Gay Pride Festival 2018

For many of you, you keep up with my Instagram to know what I might be getting myself into during the weekend, but for others of you, this is the place you go if you want to read about my adventures, experiences and note worthy tips/advice. This weekend, I attended the Columbus Gay Pride Festival 2018 — I stayed the whole weekend to celebrate my rights as part of the LGBTQ but also, to make note of the rights we are still fighting for. This year marked the 37th year of the Columbus Pride Festival/Parade. A HUGE year because it just goes to show how many years we have come together as a community to both celebrate and remember the many things that we still have to work towards. 

 

Each year I have attended this festival with someone new in my life — this year being with someone whom I started talking to within the last 4 months. We aren’t in a committed relationship, due to each of us wanting to take it slow and really take the time to get to know one another and at the same time if we choose, date or meet other people. This was her first weekend attending a gay pride festival & I wanted it to be special for her. The weather was beautiful and very humid & hot, there were many people that differed in their own way that attended this festival; each from a different walk of life. The festival included food trucks, vendors, booths and concerts all going on at once. The atmosphere was pretty, it was on the water and within the city where if you wanted to walk to nearby restaurants and pubs, you had that choice. We spent the day at the festival navigating the different pathways and experiencing the different music, people and food. We managed to hold hands every once in awhile, and shared many laughs with plenty of happy moments & selfies (which I will post on Instagram within the next couple of days) — my favorite moment was knowing she enjoyed every bit of it, seeing it on her face, hearing her say it and watching her expressions when we walked the pathways passing different vendors, people and events.
I thought it would overwhelm her, but I was far from wrong, she wanted to do everything and watch everything happen, try anything once. Her happiness was priceless.

 

During the parade on Saturday, the speaker had us do 3 minutes of moment of silence together in honor of the celebration and the many things we are fighting for. The parade lasted about 2 hours and you gained free candy, items and discounts on products and restaurants. During the parade, you watch and see the many stores, churches and groups, and people who support our community; to name a few: Chase bank, Target. Huntington Bank, local Columbus churches, Abercrombie and Fitch — to name a few. That was something that astounded her, was how many companies support the LGBTQ community, ones we knew of and didn’t know of. When you are a minority of any group, it is pleasant to know who all supports your well-being; my favorite being some of the schools that supported LGBTQ community because I think it is very important for our educational system to hop on board when it comes to the welfare of each individual and who they are. With bullying being on a rise, the more the school systems get involved, I believe it will help with the cause towards reducing/preventing school shootings, suicides and unwanted harassment. Each person who attends hoping to take a stand and raise awareness is one more person risking their lives in order to improve our rights, and reach for equality. True equality. We were two people out of many who came to support the gay community, to sign petitions and take stands that were necessary if it meant making a positive change in the world. I don’t know if we were successful, but I do know, we were there & that’s something. 

 

I could talk on and on about the Pride festival and parade but the gist of this weekend was to have fun & being ourselves 100 percent — not fearing what others thought of us and learning about one another along with meeting other people within the community. If you ever have the chance to attend such a festival near you, you should, it would be a fun experience that could really change your perspective and life if you allowed it to. 

 

Happy Pride Month!

 

Shay-lon

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