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Each year the Capital Pride Festival is held in Washington, DC on the first weekend of Pride Month. This year I finally made an effort to attend the Capital Pride Festival for the first time in my life. This was after many years of knowing that this festival existed. I had opportunities in the past to represent the Unitarian Universalist faith at a booth by volunteering but I never did. I especially had opportunities to volunteer when a longtime member of my UU congregation came out as gay and he devoted much of his retirement time to organizing on behalf of LGBTQ people both within the UU faith and in interfaith groups. (He and his partner has since moved to Florida where they continue to be active in both the UU faith and LGBTQ rights.)

I never did. In fact it would be years before I would even consider attending a Pride festival of any kind. The last couple of years I got reminders of the Capital Pride Festival because the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School would hold an event on the same Sunday as the festival. I went to Dr. Sketchy’s in 2017 but I basically took photos of all the rainbow stuff in Dupont Circle, which was a few miles away from where the festival was held. The following year I went to Dr. Sketchy’s again but instead of going to the festival first, I attended Sunday service at the National City Christian Church because Rev. William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign was giving a speech in the pulpit. Because of the timing of both when Sunday service ended and when Dr. Sketchy’s was going to begin, I couldn’t swing getting back on the Metro to go to the festival because the timing would’ve been too close to Dr. Sketchy’s.

This year I finally decided that I would make an effort to show up to the Capital Pride Festival in person just to see what it was like. Since the DC chapter of Dr. Sketchy’s haven’t held an event since last October and no Pride tie-in event was scheduled for the same day, I could spend as much time at the festival as I wanted. I even wasn’t going to let the rain forecast deter me from not going—I simply took an umbrella with me.

Since the festival was held on a Sunday, I went to my church’s special all-ages Sunday service on playing followed by a picnic (most of which ended up being held indoors because it started to rain off and on). Once I ate my fill of food, I drove over to the Metro station and went directly to the Capital Pride Festival. Here is a short video I shot of the festivities from that day.

Here are the photos I took of the festival that day. I knew I was close to the festival grounds on Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest when I saw more rainbow flags and related LGBTQ buttons on sale.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Of course there was anti-Trump stuff on sale. I can’t blame LGBTQ people for being less-than-thrilled with the current president, especially since his administration has been increasing hostile towards the LGBTQ in general.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Despite the cloudy wet weather the festival was well-attended.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

I saw a variety of corporate sponsors at this festival, which shows how mainstream LGBTQ rights have become in recent years (especially with increasing acceptance of legalized same-sex marriage). I’m amazed at this change, especially since I still have memories of when my UU congregation accepted that longtime member when he came out of the closet (this was back in the 1980s when there was a backlash against the gay rights movement due mainly to the AIDS virus striking that community) and made the then-bold move of formally being recognized as a Welcoming Congregation by the UUA. I still remember having to keep my mouth shut when I used to hear the occasional anti-gay joke when I worked for the corporate offices of a now-defunct computer reseller because there was a strong corporate culture against making any kind of waves for any reason. I never felt comfortable enough to even tell a co-worker there about how my church was trying to be more accommodating to LGBTQ people and standing up for their rights. Now there are corporations who are taking part in LGBTQ festivals like this one.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Someone at the Amazon booth volunteered to take a photo of me with my smartphone. I’m wearing the same t-shirt that I designed at a Pride Month event that took place in a local art supply store last year.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Even the U.S. State Department had a table where it was recruiting potential employees.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

There was also the reminder that this year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which gave rise to the modern LGBTQ movement.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

Despite LGBTQ people becoming more accepted, there have still been some backlash, especially among transgender people. I saw this booth promoting an upcoming march for transgender people that will happen in DC this fall.

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

There was also a promo for the upcoming BronyCon in Baltimore. (I went in 2013, 2014, and 2015 but I haven’t gone since because of tight finances. I might go this year since things are starting to improve for me but I haven’t yet made a final decision as of this writing.)

Capital Pride Festival, June 9, 2019

At one point it started to rain so I ended up spending the rest of the festival under my umbrella. I walked around until I grew tired and I left to go back to the nearest Metro station. (The only bad thing about going to a festival in rainy weather is that everything was too wet to sit on so taking any sitting break was out of the question unless I wanted to put up with wet pants.) I’m glad that I finally went to an official Pride festival and I enjoyed myself.

The only downside was that the next day I began to felt something in my lungs and I realized that I was working on a chest cold. I have no idea if this chest cold came as a result of walking in the rain during Capital Pride Festival or if I may have caught someone else’s germs a day or two before that festival but I ended up developing it. It took at least three weeks before I got rid of it mainly because it lingered when this awful heat and humidity weather came to the area and the National Weather Service issued a Code Orange alert warning people with lung problems that they will have more difficulty breathing if they spend any amount of time outdoors. Getting this cold sucked but I still don’t regret going to this year’s Capital Pride Festival because at last I got a chance to see for myself what it is like.

