Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Queen City P.R.I.D.E.

I was, sadly, unable to attend this years Pride Parade for the first time in years. Wonderful writer, and friend, Samantha Nephew, contributed this wonderful piece to QCLA! (check out her blog at )

       "This last Sunday, Buffalo was out in full force showing some pride.

The Pride Festival of Buffalo, sponsored by the Pride Center of Western New York, is an annual festival that aims to spread awareness of issues in the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual, Queer (or Questioning) communities while allowing these individuals to show Western New York that they are in fact fearless.

      This year’s theme to the weekend-long celebration was fearless. The theme honors to those who before being part of the LGBT community was socially acceptable to stand up against prejudice. Fearless honors those people who were willing to buck the idea that being different meant something was inherently wrong with a person.

      Fearlessness in showing pride not only represents and honors those who have come from before, but those who need inspiration and the courage to be true to who they really are.

According to the Pride Festival website, fearless also represents “…the Dean of the Law School at the University at Buffalo who was awarded the Mwongozi Award by Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for speaking out for equality and non-discrimination and challenging negative attitudes and actions…”

      Pride is a celebration of achievement, awareness, and growing acceptance of the LBGT community.

And they showed their pride in style.

      Many Western New York organizations came together in support of our LGBT community as they sponsored floats, handed out beads, candy, and brochures; sold food and merchandise, and took to the stage at the festival’s capstone event, held at Canalside.

      Organizations like Bank of America, Gates Circle Liquor, Univera, and MetLife were in attendance showing full support for the LGBTQ community down Elmwood Avenue for the Pride Parade. LGBT-focused groups like The MOCHA Center, Roxy’s, Buffalo Gay Man’s Chorus, and the Gay & Lesbian Youth Services (GLYS) were also present with members of their organizations relishing in the support offered by the crowd as they made their way to Canalside.

      Pride Weekend also has a 5K race, a beach day, Dyke March, and a flag raising ceremony. Rainbow flags decorate the street lamps of Elmwood Avenue and local businesses often dress their storefronts in rainbow colors in a show of support.

        As an ardent supporter of the greater LGBTQ community, I am always so excited to see the events of the weekend unfold. I watched as a group of young boys, no older than nine years old, enthusiastically showing their support by yelling “Happy Pride”
to the parade participants. It warmed my heart to see such a show of acceptance by young men who understand that there is nothing inherently wrong with people who are LGBTQ. People are people, and this is what Buffalo celebrates.

      I am proud that Buffalonians, LGBTQ or straight, are all fearless in our acceptance of each other."

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