Boy, have things changed. In 1979 when we had our first "Lesbian and Gay Pride Festival," about 80 people attended a celebration in Byrd Park. The police made several trips through the park that day, maybe for our security, but I remember feeling intimidated. Marriage was not even a thought. The issues were fear of being outed and losing our families, our jobs, or both.
In a couple of weeks, our annual celebration will take place on Brown's Island and about 20,000 folks are expected to celebrate LGBT lives and progress. The police will be there, but to staff booths in an effort to recruit police officers. The year prior, the Richmond police chief addressed the crowd. Last year the governor spoke.
The stage will feature nationally recognized entertainers, the grounds will be filled with hundreds of vendors and at the west end of the park will be a huge area dedicated to youth.
Yes, we realize obstacles every day that we must resolve, but on September 12th, join us as we celebrate. And lots we have to cheer about.