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St. Louis PrideFest Downtown June 29-30

June 29, 2013 Downtown, Events/Meetings, Featured, Popular Culture 42 Comments

Today and tomorrow the annual PrideFest celebration will take place in downtown St. Louis. For many years the parade was on South Grand, ending in Tower Grove Park. Before that the parade was on Euclid, ending in Forest Park.

Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest2013
Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest2013, click image for Slate article on the history behind the rainbow colors.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the gay rights movement and why we celebrate in June:

In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a group of gay customers at a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn, who had grown angry at the harassment by police, took a stand and a riot broke out. As word spread throughout the city about the demonstration, the customers of the inn were soon joined by other gay men and women who started throwing objects at the policemen, shouting “gay power.”

Police reinforcements arrived and beat the crowd away, but the next night, the crowd returned, even larger than the night before, with numbers reaching over 1000. For hours, protesters rioted outside the Stonewall Inn until the police sent a riot-control squad to disperse the crowd. For days following, demonstrations of varying intensity took place throughout the city.

In the wake of the riots, intense discussions about civil rights were held among New York’s LGBT people, which led to the formation of various advocacy groups such as the short-lived Gay Liberation Front, which was the first group to use the word “gay” in its name, and a city-wide newspaper called Gay. On the 1st anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades in U.S. history took place in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and near the Stonewall Inn in New York.

The Stonewall riots inspired LGBT people throughout the country to organize in support of gay rights, and within two years after the riots, gay rights groups had been started in nearly every major city in the United States. (civilrights.org)

In 1987, just 3 years before moving to St. Louis, I drove a vehicle in Oklahoma City’s inaugural Gay Pride Parade. I was just 20 and we didn’t know what to expect. Turnout was good and nobody got beat up.

Over my years in St. Louis I’ve attended our St. Louis parade on Euclid and on South Grand, participating a few times. As a downtown resident of 5+ years I’m glad to see the event relocate to downtown.

Some in the LGBT community, including many friends, aren’t happy about the move downtown.  They’re having a picnic this morning at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market followed by a block party at Hartford @ Grand. I’ll stop by if I can but I know I’ll be able to travel a few blocks to for the main event, here’s some basics from the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis:

PrideFest 2013 is happening this Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30 at Soldiers’ Memorial.

On Sunday, the Pride 5K begins at 7 am, followed by the Pride Parade at 11 am. The Pride Parade will begin at Market and 8th Street, and will travel west to 18th Street for full disbandment. All street closures will be contained to Sunday.

Parade Closures

Market closed from Broadway to 18th Street, starting at 6 am

7th Street closed from Walnut to Chestnut, starting at 6 am

8th Street closed from Chestnut to Walnut, starting at 6 am

**All side streets leading into Market from Chestnut on the North and from Clark and/or Walnut on the South will be closed, starting at 6 am**

The exact closure times of some streets will be contingent on police direction that morning. Streets are scheduled to reopen by 3 pm Sunday.

5K Closures

The Pride 5k will do a continuous loop around Soldiers’ Memorial, starting at Pine & 15th Street; to Pine & Tucker; to Tucker & Market; to Market & 17th Street; back to Pine to complete the loop.

Pine closed from Tucker to 18th, 6 – 8:30 am

**Additional closures for the 5k will be side streets leading into Pine from Olive, between Tucker and 17th Street**

Tucker will be closed starting at 6 am from Olive to Clark and will reopen after the 5K contingent upon crowd size and police discretion.

The parade runs west on Market from Kiener Plaza, starting at 11am on Sunday. Click map for more information.
The parade runs west on Market from Kiener Plaza, starting at 11am on Sunday.
Click map for more information on PrideFest 2013.

The boyfriend and I will be at the parade Sunday, this will be his first.

– Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    Interesting juxtaposition between this event and Christian Day at Busch Stadium on Sunday – http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/ticketing/group_theme.jsp?loc=christianday

    We all have our beliefs and our preferences, the problem is that too many of us want to push our own agendas onto others. I’m not quite sure why those in “minority” groups (apparently?) find a greater need to proclaim their differences and to find justification and acceptance of these differences. As a white, straight, male, I get that there has been past, and at times violent, discrimination. But if our goal is a color-blind, gender-neutral, accepting society, isn’t the constant pointing out of these differences counter-productive? Why is a homosexual Pridefest cool when a heterosexual pridefest would be looked at as creepy? Why is the NAACP OK while an NAAWP would be vilified? My guess (and hope) is that by the end of the century that many of these groups and perspectives will become as marginalized as Civil War reenactors are today, and that people will be accepted for who they are as individuals, and not just as a part of some stereotyped group.

    • wump

      Wow, I feel justified in hating you so much now. Thanks guy, great job!

      • Darren

        I think a professional would call it envy, not hate. And remember: you can rationalize “hate” but you can never justify it.

        • Eric

          Envy? You mean wump wishes he were like JZ71? I don’t think you meant to use that word.

        • Eric

          Envy? You mean wump wishes he were like JZ71? I don’t think you meant to use that word.

    • wump

      Wow, I feel justified in hating you so much now. Thanks guy, great job!

    • ParallelParker

      So you are opposed, as well, to Christian Day at Busch Stadium? From my perspective that is an exercise in a group using a public setting to push their agenda on to others and promote a viewpoint that is different than mine. I’m good with Pridefest and Christian Day at the ballpark. As long as folks act with reason and are respectful of others, everybody gets to express their point of view, No need to be afraid of differences and diversity. It would not be a very interesting (or productive) world if everyone thought the same and was indistinguishable from everybody else.
      . . . Now those Civil War re-enactors are a whole different story.

      • JZ71

        Personally, I’m not a fan of zealots of any sort – religious, sexual or ethnic. If I’m in a public venue, I don’t want to be proselytized to. If I want to know, I’ll ask.

        • Eric

          It’s a free country. If someone proselytizes to you, ignore them.

        • Eric

          It’s a free country. If someone proselytizes to you, ignore them.

      • JZ71

        Personally, I’m not a fan of zealots of any sort – religious, sexual or ethnic. If I’m in a public venue, I don’t want to be proselytized to. If I want to know, I’ll ask.

    • ParallelParker

      So you are opposed, as well, to Christian Day at Busch Stadium? From my perspective that is an exercise in a group using a public setting to push their agenda on to others and promote a viewpoint that is different than mine. I’m good with Pridefest and Christian Day at the ballpark. As long as folks act with reason and are respectful of others, everybody gets to express their point of view, No need to be afraid of differences and diversity. It would not be a very interesting (or productive) world if everyone thought the same and was indistinguishable from everybody else.
      . . . Now those Civil War re-enactors are a whole different story.

    • Lance Finney

      Ooo… I’d hate to see how much disapproval you express over St. Patrick’s Day. Why do we have to accept that Irish people want to celebrate their identity once a year? Shouldn’t they give up their identities and become more like you?

      More seriously, groups like homosexuals are only a decade away from being legally disallowed from having sex in several states. They even today can be fired in many states. They can’t marry who they wish in most states. Gay youth are beaten up across the country.

      They are seeking acceptance because their demands for acceptance are the only way that they have achieved and will continue to receive the basic human rights that you and I enjoy automatically.

      Discrimination against the LGBT community isn’t as frequently violent as it used to be, but it sometimes still is violent, and it definitely isn’t past.

      There is no need for a straight pride day – straights can kiss on the street every day of the year without fearing a beating. Gays don’t have that freedom, so why on earth do you begrudge that they carved out ONE DAY a year to enjoy the same freedom and acceptance that you feel every day?

      Like you, I hope that Pride Day will be as uncontroversial by the end of the century as St. Patrick’s Day is now, but it will only come through more acceptance by the entire community, not by straight white males whining that they have to share the world with people who aren’t like them.

