Phoenix Pride Festival: The Good, the Bad, and the Alternatives

Categories: Events
rainbow flag_sized.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
Rainbow flags will be everywhere at Phoenix Pride.
For more than 30 years, the Phoenix Pride Festival has provided local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks with parades and entertainment. This year's festival, scheduled to take place Saturday and Sunday, April 16 and 17 at Steele Indian School Park, will provide the usual perks: it's the largest gathering of the GLBT community all year, there's lots of free swag from the vendor booths, and people can learn a lot about many different GLBT groups in the Valley.

That said, I've been an out lesbian for the past 17 years, and I haven't been to Pride since 2006. I have my reasons (which I'll enumerate below), but I also think there are many other (and maybe better) ways to support the local gay community.

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Wikimedia Commons
Former teen star Tiffany will perform at Pride.
One reason I skip Pride is the only beer for sale is Budweiser, longtime sponsor of the event. Kudos to Budweiser for being one of the biggest gay-friendly booze companies in the world (along with Absolut Vodka), but honestly, some of us would rather drink Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Another quibble I have is with the music. Every year, the stages at Pride are saturated with dance and pop acts. This year's entertainment includes '80s teen idol Tiffany, Blake Lewis (runner up on the sixth season of American Idol), and one exciting act, indie band Shiny Toy Guns. But if you're into metal, punk, or hip-hop, you'll get no such thing at Phoenix Pride.

Some people in the GLBT community complain about stereotypes, and pop culture images of gays and gay characters in neon spandex, feather boas, rainbow T-shirts, and g-strings with pink triangles on them. Chances are good you'll see all those things and more at Phoenix Pride Festival. I do believe people should be able to express themselves however they like, but I don't particularly want to pay $15 to $25 to see a drunk leather daddy hump a pink pool noodle while singing karaoke to Madonna (I've seen it before).

I'd rather put that money to other uses, which brings me to my final point: other ways besides attending Pride to support the GLBT community in Phoenix.

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Wikimedia Commons
Colorful characters abound at Pride.
Donate money or volunteer time for a local non-profit
organization that serves the gay community, like One Voice Community Center; Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG); AGAPE Network; the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS; or Equality Arizona. There are dozens more local GLBT organizations that could use a hand, too.

Learn who the gay-friendly politicians are in your city, county, and districts, and what they're doing to work toward equality. If you find local politicos with platforms and track records you like, vote for them and support them.

Patronize local gay-owned or gay-friendly businesses. There are tons of them in town, including doctors, law offices, art galleries, tanning salons, clothing stores, restaurants, florists, churches, and couriers. Free guides full of local business listings are available from the Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

Of course, many of the aforementioned organizations will have booths at Phoenix Pride Festival, so maybe it is worth it -- if we stash a cooler of PBR in the trunk and bring an iPod.

For more information on Pride, call 602-277-7433 or visit www.phoenixpride.org.

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28 comments
Weenertron
Weenertron

It also has always bummed me out that Echo magazine covers mostly mainstream pop stuff as well and apparently isn't interested in DIY gay culture. For instance, they don't seem to know who Owen Pallett is. He's an awe-inspiring gay musician, and he's played in Phoenix at least 3 times. They'd rather devote the space to a review of the new Avril Lavigne CD.

Enemy of Evil Bastards
Enemy of Evil Bastards

I don't claim to know or understand everything in this world, but my parents did teach me to not judge people who are different than I just because they are different, and that includes gays and lesbians or any one else that completes the glbt family.

They also taught me how to recognize bullies. You, Shelly Gilbert, are a bully. No doubt you also beat your kids just for the sport of it. You definitely fit in with the rest of the tea-baggers and racists that infect Arizona like a cancer spit out of hell.

I'm really rooting for the end of the world next month so trash like you will feel the pain you love to heap on those different than you.

Tony Felice
Tony Felice

Nikki, thanks so much for the shout out! Supporting gay and allied business is good for the economy and gives us the financial stability to support moderate and allied political candidates. Historically, gays and lesbians are key economic drivers, especially in downtown areas. --Tony Felice, Chair - Greater Phoenix Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

Guest
Guest

It's debauchery and perversity at it's finest.

ashley
ashley

Meant fight for equality* grrr typos :)

Ashley
Ashley

It is disgusting to see such uneducated ignorant people on this page. Shelly, people have pride to fight for equal rights because of ignorant hateful people like you. If there weren't people like you who have such hate for other human beings...I doubt they would have a reason to find for equality. This is the 21st century. Get the hell over yourself and quit judging others who aren't like you. I am glad to live in a world with such great people. I am assuming you are straight. So I wouldn't expect you to understand why people who are gay feel they need to march for equality in this world. Fortunately for you...no one votes on your marriages or tells you who you can love. No one tells you that you are going to hell for being born a certain way. So it is obvious why you are so ignorant that you can't even understand that it has nothing to do with being insecure. In fact...they are very secure and proud of who they are and that clearly shows during pride. So my comment to all of you hateful disgusting bigots is this...Stop the hate. Stop judging people who aren't like you. We are all human beings. We all bleed the same. We all hurt the same. We all love the same. We are all people and we ALL deserve respect and equality. And FYI, you seem to be the insecure one's to go OUT OF YOUR WAY to post nasty comments on a page representing the gay pride parade. If you feel the need to seek out innocent people only to attempt to belittle them...then I am assuming that it is you who is insecure and it is you who is mentally weak. Next time you call people mentally weak...make sure you are able to spell properly. That way you won't look like such an idiot. :) To everyone else...I went to pride today. I am straight and I was more than proud to support everyone there. I have never seen such expectance and love of one community as I saw today. It was great to see everyone come together and support everyone. Don't stop the fight. One day equality will be yours! :)

Pride Fan
Pride Fan

I agree with the writer - she describes great alternatives. But she hasn't been to Pride in 5 years - she would otherwise know that Dance, Metro and Bistro Tents have been playing the music she describes for years. But thinking that rest of us would actually want to drink Pabst Blue Ribbon? Really? Wasn't that the cheap swill you bought in college when you only had a few bucks in change to get drunk?

lincon5
lincon5

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esteban
esteban

"For more than 30 years, the Phoenix Pride Festival has provided local gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender folks with parades and entertainment."

