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North County’s LGBT Community Celebrates ‘Pride By The Beach’ Festival

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Promise Yee

Attendees at the "Pride by the Beach" festival in downtown Oceanside, Oct. 11, 2014.

The North County LGBT “Pride By The Beach” celebration in Oceanside over the weekend marked a step toward greater acceptance by the community.

A 50-foot tall pink flamingo and rainbow balloons marked the "Pride by the Beach" festival celebrated Saturday in downtown Oceanside.

It was the seventh year for the the annual event, which has grown in size and acceptance by the community. The first year the Pride event was held inside the Oceanside beach's recreation center. The second year it moved outdoors to the beach amphitheater.

This year, the Pride festival was held in the streets in the heart of downtown, and surrounding businesses showed their support by displaying rainbow flags.

Max Disposti, North County LGBTQ Center founder and executive director, said a lot has changed since the first Pride event.

“The first one was just for us,” Disposti said. “We were very intimidated the first two years."

Photo credit: Promise Yee

A member of Our Ladies of Perpetual Indulgence takes part in opening ceremonies of the "Pride by the Beach" festival, Oct. 11, 2014.

Saturday's Pride celebration was "the result of how much we’ve grown in the community, and we’ve earned the respect of our folks here in North County,” he said.

The Pride festival coincided with National Coming Out Day. Both carry the message to look beyond stereotypes and to get to know people as individuals.

“It has to do with the LGBT community, be proud of who you are, but if you think about it, it has to do with all of us,” Disposti said. “It goes beyond your sexual identity, or sexual orientation or gender orientation, it goes to be truthful to yourself.”

During the event, Oceanside Deputy Mayor Esther Sanchez read a proclamation recognizing the North County LGBTQ Center and LGBT community.

“It’s good that our mayor is on our side here in Oceanside, but we still have a long way to go,” Disposti said. “We still have to educate a lot of families that couldn’t be here today. A lot of kids are still frightened just to come out and be who they are to their family and their community members. So that’s why we’re here. That’s why the importance of Pride every year.”

North County LGBTQ serves the lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and questioning community of North San Diego County. The non-profit does work in Encinitas, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Fallbrook, Camp Pendleton and other outlying areas.

Promise Yee is a North County freelance writer. Contact her at promise805@hotmail.com. Twitter: @promisenews. Facebook: promise.yee.1.

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