  In his comments prior to the kickoff of the parade, Porter set the tone for the purpose of celebrating and marching in June and beyond.

鈥淎s a 54-year-old Black, queer who came out in the ’80s at the beginning of the AIDS crisis, I鈥檝e learned that love always wins,鈥 Porter said. 鈥淏ut it takes effort and the willingness to fight. As John Lewis said, we have to get into 鈥榞ood trouble.鈥欌

Porter emphasized the need for activism and fighting for justice, particularly with the general election this November.

鈥淲e are here and we are queer, so get used to it and get over it, darlings. I encourage you all to go out and vote. I don鈥檛 care who you are. I don鈥檛 care where you come from. It is an election year and our democracy is at stake. Period. And there鈥檚 only one choice [on the ballot] that is for democracy,鈥 Porter said.  鈥淲hen I started going to gay pride it was a march that represented political activism and being here today, it鈥檚 political activism for me once again 鈥 and I hope for you, too.鈥

For the first time in the history of D.C. Pride, the annual parade bypassed its traditional route in Dupont Circle and instead began at 14th and T Streets in Northwest, ending along Pennsylvania Avenue, just a stone鈥檚 throw away from the White House.

Capital Pride鈥檚 director of operations, Sahand Miraminy, explained that with coming to D.C. next year 鈥 which also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the District鈥檚 first Pride event 鈥 the new route was used to determine if it could accommodate larger crowds and bigger floats.

鈥淭his is sort of our last test run before the big year in 2025,鈥 Miraminy said.

All the colors of the rainbow were in full display as bands, floats, dancers, motorcycles, local politicians and representatives from houses of worship waved to and entertained the diverse crowds. 

Carol Schwartz, a longtime District resident, community volunteer and former at-large D.C. Council and school board member, said she couldn鈥檛 imagine being anywhere else than at the 2024 Pride Parade last Saturday.

鈥淚鈥檝e always come out to support Pride both before, during and after my years in D.C. politics and I鈥檓 very proud to see the positive results that are occurring today,鈥 Schwartz said. 

The former politician said that the District can still do more to make the nation鈥檚 capital a more accepting and inclusive place.

鈥淒.C. is a great place to live, to love and to raise a family. But we aren鈥檛 done yet; we still have more minds to open. As for those who can鈥檛 or who won鈥檛 open their minds, it鈥檚 their loss. What I know is that my whole life has been made richer by the LGBTQ community,鈥 she said.

Citizens Push for a Better Tomorrow 

Wallace Corbett, 63, a resident of Southeast, said being a senior has given him a clearer perspective of what鈥檚 needed for him and other older gay men.

鈥淢ost of my friends are my age, they鈥檙e Black and they鈥檙e gay, like me, so we鈥檝e experienced a lot,鈥 he said. 鈥淎re things better today? Yes. But even within the gay community, there鈥檚 still segregation. And just because someone is gay, doesn鈥檛 mean they aren鈥檛 racist. And that applies to Blacks and whites. We still have problems accepting one another across the color line.鈥

Robert Johnson, 59, a resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, who attended the parade with Corbett and several others, said he鈥檚 seen progress but not enough.

鈥淲e need to press our elected officials to pass The Equality Act which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation,鈥 he said. 

鈥淲omen, Blacks, gays, transgender, you name it 鈥 we all deserve to live our lives as we choose and to have the same rights. I want everyone to be protected under the law. I just wish those who are different from me felt the same way because we all serve the same God.

鈥淲e have to get young people more involved and show them how important it is for them to vote. As for the upcoming election, if we want equal rights and protection under the law, then we need to make sure Donald Trump doesn鈥檛 get elected. He鈥檒l take this country and our rights back to a less humane time,鈥 Johnson said.

Asha Bridges, 31, a Temple Hills, Maryland resident, who attended the parade with her partner, Day Day, said she was proud to be able to celebrate Pride with the person she loves.

鈥淚 haven鈥檛 been to any Pride events for a while and it鈥檚 great to be back,鈥 Bridges said. 鈥淚 feel accepted within my own community 鈥 the Black community.鈥

Even with the celebratory air, Bridges, like Schwartz, emphasized the need for more people to be open-minded to combat homophobia and transphobia.

鈥淚f you ask me why there鈥檚 still hatred and homophobia, especially aimed at transgender, I think it鈥檚 because people don鈥檛 know us,鈥 Bridges explained. 鈥淚f they knew us, they鈥檇 realize we鈥檙e more like them than we鈥檙e unalike. We鈥檙e not that different at all.鈥

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