HOUSTON – Houstonians showed their “Pride’ Saturday night.
An estimated 700, 000 people packed downtown to celebrate Houston`s 38th Annual Gay Pride Parade. Costumes, floats, and flags lit up the night… as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders and straight folks danced and partied. But it`s the meaning behind the pageantry that`s important. “This parade shows that you`re not the only one in the world… there`s like millions that will be there for you, and not judge you and help you out” says Hailey, a parade goer.
For many in the LGBT community, Pride Weekend is the one day they can be themselves. “It means love acceptance and a safe place to be, and for me to hang out with other people like me” explains Leo Raglin. Tierre Robinson says, “It means to be proud and prideful of who you are.”
Earlier in the day, protesters tried to preach their ways, but sometimes they were drowned out by LGBT supporters. Janette says this is her fourth year at Pride and, “The protesters, they`re growing smaller and smaller. So people are becoming more accepting, and more loving and there`s just no fighting it anymore.”
Protesters or not, parade goers say they felt safe suggesting everyone should, “Give a shout out to our police force”.
“Every HPD officer that I`ve seen, I`ve told them, “Thank you so much, I appreciate you being here. I know it`s a thankless job but thank you for keeping us safe,” says Janette.
Even with the mega-police presence, the Pulse nightclub massacre was still on the minds of many.
“In light of what happened in Orlando, I feel like it`s even more important this year to come out and show your support,” says Helga Gladik.
“My heart, my sympathies, my prayers got out to all those in Orlando, and anyone affected. We`ll remember them but we must continue forward as one people, an entire community,” explains Alexander Hernandez.
Thirteen-year-old Caitlin Judkins sums it all up though, “For the people in Orlando, we`re here today to show, no matter how you try to knock us down, we`re always going to stand up.”