      • JZ71

        Never said I was opposed to anyone expressing their identity – I have mine – nor am I afraid “to share the world”, I just said “that too many of us want to push our own agendas onto others”. St. Patrick’s Day (no longer) is about pushing Catholicism or Irish customs on the larger community, it’s about drinking green beer and having a good time – everyone is invited. I don’t “begrudge that [gays] carved out ONE DAY”, I just question the wisdom of trying to remain separate and distinct, as opposed to integrating into the larger society. We (most of us) no longer view Italians, Germans, Jews or Catholics as minorities to be discriminated against (and they very much once were), when will we (begin to) view gays the same way? When will being gay just be “normal”, instead of something to either be celebrated or vilified? Most of the people I know, me included, could care less about someone’s sexual orientation – you have as much right to privacy to do what you want to do in your bedroom as I do and I expect – just like we could care less about your ethnic background. It’s only when one asks for attention, then gets the “wrong” kind, that things start to get awkward, or worse.

        • Lance Finney

          Everyone is invited to Gay Pride, just like to St. Patrick’s Day. Your comparison is invalid, but your objection to blacks and gays expressing their identities while approving of straight Europeans expressing their identities is noted.

          By celebrating the gay lifestyle, we are not viewing gays as a minority to be discriminated against – we are celebrating them as a minority that _shouldn’t_ be discriminated against. The difference is vast, and I’m sorry you don’t see it.

          Gay bashing did not occur because gays asked for attention and then didn’t like the result. Stonewall happened because police targeted them in their own spaces, away from everyone else. 32 people were killed in an arson attack in New Orleans in 1973 when gays were quietly spending their evening in a secluded space (not because they wanted to be separate, but because they weren’t allowed in other spaces). Even today, gays are actively prevented from living their lives as full citizens with full rights in their own homes.

          If you really want homosexuality to be considered no big deal, then act like it’s no big deal. Don’t whine about the one day there’s a parade for them when you don’t hold the same standard for all the other identity groups that do the same thing.

          • JZ71

            Hey, I completely agree, “gays [are] a minority that _shouldn’t_ be discriminated against”, that’s my point! By having Pridefest point out that they are different, don’t we/you/they just perpetuate the discrimination? And I get that the timelines are different – Columbus Day, for Italians, was a much bigger deal for first and second generation immigrants (living in tight immigrant communities) than it is for fourth and fifth generation Italian Americans (living in the suburbs). It’s one thing to no longer be discriminated against on a daily or hourly basis (where gays are today) versus being of some European heritage (what St. Patrick’s Day is). I’m not saying don’t have or enjoy Pridefest, I just question the (unfortunate?) need to celebrate something that should be mainstream and a non-issue.

          • Lance Finney

            “By having Pridefest point out that they are different, don’t we/you/they just perpetuate the discrimination?”

            No, not at all.

            You are engaging in victim-blaming. You are implying that no one would discriminate against them if they would just disappear and not be visible. That is not the case, as I demonstrated above.

            Discrimination against against homosexuals is not created or perpetuated by having a day in which they celebrate their identity. Pridefest is a _reaction_ to discrimination, not a cause of it.

            You have your causal arrow completely in the wrong direction.

          • JZ71

            No, I’m not “engaging in victim blaming”, I’m questioning a society where anyone, gay or straight, would feel a need to “celebrate their [sexual] identity”. And while I agree that “Pridefest is a _reaction_ to discrimination, not a cause of it”, I stand by my assertion that there’s a fine line between celebrating differences and perpetuating stereotypes and any associated discrimination. Yes, discrimination against gays is much more recent than pervasive discrimination against Irish, Italians, Greeks or Germans, so there’s a different dynamic when celebrating one’s sexual identity versus celebrating one’s ethnicity. Greekfest, St. Patty’s Day and Columbus Day all show “pride” in ethnicity primarily through food and drink, but they don’t come wrapped in the same political agenda that Pridefest carries.

          • Lance Finney

            So, your argument is that groups at the receiving end of active discrimination should not take any pride in their identity or try to change opinions about them in the greater community until the greater community accepts them through other means. That the only time it’s acceptable to be present in society is when everyone accepts you. That trying to stop discrimination is unacceptable until the discrimination has stopped.

