PrideDay Reflections

Our 28th PrideDay parade and festival was our biggest and best ever, and, although we worked ceaselessly to minimize lines, they were long because of the sheer number trying to participate (a new record to be sure). Some of our coordinators were on the street as early as 5:30 a.m., and some had not gotten to sleep the night before, so although there might have been some knowledge of events in Orlando, no one had time to reflect on them or understand their cause or extent. There have always been those who express anti-gay sentiment and we have learned to deal with various manifestations of that over the years, but this was a mass murder event which put an LGBT face on the victims of the violence such had occurred in San Bernardine and Bataclan. The presence of the Philadelphia Police Department to protect our event and participants was simply overwhelming — police vehicles and personnel were omnipresent. The thin blue line protected us, which was somewhat ironic and bittersweet after the Philadelphia Gay Officers Activist League declined our grand marshal award in the face of criticism.