“Be proud of who you are.” This past weekend, I had my first experience at the Long Beach Pride Parade. Growing up in such a diverse and vibrant city, I cannot believe it took me so long to join the celebration. The air was filled with glistening bubbles, colorful flags and upbeat music. Glitter, boas and tassels dangled off the floats. But, what was more powerful than the sights and sounds was the vibrant and uplifting environment.
I was inspired by this event — inspired to love myself and to fight for what I believe in. Five themes in particular had the greatest impact.
Only positive vibes were present among the marchers and spectators. Despite the hardships and stigma this population has faced for years, parade-goers were able to put all of that aside and focus on the positive. It was hard not to feel as if there was a brighter future ahead–one where everyone is accepted.
All the participants in the parade showed tremendous courage. Near the start, protestors hollered hurtful words and held hateful signs. However, this did not phase the marchers. They continued on with their chins high and smiles wide. They proved that love really does trump hate!
The sense of inclusiveness was undeniable. Everyone was respectful of one other’s individuality. There was no fear of judgement. Rather, diversity was embraced and encouraged. All ages, genders, sexual orientations and ethnicities were represented. Even dogs and toddlers marched in their Pride-gear to pledge support to the LBGTQ community.
From bold makeup to 5-inch heels, I was impressed with the boldness of the marchers and spectators. Celebrators took pride in their individuality and let their beautiful selves shine. They didn’t let 90 degree heat stop them from rocking their thoughtfully planned outfits.
I was proud of myself for wearing shorts for the first time of the summer season, but when I left the event, I was empowered to be even more daring. Who cares what anyone else thinks!
Love radiated through the air. This motif is the perfect summary of my experience at Pride. In an environment filled with compassion, nothing is impossible. I couldn’t help but feel loved and supported by each person I walked by, despite being strangers to all.
The part that with the biggest impacted was the promotion of self-love. With confident and brave attitudes, marchers were true to themselves. I want to follow their example and fully accept myself.
Thank you Pride community for such an empowering afternoon. I hope all you readers can take the lessons I learned and apply them to yourself. Even more, I highly encourage you to attend a similar event and experience it firsthand!
Until next time,