            Point understood and rejected.

          • Lance Finney

            So, your argument is that groups at the receiving end of active discrimination should not take any pride in their identity or try to change opinions about them in the greater community until the greater community accepts them through other means. That the only time it’s acceptable to be present in society is when everyone accepts you. That trying to stop discrimination is unacceptable until the discrimination has stopped.

            Point understood and rejected.

          • JZ71

            No, I’m not “engaging in victim blaming”, I’m questioning a society where anyone, gay or straight, would feel a need to “celebrate their [sexual] identity”. And while I agree that “Pridefest is a _reaction_ to discrimination, not a cause of it”, I stand by my assertion that there’s a fine line between celebrating differences and perpetuating stereotypes and any associated discrimination. Yes, discrimination against gays is much more recent than pervasive discrimination against Irish, Italians, Greeks or Germans, so there’s a different dynamic when celebrating one’s sexual identity versus celebrating one’s ethnicity. Greekfest, St. Patty’s Day and Columbus Day all show “pride” in ethnicity primarily through food and drink, but they don’t come wrapped in the same political agenda that Pridefest carries.

          • Lance Finney

            “By having Pridefest point out that they are different, don’t we/you/they just perpetuate the discrimination?”

            No, not at all.

            You are engaging in victim-blaming. You are implying that no one would discriminate against them if they would just disappear and not be visible. That is not the case, as I demonstrated above.

            Discrimination against against homosexuals is not created or perpetuated by having a day in which they celebrate their identity. Pridefest is a _reaction_ to discrimination, not a cause of it.

            You have your causal arrow completely in the wrong direction.

          • JZ71

            Hey, I completely agree, “gays [are] a minority that _shouldn’t_ be discriminated against”, that’s my point! By having Pridefest point out that they are different, don’t we/you/they just perpetuate the discrimination? And I get that the timelines are different – Columbus Day, for Italians, was a much bigger deal for first and second generation immigrants (living in tight immigrant communities) than it is for fourth and fifth generation Italian Americans (living in the suburbs). It’s one thing to no longer be discriminated against on a daily or hourly basis (where gays are today) versus being of some European heritage (what St. Patrick’s Day is). I’m not saying don’t have or enjoy Pridefest, I just question the (unfortunate?) need to celebrate something that should be mainstream and a non-issue.

        • Lance Finney

          Everyone is invited to Gay Pride, just like to St. Patrick’s Day. Your comparison is invalid, but your objection to blacks and gays expressing their identities while approving of straight Europeans expressing their identities is noted.

          By celebrating the gay lifestyle, we are not viewing gays as a minority to be discriminated against – we are celebrating them as a minority that _shouldn’t_ be discriminated against. The difference is vast, and I’m sorry you don’t see it.

          Gay bashing did not occur because gays asked for attention and then didn’t like the result. Stonewall happened because police targeted them in their own spaces, away from everyone else. 32 people were killed in an arson attack in New Orleans in 1973 when gays were quietly spending their evening in a secluded space (not because they wanted to be separate, but because they weren’t allowed in other spaces). Even today, gays are actively prevented from living their lives as full citizens with full rights in their own homes.

          If you really want homosexuality to be considered no big deal, then act like it’s no big deal. Don’t whine about the one day there’s a parade for them when you don’t hold the same standard for all the other identity groups that do the same thing.