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It’s called Santa’s Husband and, as you can guess from the cover, it’s about Santa Claus and his husband, Mr. Claus. In addition, it depicts an interracial couple and Santa Claus is black. I can remember a time when any library with such a book would’ve been targeted by homophobic people and there would be calls to remove that book. And I know people older than me who can recall an era where people would’ve raised a stink about interracial couples (regardless of whether they were heterosexual or same-sex). These days no one has raised any kind of ruckus about that book.

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While I was walking on my way to church, I saw this trompe l’oeil wall mural.

I made my way to Thomas Circle where the National City Christian Church is located. This church is affiliated with the Disciples of Christ and it is definitely very welcoming to LGBTQ people.

I loved the interior of this church. You could tell that this is a historic church who has been in the same location for generations.

Each pew had an embroidered cushion at each end representing one of the 50 states. I shot this photo of the state that I currently live in (Maryland) but I ended up sitting in a pew that had a California cushion (but I ended up not taking a photo of that one).

The next photo shows the order of service and a flyer promoting the Poor People’s Campaign upcoming rally that was held later that month (on June 23).

The high point was hearing William Barber speak. He gave a very moving sermon on how he overcame his own homophobia to embrace LGBTQ rights while also promoting the goals of the Poor People’s Campaign in general.

I don’t regret making the effort to attend this Sunday service. A two-part video of this service has been archived on the Poor People’s Campaign’s Facebook page: Part 1 and Part 2.

After the service ended, we were invited to join the congregation for coffee and conversation in what looks like a newer, modern part of the church building. I didn’t see too many people at the coffee hour and I think it’s because there was the DC Pride Festival that was held on the Mall and many church members didn’t stay long because they wanted to go to that festival. I didn’t get a chance to meet Rev. Dr. Barber after the service because he went straight from delivering that sermon to a Spanish-language service that was meeting in a different room of the building in order to meet with the Latinos then he had to go on to a couple of other events that were scheduled that day. (I heard that he spoke at River Road Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda later on that same day.) The next photo shows the modern part of the church building.

I thought about making a brief appearance at the DC Pride Festival on the Mall but I didn’t get out of church until it was nearly 1 p.m. and it would’ve been cutting it close with Dr. Sketchy’s (where the doors opened at 2:30 p.m. and the event began at 3 p.m.). Instead I walked along P Street, NW from Thomas Circle to Dupont Circle while I took a variety of rainbow-themed decorations.

There were the occasional sign in Dupont Circle reminding people about a few facts about LGBTQ-related issues, such as remembering the late drag queen Marsha P. Johnson, who was one of the leaders of the Stonewall riot.

I took the occasional non-rainbow shot, such as this wheat pasted poster promoting the upcoming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom movie.

I saw a tent with a bicycle set up in the front yard of someone’s townhouse.

I saw some colorful graffiti in an alleyway.

I also saw some anti-Trump graffiti spray painted in various places throughout Dupont Circle.

There was a protest rally in Dupont Circle by an organization that called itself the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. All I can say is that I have never heard of this group before and they shouldn’t be confused with the Poor People’s Campaign (despite the similarities in the names). It drew a small crowd with some curious passer-bys briefly stopping by before moving on elsewhere.

I made a brief stop at Fantom Comics., which was decked out with both a rainbow flag and a Black Lives Matter flag.

Fantom Comics had a special display dedicated to Queer Comics, which featured comic books with LGBTQ characters.

They had a mannequin with a transgender flag and a pennant celebrating the Washington Capitals’ recent win of the Stanley Cup for the first time ever in the history of the team.

I didn’t buy anything in the store due to tight finances and the fact that I had planned on going to the DC Dr. Sketchy’s event at the nearby Bier Baron, which I’ll write about in a future post.

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I’m old enough to remember a time when if you wanted to purchase anything that was LGBTQ-related in the Washington, DC area, you had to go to the stores located in the heavily LGBTQ areas like Dupont Circle. You could easily forget about going to any store in the suburbs because such things just simply were not put on sale. This definitely includes Pride Month.

My how times have changed! Not only have corporations embraced Pride Month by putting out rainbow stuff but one can easily find rainbow-themed stuff on sale in the stores in the suburbs. What’s even more amazing is that this open observance of Pride Month has continued despite the fact that the Trump Administration is less-than-warm towards LGBTQ people. I kept on seeing rainbow stuff on sale in the suburbs, which is very convenient for those who want to buy rainbow items without having to take the Metro into downtown Washington, DC. I took a few photos but it wasn’t until the last day of Pride Month that I finally got around to uploading them. (I know I can be lame at times. LOL!) So, without further ado, here are some colorful stuff I saw in the suburban stores.

I saw slices of rainbow cake on sale at a local Giant supermarket earlier this month.

Rainbow Cake

But I saw the majority of rainbow-themed stuff on sale at Target.

Rainbow Clothes at Target

Rainbow Clothes on Sale at Target

Rainbow Stuff on Sale at Target

Stuff I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

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