If you didn’t attend "Come Out with Pride" this past weekend, you missed out! This was my first pride parade in Orlando and I had high expectations. All morning at work, I was counting the minutes, monitoring traffic, and pouring over my friend’s Snapchat stories in anticipation of the parade that lie ahead. The second I left, I changed into the most colorful clothes I had and rushed towards downtown.
There were so many people, vendors, and food trucks crammed into Lake Eola, the explosion of color was almost overwhelming. I met up with Nicolette and the team at the Equality Florida booth. Remember, this Pride, like every one before it, was to serve a purpose; to end discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.
We then moved over to our spot in the parade route. This was the first pride parade that I have ever walked in. We weren't at the very front of the parade so we got to see quite a few floats and organizations walk by. I was amazed at the sheer diversity of the groups that took part in the festivities! I saw everybody from local softball teams, to national retail chains, to our elected officials and candidates, at all levels. I saw Congresswoman Val Demings walking the parade in heels. THREE AND HALF MILES IN HEELS!
In regards to walking the parade, I was a bit nervous for the first 5 seconds. Then we turned the corner onto Rosalind Avenue and all my quivers evaporated. I felt like we were center stage. To see thousands of people gathered in celebration of acceptance and community really touched me. The streets were lined with people of all generations, genders, and race. I saw children cheering and dancing along to the music. I had ladies old enough to be my grandmother come up and hug me. I gave high-fives to the police officers along the parade route. It was inspiring!
The spirit on Saturday motivates me, Nicolette and this campaign. The unapologetic optimism for the future of our community and the prosperity that we can foster right now. Orange County is on the right track, let's keep moving 4ward!