        • Moe

          What rose colored glasses do you view the world through? All around the world various groups have parades, rallies, and yes, even call them protests(such as in the Middle East) to be…no strike that…to demand that they be recognized and accepted as part of their community and government.
          It is people that think others “want to push our own agendas” that are the problem. They do not understand or want to understand why people feel oppressed. They think that if somehow these people would stop showing off that they will be accepted sooner or later or worse, that nothing is wrong and they are making a big stink about nothing. They think that celebrating diversity of any type is not needed. But then these are the type of people that think “ooohhh, we have a black kid in our high school, so we aren’t racist”.
          “We (most of us) no longer view Italians, Germans, Jews or Catholics as minorities to be discriminated against (and they very much once were”….THIS is why celebrations of difference are needed. Italians, Germans, Jews, Catholics, and a host of other groups didn’t get to that ‘everyday acceptance level’ by sitting on the sidelines and letting others evolve into accepting them.
          Or in this case, they are “forcing” the homosexual agenda down their throats (no pun intended). Guess what? You don’t want to celebrate pride and diversity? stay home. Don’t want to celebrate Christian day at the stadium? stay home. Don’t want to celebrate St. Pat’s day? stay home.

        • Moe

          What rose colored glasses do you view the world through? All around the world various groups have parades, rallies, and yes, even call them protests(such as in the Middle East) to be…no strike that…to demand that they be recognized and accepted as part of their community and government.
          It is people that think others “want to push our own agendas” that are the problem. They do not understand or want to understand why people feel oppressed. They think that if somehow these people would stop showing off that they will be accepted sooner or later or worse, that nothing is wrong and they are making a big stink about nothing. They think that celebrating diversity of any type is not needed. But then these are the type of people that think “ooohhh, we have a black kid in our high school, so we aren’t racist”.
          “We (most of us) no longer view Italians, Germans, Jews or Catholics as minorities to be discriminated against (and they very much once were”….THIS is why celebrations of difference are needed. Italians, Germans, Jews, Catholics, and a host of other groups didn’t get to that ‘everyday acceptance level’ by sitting on the sidelines and letting others evolve into accepting them.
          Or in this case, they are “forcing” the homosexual agenda down their throats (no pun intended). Guess what? You don’t want to celebrate pride and diversity? stay home. Don’t want to celebrate Christian day at the stadium? stay home. Don’t want to celebrate St. Pat’s day? stay home.

      • JZ71

        Never said I was opposed to anyone expressing their identity – I have mine – nor am I afraid “to share the world”, I just said “that too many of us want to push our own agendas onto others”. St. Patrick’s Day (no longer) is about pushing Catholicism or Irish customs on the larger community, it’s about drinking green beer and having a good time – everyone is invited. I don’t “begrudge that [gays] carved out ONE DAY”, I just question the wisdom of trying to remain separate and distinct, as opposed to integrating into the larger society. We (most of us) no longer view Italians, Germans, Jews or Catholics as minorities to be discriminated against (and they very much once were), when will we (begin to) view gays the same way? When will being gay just be “normal”, instead of something to either be celebrated or vilified? Most of the people I know, me included, could care less about someone’s sexual orientation – you have as much right to privacy to do what you want to do in your bedroom as I do and I expect – just like we could care less about your ethnic background. It’s only when one asks for attention, then gets the “wrong” kind, that things start to get awkward, or worse.

    • Lance Finney

      Ooo… I’d hate to see how much disapproval you express over St. Patrick’s Day. Why do we have to accept that Irish people want to celebrate their identity once a year? Shouldn’t they give up their identities and become more like you?

      More seriously, groups like homosexuals are only a decade away from being legally disallowed from having sex in several states. They even today can be fired in many states. They can’t marry who they wish in most states. Gay youth are beaten up across the country.

      They are seeking acceptance because their demands for acceptance are the only way that they have achieved and will continue to receive the basic human rights that you and I enjoy automatically.

      Discrimination against the LGBT community isn’t as frequently violent as it used to be, but it sometimes still is violent, and it definitely isn’t past.

      There is no need for a straight pride day – straights can kiss on the street every day of the year without fearing a beating. Gays don’t have that freedom, so why on earth do you begrudge that they carved out ONE DAY a year to enjoy the same freedom and acceptance that you feel every day?

      Like you, I hope that Pride Day will be as uncontroversial by the end of the century as St. Patrick’s Day is now, but it will only come through more acceptance by the entire community, not by straight white males whining that they have to share the world with people who aren’t like them.

