In The Parade - The Power of a Parade

Being in a parade has always meant something special to me, as you can tell by the name of this column. Being in a parade also offers some rather funny insights as to what the parade is all about.

The small town where I grew up hosted the county fair, which meant we also had the county Labor Day Weekend Parade. C-list actors would show up to be grand marshal. We had a few floats, a marching band or two, midgets in golf carts, the reigning king and queen of Future Farmers of America, and of course the ubiquitous street sweepers. I always thought the street sweepers were hugely entertaining, because their job said something about what is left in the wake of such an event (horse poo and beer cans).

Back in the day, Gay Pride events in every city of any substantial size included a Pride Parade. It’s not really a novel idea. A parade shows the whole town that we are here and we are queer. It also reinforces to the community that we are your neighbors, your sons, your uncles, your daughters, your aunts, your mothers and your fathers.

Kansas City used to have Gay Pride parades. Many people have missed walking the route amid the shouts of support and the jeers from detractors. After all, a parade is a parade is a parade, and this year, we are having one! The Show Me Pride Parade is at 11 a.m. June 6. Be loud, be proud, be present and be colorful!

Many people wanted Kansas City to once again have a Gay Pride Parade. Not just to “have” one but to have a memorable one that includes the grand marshal. Will we have 1,000 people watching? As a community, what would it take to have 2,500 people along the parade route? Or 5,000 people following the parade?

In my mind I not only see the crowd, I see the crowd following along the parade route with banners, signs, and bull horns. In my mind, I see the crowd following the parade entrants to the site where the mayor welcomes us and where the congressional representative meets us, and, yes, where even a senator or two joins us in our celebration of freedom and the rights guaranteed to us by the Constitution. Voila. Now all you have to do is be there to make this happen.

We live in a country where all it takes is a permit to have a parade. In Lithuania, after a ruling by the country’s top appeals court, the city of Vilnius finally relented and allowed its first-ever Pride Parade, called “Baltic Pride 2010.” Nearly 400 people marched May 8 to support gay men and lesbians, and more than twice that many protested. Police officials said 19 people were detained for inciting violence, including two members of the Lithuanian Parliament.

The high court’s decision said that the parade, as a form of assembly and free speech, was protected by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and that the government is obligated to defend such rights. And I say that this is as it should be.

For many years I made a point of visiting other cities in the United States for their Gay Pride celebrations. One of the most memorable was Chicago. The parade route up Halsted Street and down Broadway was spectacular. Not only were Chicago bars well-represented, but so were social groups, including PFLAG, Gay Rodeo, Biker Daddies, Leather Mamas, midgets dressed in drag, men in pink and women in yellow, and my forever-favorite, Tarzan.

I would probably have to be hypnotized to remember Tarzan’s real name, what float he was on or even why he was on a float (besides the obvious reason -- he looked like Tarzan and wore a breechcloth). When the parade was over and I had made my 30th trip back and forth between the two streets, I found myself in a bathroom with Tarzan and some straight female who could not hold her liquor (Tarzan, if you are reading this, email me!).

But there’s something about a parade, Chicago-sized or not, isn’t there? Let’s make the most of this one!

WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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