Gainesville Pride: Footsteps Toward Equality

Written By: Steph Fuenmayor, New Media Communications Intern

Gainesville Pride: Footsteps Toward Equality

The sun was shinning, the weather was great, and the people at Gainesville Pride want Marriage Equality on its way.

Prior to Saturday, I had never attended a Pride before. 

Gainesville is a college town about an hour and half north of Orlando; a city of cultural exchange and its pride was just as colorful as well.

Since early in the morning, local businesses, LGBT organizations and colleges groups began assembling tables at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza in downtown. The atmosphere was fresh and relaxing. A sense of familiarity was in the air.

At the parade, people greeted each other; they called each other by name. I was pleased to see that a big portion of the audience was straight allies, families, and their kids. A hate-free generation is coming this way. As we started walking, people in their cars waved at us when they drove by.

Soon after, I caught myself chanting along with The United Church of Gainesville, “Black, white, gay, straight—love does not discriminate.”  If you looked around, the brilliant theme of balloons, demonstrators rollerblading, and the sounds of the drums would make you feel like you’re at a fair.

Back again in the plaza, I went to my Equality Florida table and began to reach out to people about our Get Engaged campaign for Marriage Equality. Once we started, there was no stopping. The highest turnout in years I heard. People from all walks of life – straight, transgender, youth, elder, etc.— came to our table saying, “Hi, my name is so-and-so, and I'm here to help," and signed our pledge. 

I loved attending Gainesville Pride. I met new interesting people, and I filled my head with new memories to tell doubters why fighting for LGBT rights is just... right; I listened to them tell me why equality was important not just for themselves...but to all. 

A woman shook my hand and said "I'm straight, but I don't like my sister's rights taken away." Some couples told me they have already married in other states and would ask, "When is Marriage Equality coming to Florida anyways?"

To all, I have the same answer: you may not know me and I don't know you, but together we'll make a change.


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