Capital Pride Parade: Thousands expected for DC celebration

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Rain drizzled early Saturday afternoon as partygoers moved up and down 14th and T streets in Northwest Washington in preparation for the start of Capital Pride Parade. Outside a restaurant, Jackie Segler, 40, added another rainbow flag to her motorcycle. In its basket sat her broken yet festive skeleton, Che.

Segler has lived in the District She was ready to experience the energy of the celebration again. For six years and attended Pride in the past, but this is her first since the pandemic began.

“I feel like nobody judge you here,” Segler said. “Pride is my favorite holiday of the year in DC I have friends coming out that I haven’t seen in years, and it will be great to see them again.”

Thousands were expected to gather Saturday for the Capital Pride Parade, back fully in-person after two years of modified celebrations because of the pandemic. The parade began at 3 pm at 14th and T streets NW and will continue into the early evening along a 1.5-mile route through the Shaw, Logan Circle and Dupont Circle neighborhoods.

Last year, DC celebrated Pride with slimmed-down crowds along with a mobile parade. In 2020, as marches were largely canceled, Pride organizers around the world offered virtual parades and events.

Pride month opens with celebration and a new anxiety in DC

This year’s parade comes at a time of political uncertainty for LGBTQ rights around the country. Florida legislators recently passed the controversial Parental Rights in Education Bill, which would ban instruction or discussion about LGBTQ issues in schools for younger students, while Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered investigations into the use of gender-affirming care for transgender children.

Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance, said that legislation threatening LGBTQ rights underscores the purpose and value of the parade and Pride celebrations.

“This is our voice. This is a time for us to be visible, to be heard,” he said. “With the threats around, it just overemphasizes the need for these events worldwide.”

Segler said she enjoys how closely knit the LGBTQ community in DC is and hopes that energy doesn’t fade away.

“You look at all the gay bars that have closed and I definitely don’t want that energy to get lost,” Segler said.

Joe Jonas’s band DNCE will headline the Capital Pride Festival and Concert Sunday, along with “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winners Willow Pill and Symone.

Capital Pride’s big return: Parade, Joe Jonas and plenty of parties

The Pride celebrations are part of a series of events expected to draw crowds to the District the next two weekends. Also on Saturday, the March for Our Lives rally against gun violence drew thousands of people to the Mall. Next weekend, more crowds will run in a 10k promoting healthy living and celebrate Juneteenth with a music festival.

This is a developing story.

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