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West Hollywood Pride Parade Goes On

Jun 12, 2016
Originally published on June 13, 2016 9:08 am
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Today's attack in Orlando comes as Americans across the country are celebrating LGBT Pride Month. Perhaps the most visible events are pride parades. Today in West Hollywood, Calif., thousands marched through a city that is a center of gay life in Southern California. NPR's Nina Gregory was at the parade and joins us now from NPR West. Nina, thanks so much for speaking with us.

NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: Hi Michel.

MARTIN: So tell us about the scene there today.

GREGORY: Well, you know, I've been to this parade over the years, and it did feel a bit more subdued today. Now, I don't know if that's just the maturity of the parade or the events that happened this morning in Florida. But there were a lot of people on the sidelines, and most interesting was the people who were in the parade, I thought. For example, Disney had - it's their second time being in this parade. And they had a big float shaped like a castle that was just cascading with balloons and dancers blaring, you know, self-affirming Disney anthems. And of course, they have a lot of employees in Orlando, so that was particularly touching.

MARTIN: Did you get a chance to talk to any of the parade-goers about how they felt about today's events?

GREGORY: I did. You know, and there was one parade-goer in particular that really kind of stuck with me. His name was Chad Roberts (ph). And he grew up in Tampa, Fla. And he told me the attacks in Orlando for him really hit close to home.

CHAD ROBERTS: One of my friends, Drew (ph), is still unaccounted for. I woke up this morning getting messages, trying to find out where Drew was. We still don't know where he is. And - OK, sorry. It's a little rough. But it's so good that the community comes together.

MARTIN: Nina, as you mentioned, you covered this parade for several years now. Did you notice anything different about the people who come? Was it different this year than past years?

GREGORY: You know, I think there was a sense of camaraderie. Also, I would say the other thing I noticed was to a person, a sense of humor about sort of life in general. I think this was kind of the overall theme of the parade was love and joy and being who you are and being proud of who you are. And so there was something very affirmative about the parade despite what happened in Orlando.

MARTIN: You know, before we let you go, that - we talked to a number of people who are involved with the LGBT community in Florida. And many of them said that people there are starting to turn their attention to political issues that they want to see political leaders advance. They say it's fine to talk about, you know, support for the community, but let's make that tangible. And they had some specific agenda items that they wanted to talk about. Did anything like that happen at the parade you attended there? Did anybody talk about those things?

GREGORY: Planned Parenthood was marching in the parade, so I think their presence alone is often a political message. And there were people who were carrying flags and wearing homemade T-shirts, you know, saying things like #reclaimpride. The message, while not overtly political, was one about pride and togetherness.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Nina Gregory. Nina, thank you so much for speaking with us.

GREGORY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.