Us straight folks have been entertained as well! It's an inclusive thing, remember...

GayLatino
GayLatino

One thing that the writer failed to mention is that Phoenix Pride is committed to helping the community. Phoenix Pride turns part of their revenue into community grants and educational scholarships. Many non-profits like One Voice Community Center have benefited from these grants. Each year a number of students receive scholarships to continue their education. This is all from money generated through community donations, and events such as Pride. I personally think it is one of the most important events we have all year. This is why I look forward to it.

Erica Connell
Erica Connell

Wow! The amount of ignorance being spewed and close mindedness is appalling! Pride is not about being weak or having low self esteem, it's about equality and expressing that I am Proud to be Human and Proud of the human I am. Regardless to the gender roles, who a person loves, what they wear. Pride is about acceptance of Everyone!

This is a group of people that do not have the same inalienable rights as the rest of society because they are judged, ridiculed and discriminated against because of gender orientation in their love life. They can not change who they are, God made them as he made each of us in his image.

Do not try spewing the Bible to me either I am have read it as many times as you have. It was translated by men and like the childrens game "telephone" the message is skewed by time it reaches it's destination. The Bible in fact teaches and says more times about tolerance, acceptance and love more then it does on any other subject. It's time people start following that example.

Even if some of these people have low self esteem it's because ignorant hateful people are constantly saying and doing harmful evil things. Like Shelly Gilbert "they should rename the parade THE REALLY MENTALLY WEAK AND MENTALLY INSECURE PEOPLES PARADE." or the too afraid to say his/her real name Dont Read This "quit your raggin you sissy ass fag ass fucker! ". Comments like this are meaningless unless you are trying to spread hate and discourse. There is no point in being cruel to others and these two along with any other haters out there need to look inward to themselves and find out why they are so scared and hateful to a passive group of people celebrating who they are and exercising one of their rights, being the 1st Amendment Right! One of which hasn't been taken away from them

All this I am proud to be a straight married women with 3 children and many many friends who are Homosexual, Bi, Transgendered, or anything else that makes them happy. They are still some of the most stable, kind, loving and caring people I know.

EMT Diva
EMT Diva

It is not a matter of needing pride. I have a lot of gay friends and let me tell you something... The fact that they do not hide who they are behind some bs persona just so that people like you will like them shows pride right there. "Coming out of the closet" so to speak takes far more courage and pride than you could probably ever imagine! The ones that are insecure are the ones who have to put others down or are afraid to get to know someone simply because they don't think the same way. Whether you are GLBT or straight, we all have the same feelings, we can all fight for our country, we can all love another human being for the person that they are, we can all support our own causes and we can simply be proud of who we are. No one bashes people who say that they are proud to be Americans... Why? Does that mean that they are insecure when celebrate their nationality? Get over yourselves people! There are no cooties! You can't catch gay from shaking someones hand although it sounds like quite a few of you could stand to catch a dose of the open mindedness and acceptance that the GLBT community has...

SHELLY GILBERT
SHELLY GILBERT

what is there to be proud about when your gay? nothing thats what. and why do gay people need to be constantly reminded to have pride? they sound really insecure about themselves if you ask me. thats why they need a pride parade. the rest of us out here dont need a pride parade to get threw our lives. gays are weak and insecure. they should rename the parade THE REALLY MENTALLY WEAK AND MENTALLY INSECURE PEOPLES PARADE.

Salvador
Salvador

you're either a 12 year old boy or blue haired midwest transplant aren't you?

robryd
robryd

What is there to be proud about, Shelly, when you can't write English properly? Please learn to spell and punctuate.

ABer
ABer

I agree with Shelly. Gays must have low self esteem to have to have a Gay pride anything. the Gays need to toughen up if thats possible and quit their whining sniveling and complaining.

Dont Read This
Dont Read This

robyrd are you a Commie a Nazi a Teacher a control freak robyrd? how she writes is her own business. stop trying to control people. free speech is her right no matter how she spells or writes. besides quit your raggin you sissy ass fag ass fucker!

Zona
Zona

The best sensei I have ever had (in Jiu jitsu) was a gay man who would kick your ass as quick as you could blink. I get such a kick out of people thinking gays cant be tough.

It's getting better
It's getting better

Coming to the defense of Shelly's rights to free expression was a bold move "Don't". I couldn't imagine how the comments discussion could have been lowered to a still more ignorant level until I read that. With regard to Shelly's comment, there is not another human emotion that more aptly describes the majority of expressive efforts among the general population than pride. That's why, despite all evidence to the contrary, we continue to advocate and defend policies, methods and practices in this country, which lack any long term practical merit. In the face of alternatives, which represent the "innovative, pioneering, and even freely expressive, we remain shackled to the wheel of entrenched power structures which are doomed to extinction by their inability to adapt to change. If pride goeth before the fall, then it's no wonder we keep tripping up. On the other hand, the enthusiasm and optimism of the gay population is what is really on display at the yearly festivals, the rest is just window dressing. To the extent these events create a showcase for that, what does it matter what it's called?

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