|American Rover - Pride parade of sail 2016|
Today at Pride Fest 2016 was amazing. Despite the Virginian Pilot's current headline that "hundreds attend Pride" - once again the publication shows an anti-gay bias despite occasional pro-gay editorials and that a member of the Batten family was a sponsor of the event - the reality was that this year's event was by far the largest ever and it wasn't hundreds attending, but rather thousands and thousands of people. The husband and I began the day aboard the American Rover (pictured above as it came along the Town Point Park waterfront) for the Pride boat parade (the only one in America) which was the last vessel in the parade.
In the wake of the Orlando massacre, security was significantly increased with both Norfolk Police and Virginia State Police officers in plentiful view. In addition, police has roof top surveillance and Coast Guard boats patrolled the harbor - one actually transported Pride Grand Marshall, Mercedes Douglas at the head of the boat parade. It was quite an image: a drag queen in full regalia aboard a vessel armed with machine guns. Talk about not piss a drag queen off!
On the main stage one of the "headliners" was gay country musician Billy Gillman who gave a great performance. Gillman, who came out as gay in 2014, has a great voice and is relatively easy on the eyes, with a tight body. He was followed by Australian singer Betty Who - who had performed at Orlando Pride a week prior to the tragedy at Pulse - who likewise gave a great performance.
|View from the VIP/sponsor tent - police atop the building in the background|
As for the weather, it was absolutely perfect. If there was anything negative about the day, it was the small group of Christofascist protesters who police kept out of Town Point Park. Taking a brief look at them, it's safe to say that they looked like a total losers who obviously suffer from a form of mental illness that drives them to condemn those who are different or who question their fairy tale based beliefs and their celebration of hate and ignorance. But for these low life types the crowd was happy, peaceful and very well behaved. In short, it was a totally wonderful day.
The 2016 Pride sponsors who included the husband and myself. Again, note Newport News Shipbuilding as a presenting sponsor. Times are truly changing and the Christofascists and gay haters are coming closer and closer to being thrown on the trash heap of history where they belong.