    • Eric

      If you don’t like it, don’t go. Part of living in a city is knowing how to deal with people who you differ from, disagree with, or even find “creepy”. And a municipality should be flexible in working with any group that wants a
      mass event, unless it is grossly and horribly offensive (neither
      PrideFest nor Christian Day is).

      • JZ71

        I agree. My point isn’t whether or not either (or any) event should be “allowed”, my point is why is there a “need” for either event? We all self-identify with many groups, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, occupation, religion, neighborhood, ward, parish, age, height, weight, hair color and where we went to high school. If we want to live in a truly integrated society, we need to accept that these differences exist AND to not discriminate based on these differences. Agree? If so, every time we “celebrate” these differences, aren’t we also implying that they are somehow superior? And, by extension, putting down other groups?

        • Moe

          The “need” for such events is for all those that think such events are not “needed”.

        • Moe

          The “need” for such events is for all those that think such events are not “needed”.

      • JZ71

        I agree. My point isn’t whether or not either (or any) event should be “allowed”, my point is why is there a “need” for either event? We all self-identify with many groups, based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, occupation, religion, neighborhood, ward, parish, age, height, weight, hair color and where we went to high school. If we want to live in a truly integrated society, we need to accept that these differences exist AND to not discriminate based on these differences. Agree? If so, every time we “celebrate” these differences, aren’t we also implying that they are somehow superior? And, by extension, putting down other groups?

    • Eric

      If you don’t like it, don’t go. Part of living in a city is knowing how to deal with people who you differ from, disagree with, or even find “creepy”. And a municipality should be flexible in working with any group that wants a
      mass event, unless it is grossly and horribly offensive (neither
      PrideFest nor Christian Day is).

    • wump

      Dude. Its called the kkk. Join up.

    • wump

      Dude. Its called the kkk. Join up.

    • moe

      It’s a heterosexual pride fest every time one goes out into public. Take a look next time you venture into the real world at how straight couples are allowed to hold hands, kiss, smooch, etc in public, yet if a gay couple were to do that, they get sneared at, have derogatory remarks yelled at them, things thrown at them, etc.
      And don’t even get me started on that heterosexual pride fest goes to a whole other level when alcohol is involved.

    • moe

      It’s a heterosexual pride fest every time one goes out into public. Take a look next time you venture into the real world at how straight couples are allowed to hold hands, kiss, smooch, etc in public, yet if a gay couple were to do that, they get sneared at, have derogatory remarks yelled at them, things thrown at them, etc.
      And don’t even get me started on that heterosexual pride fest goes to a whole other level when alcohol is involved.

  • JZ71

    Interesting juxtaposition between this event and Christian Day at Busch Stadium on Sunday – http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/stl/ticketing/group_theme.jsp?loc=christianday

    We all have our beliefs and our preferences, the problem is that too many of us want to push our own agendas onto others. I’m not quite sure why those in “minority” groups (apparently?) find a greater need to proclaim their differences and to find justification and acceptance of these differences. As a white, straight, male, I get that there has been past, and at times violent, discrimination. But if our goal is a color-blind, gender-neutral, accepting society, isn’t the constant pointing out of these differences counter-productive? Why is a homosexual Pridefest cool when a heterosexual pridefest would be looked at as creepy? Why is the NAACP OK while an NAAWP would be vilified? My guess (and hope) is that by the end of the century that many of these groups and perspectives will become as marginalized as Civil War reenactors are today, and that people will be accepted for who they are as individuals, and not just as a part of some stereotyped group.

  • Eric

    Nice picture.

  • RyleyinSTL

    Seems to me Pridefest is about celebrating and creating pride in a population that is greatly marginalized, and trying to extend constitutional freedoms to all members of society. I’d be shocked as hell to find Christian Day getting behind anything this good for the country.

  • RyleyinSTL

    Seems to me Pridefest is about celebrating and creating pride in a population that is greatly marginalized, and trying to extend constitutional freedoms to all members of society. I’d be shocked as hell to find Christian Day getting behind anything this good for the country.

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