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Does this outfit make my PRIDE look big?

Last year I left my house on foot, in costume, making my 10 minute commute down to begin set up for the annual Out in the Park, Tacoma PRIDE Festival.  As I rounded the corner on 6th Avenue a man ran out of the local laundry-mat and began shouting. Seeing him charge out the door, I recall bracing myself, expecting a slur of hostile and offensive criticism based on the way I was dressed. Instead, to my surprise, he yelled “Honey, you gotch’er PRIDE on!” and with a beaming smile and a bounce in my step I replied “Does this outfit make my PRIDE look big?” No reply was necessary. There was that feeling of camaraderie, acceptance and community love. Which, after all the vendors, parties, and rainbow sequins, is what this festival is all about, after all.

Celebrating over 20 years of Tacoma Pride Festival through Out in the Park and Out In Tacoma, we have seen a single day of public celebration cultivate a yearlong commitment to our LGBTQA community. This year our city hoisted our Pride Flag for the third year in a row to display for the whole city. We received national recognition as being the official “Gayest City In America” for 2013. Our Ringlets of Joy decorated flagpoles throughout the downtown neighborhoods and our attendance expanded to well over 10,000 throughout the festival — and we look forward to increasing our numbers next year.

Next year when you head out to attend a Tacoma Pride Festival event, I hope you carry yourself with dignity knowing that your support makes a difference in the most unexpected of ways sometimes — even if you don’t see it — even if it is only to a stranger in a laundry mat. Carry yourself proudly because your PRIDE looks big.

Personal message from Rainbow Center Event & Development Coordinator, Lisa Fruichantie. 

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