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Colorado Springs gay pride festival 2013 moves back into the closet

Haven’t we seen this countless times before: a nonprofit buys bigger britches forgetting that there was a reason it wore tight pink shorts, esthetics being the governing factor in neither case. Local Pride organizers may tell you they needed a larger park, but for what? The world’s loudest private barbeque? Over the span of two decades the annual Colorado Springs pride festival became the preeminent outdoor festival, dwarfing Spring Spree and Cinqo de Mayo in attendance and charm. The city even tried to dislodge it with its own “Diversity Fair” in lieu of formally endorsing Pride. And the authentic pride event took place where this traditional homophobic city had to look at it, smack dab in the middle of downtown, at town center, the square block of Acacia Park. This was also convenient for the pride parade which marched to it from blocks away. Convenient because the Springs gay community may fill a park, or a parade, hardly both, with barely enough leftover to be spectators. This year the festival is installing itself into America The Beautiful Park, formerly Confluence Park, formerly the unpaved ramshackle neighborhood in the lee of the coal power plant, adjacent too, as recently profiled in the local newsweekly, a toxic cleanup site. But mostly it’s a park invisible to anyone not going there and nearly inaccessible to them, by virtue of its single entrance and minimal parking. To ameliorate and confound access it’s going to be surrounded by police cruisers, so gay pride will be a guarded closet. Will enough of the gay community turn up to man the booths, trek 1.5 miles to the parade staging ground, and or attend along the parade route? Crowd enough to leave everybody feeling pride? Let’s hope so, this year of victory for gay marriage.
 
I haven’t been a loud advocate of gay marriage, not while grievous inequities mount worldwide, and especially as American gays clamor for the right to join the war making not end it. I was also disappointed by pride organizers in San Francisco who declined to name Bradley Manning as honorary grand marshal in response to the brilliant campaign by Bradley supporters: “Parade Marshal not Courts Martial!” What are the chances of that flying here? Last year we marched with a sign saying “I am Bradley Manning” and they took it literally, asking “And?”

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