LGBT Community Filled With Pride Ahead Of Weekend Celebration
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Aired 7/11/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Fernando Lopez, Public Affairs Director San Diego LGBT Pride
First Lt. Garth Langley, 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade
This weekend marks the 39th Annual San Diego Gay Pride Celebration. What a difference a couple of years make.
In 2011, the first active duty military appeared in the parade. That was before the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the law that kept military servicemen and women from being openly gay, and was an act of courage, pushing the river of change along.
This year, feels almost like another world with major legal breakthroughs to celebrate changes many people would never have predicted could happen so fast.
Event organizers say this weekend's Pride events are taking on a whole new meaning with the Supreme Court's reversal of the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8.
"The LGBT community is just ecstatic with how much things have changed, and the victories. The energy is kinetic in the community. You can just see people are happier in the streets, holding hands, expressing themselves, and we're hearing this is going to be the big evaluate and best celebration the city has ever seen," Fernando Lopez, Public Affairs Director of San Diego Pride, said.
Lopez said this year's theme, "Freedom to Love and Marry" was chosen by the community.
The military community is expected to have a large presence at the parade.
Thursday, the Air Force announced that reservists are allowed to march in uniform. The move followed similar actions by Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force and the Navy's Southwest Region Command earlier this week.
First Lt. Garth Langley is one of hundreds of servicemembers planning to attend. For him, the event marks a special milestone.
"Last year on the gay pride parade, I came out to my command officially, and it's been an interesting experience, I took my partner to the Marine Corps ball. And personally, I've had a very positive experience in coming out," he said.
San Diego's Pride Celebration, the fourth largest in the country, runs July 12 through July 14. It includes a large community rally, Friday evening block party, a mile-long parade through the heart of Hillcrest and a two-day weekend festival in Balboa Park.