Loud and proud

Loud and proud

Dayton celebrates 2011 Gay Pride

By Emma Jarman

The Rubi Girls will host just one of the performances for Pride 2011.

Parades are so 1990s. This is 2011, and the Miami Valley Pride Partnership has an entire week of events and celebrations scheduled to celebrate gay pride and to thank you for being a friend.

“The reason we chose thank you for being a friend is because even the acceptance that we’ve gotten so far has not been without many of the straight allies groups like PFLAG (Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) that have helped us to get to this place,” said Randy Phillips, the media chair for the Miami Valley LGBT Pride Partnership. “That’s why we have chosen to thank them in many ways.”

Dayton has become increasingly “gay friendly” over recent years and the 2011 Pride Festival is determined to recognize that, and hopefully bring a few more tip-toers over the line of indiscriminate opinions through song, dance, performances and parades. Even Hulk Hogan went to a drag show once and I say if he can do it, so can I.

The main fundraiser for the Miami Valley Pride Partnership will be held Saturday, June 4 at the Firefly Building. Rooftop Rubi, a “do not miss, red carpet event,” according to the May Newsletter of special Pride events, is a show put on by the Rubi Girls. To see men dressed as women in lipstick better than yours and a naughty sense of humor, put on your best Monte Carlo gear and head to the Firefly Building rooftop, Friday, June 3, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. It’s only $15 general admission that will add to the $300,000 the Girls have raised in the past, so you know they’re good, honey.

Most gay pride events are known for dazzling displays of marching mayhem and banner-toting chanters. So, parade we shall on Saturday at noon starting at Cooper Park, by the library on St. Clair Street.

“It is very family oriented. Don’t be afraid to bring the kids down …” said Phillips.

While some parades, especially the more prominent ones, say in New Orleans or San Francisco, can result in unintentional isolation through celebration, the Dayton Pride parade is all-inclusive. Fearful of feathers? Put your SARS mask away. Bashful around body paint? Well, maybe you should pocket some wetnaps, but don’t make it an excuse to miss such a heartwarming, honorable day such as this.

“Around here, you don’t see the flamboyant, shocking-type stuff,” assured Phillips. “I’m not going to say it won’t exist, but typically, we’re more your ‘average’ people.”

Average? I wouldn’t reduce them to that. The gay community in the City of Dayton is a brilliantly talented, fascinatingly engaging, inspiringly proud group of people, who want to share what they have with the City of Dayton.

“Pride is being able to say that we are proud of who we are,” said Phillips. “[Anyone who comes downtown] is going to run into some very welcoming and friendly folks that will probably invite them over to the festival and Courthouse Square for some great entertainment and speakers.”

But why say something when you can sing it? The Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus will be putting on a boy band extravaganza covering the soda pop melodies of bands ranging from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons to the Backstreet Boys. Bring your best choreography and tightest denim to the Victoria Theatre at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 4, to celebrate these Billboard sensations of past decades with the Dayton Gay Men’s Chorus.

There is truly something for everybody – no matter gay, straight or bi, black, white or beige, as Lady Gaga would say – at the Dayton Pride festival. This weeklong celebration of pride isn’t limited to Masque’s June 1 Drag Night, the Pride Festival at Courthouse Square on Saturday, June 4, or the performances on the “Pride-Apalooza” stage in the gay quad parking lot, also on June 4. It’s about acceptance and thanking those members of the community who have worked so hard to accept.

A few months back, in the February issue of the GayDayton newsletter, Mr. Phillips wrote an essay called “What does a Pride parade mean?” In it, he addresses the importance of acceptance, the real plan behind the “homosexual agenda” (it doesn’t involve recruiting or master plans of attack), and the struggle he has felt and resistance he has seen against equality.

He wrote: “So what does a parade mean? It means that we can stand tall and proud of who we are. We do not have to hide in closets because we are LGBT. We have come a long way, and yet have further to go to achieve our nation’s creed of ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’

Paramount to this statement taken from our Declaration of Independence is the little three-letter word: ALL. It is my dream that one day ALL will be deemed equal. I hope you will ALL join me this June as we ALL celebrate our PRIDE.”

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.mvgaypride.com or www.daytonlgbtcenter.com.

Reach DCP editorial intern Emma Jarman at EmmaJarman@daytoncitypaper.com.

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