Now in its 40th year, the Twin Cities Pride Festival and Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade, the largest in the Midwest, more than anything, represents the coming together of community; the rainbow lighting of the 35W bridge symbolizes that much. People and organizations supporting the GLBT community in the Twin Cities stood side by side, both literally and figuratively, Saturday and Sunday June 23 and 24 in Loring Park.
If you were anywhere near the park this weekend, chances are you were accosted by one of the many Minnesotans United for all Families volunteers planted along and throughout the park’s perimeters. On Minnesota’s ballot this year is a proposal for a constitutional amendment: “Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as marriage in Minnesota?” The orange “Vote No / Don’t Limit the Freedom to Marry” stickers people got for pledging to vote no in November ran rampant. It was a prime rallying ground for the movement, as the demographic of people milling around Loring Park were of more of the Vote No variety than the Nobama.
Also coming together were a wide representation of religions and non-religions in the form of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, Plymouth Congregational Church, United Methodist Church, and St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church (signs read “A potluck of people” and “Lutherans love me”), Indigenous Peoples Task Force and Minnesota Atheists. But the biggest cheers came when the “Catholics Voting No” group walked down Hennepin, in the shadows of the Basilica of Saint Mary (one of the signs read “What would Jesus Do?” with a “Vote No” sticker slapped next to it).
One man watching the parade cheered on every single float and organization that walked by. “Alright gay pets!” “Thank you Al Franken!” “Yay gay lawyers, defend our rights!” “Yay Cub … Stay fresh!” “Alright 3M, I’m sticking with you!” The man’s enthusiasm represented the sentiments of both spectators and participants in the parade, which included groups representing General Mills, Metro Transit, Target, Macy’s, US Bank, City Pages, etc. Whether painted from head to two in silver or gold, wearing nothing but saggy white briefs, full-body hugging a cop, or dressed in drag or as the Pillsbury doughboy, everyone in the crowd stood out—together.
Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Collaborative.