In this day and age, it isn’t too rare to see Gay Pride marches across the United States and all around the world. In fact, its pretty much expected. President’s of our nation even declare a month out of the year as Gay Pride Month (when we really should celebrate Pride all year round!).
GLBT folk and our allies get to march in these parades, unhindered and proudly.
That wasn’t always the case…
Lets flashback to Anchorage in July of 1978. This was the reality of that day and age:
Just imagine being someone in this march. These brave marchers had to wear paper bags over their heads for fear of harassment, abuse, and most of all — losing their jobs. Life was already hard enough being GLBT in Alaska in the 70’s. But to march and show your Pride was even harder.
This Pride, we honor those who took the first steps to ensure that we as a community can march proudly in the streets, open, no brown paper bags over our heads, no disguise. Because of these individuals who Stepped Up and Stepped Out decades ago, we have the luxury to be able to continue Stepping Up and Stepping Out.
So what have you done to make sure that pictures like these become a thing of the past, something that years from now, we will look back and wonder at the incredulity and ignorance of those people?
This year, this Pride, we ask that you Step Up, Step Out, take that paper bag of your head and march proudly with us on June 25. For even today, it is punishable by death to be GLBT in several nations across the world.Today, Pride marches are banned in several nations, like the Pride march banned in Moscow in which marchers were brutalized and arrested (Read more here: https://alaskapride.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/while-3-fundraisers-and-a-big-gay-bbq-oc/).
That will only end when individuals like you end it.
But please, remember that you are walking in the footsteps of giants like Doug Frank, our Grand Marshall for this years Pride. (Read his bio here: http://www.alaskapride.org/documents/Doug%20Frank%20bio.pdf). So tread softly, but tread on nonetheless!