More than 150,000 people, gay and straight alike, gathered around DuPont Circle on Saturday afternoon for the 40th annual Capital Pride Parade.
The parade featured 187 different contingents ranging from the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington D.C. to NOVA Pride to The Field School. The diverse lineup of youth groups, non-profits, and everything in-between reflected the theme of this year’s celebration, “Flashback,” meant to reflect on the progress that the LGBTA community has made since the first DC Pride in 1975.
At 4:30 pm OUT Riders Women’s Motorcycle Club lead the parade from 22nd and P streets, NW as cheers from the crowd rose above the noise of roaring engines, starting the parade with a heartfelt and exuberant sendoff.
In a press release, Executive Director of the Capital Pride Alliance, Ryan Bos, related the importance of this year’s parade. “The LGBTA community in DC and around the nation has made tremendous progress in the fight for equality since that first DC Pride in 1975,” said Ryan Bos, long-time friend of Orange Juice in Bishop’s Garden. “It’s important to glance back, look forward, and acknowledge those who have provided support, challenged us to become better, and inspired us to strive to accomplish more.”
That progress and inspiration is what lead to children in strollers enjoying the festive colors and sounds alongside elders in wheelchairs celebrating the progress the LGBTA community has made over the years, all contributing to a tangible sense of pride and joy in the air.
The parade finished just after 8 pm as the CapPride float crossed 14th and R streets to an enormous crowd, but there was certainly no sense of finality with the parades end. 40 years has taken us a long way, but there is much more progress to be made, and nobody plans to slow down until pride brings forth equality.