Sunday, February 14, 2016

The 2016 HP Pride Launch Event - Changing Hearts and Minds

The husband and I attended the HR Pride 2016 launch event this afternoon which works to raises funds for the June 18, 2016, Pride fest Event in Town Point Park on the downtown Norfolk waterfront.  The event has transformed dramatically since I was first on the HR Pride board of directors some years ago. The launch party has been equally transformed and this year was a standing room only event at the East Beach Pool/Club House hosted  by Lt. Governor Ralph Northam and his wonderful wife Pam.  The number of politicos in attendance has likewise increased dramatically and GOP House of Delegates member Scott Taylor was in attendance, demonstrating that a least some Republicans are waking up to the reality that an all welcoming Virginia is good for business. 

Perhaps the most surprising sponsors who pledged financial support were (i) Newport News Shipbuilding and WHRO who joined Decorum Furniture at the presenting sponsor level, and (ii) the Central Intelligence Agency - that's right, the CIA - which was a well into the 4 digit sponsor.  Other surprising sponsors were the City of Norfolk and two competing mayoral candidates. I lost track in the amount pledged today, but suffice it to say it was far in excess of $125,000.00.  As we have done for the last number of years, the husband and I are again sponsors of this amazing event which has become the largest outdoor festival in Norfolk after Harborfest.

Thirteen year ago when I attended my first "out in the Park" event it consisted of a few hundred people tucked out of sight in the back of one of Norfolk's city parks.  Now the event involves close to 20,000 attendees and the politicians - at least on the Democrat side of the aisle - who acted as if the LGBT community was radioactive, cannot go far enough to demonstrate their support for the LGBT community and LGBT equality under the civil laws. It has been a phenomenal sea change.

Sadly, the Virginia GOP continues to prostitute itself to the Christofascists and hate merchants at The Family Foundations and strives to send a worldwide message that Virginia is welcoming to only right wing extremists and modern day Pharisees.  Today's event underscored that the Virginia GOP is going to find itself resoundingly on the wrong side of history and, if we are lucky, politically irrelevant.  
GOP Del. Scott Taylor and Democrat Sen. Lynnwood Lewis
Congressman Bobby Scott
Lt. Governor Ralph Northam

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