Sunday was the big Gay Pride event here in Niterói. They say it is the second largest event in Niterói after New Year’s Eve. It sure was fun.
The event here is completely different than the Pride event back in San Francisco. In Niterói its starting time is 3 p.m. (which really means 5 p.m. Brazilian time) and it continues well into the night. In SF, of course, it is a morning/afternoon thing.
Here the “parade route” is really just the long beachfront road facing Icaraí beach. There is no parade to speak of, just the rolling out of 6 or 7 trio electricos, which then position themselves along the route where they park and blast out music for all to enjoy. It is a huge block party with various musical ambiances along the way.
The whole area was packed with tens of thousands of very happy people.
I’ve posted before about our experience with middle aged and older gay men here in Brazil who continue to live their lives half in the closet (the half that interacts with those they do not know well, or with whom they work). While we did hook up with some peers to go enjoy the party, some of our better friends took a pass and in fact said they have never been to the Niterói Pride event, now in its 6th year. Sigh.
When I looked around the crowd at Sunday’s street Pride party it was completely noticeable that we were surrounded by YOUNG PEOPLE; beautiful, happy, vibrant, out, young people – often kissing each other. It was like I was drinking from the fountain of youth, remembering why I love LGBT folks so much. And feeling proud.
The theme of the event, as was the case in São Paulo last month, was to encourage everyone to VOTE in ways that would confront homophobia in society. While it was a purely political theme, the night was anything but dogmatic. Basically it was a dance party along the beach where girls could hold their girlfriends and boys could hold their boyfriends.
["Our rainbow has all the colors.
Viva diversity, respecting differences"]
Getting on to 10 p.m. we elders started to droop and think about getting up for work in the morning (I have a 9 a.m. student on Mondays). We left the exuberant kids behind and headed back to our apartment, just three blocks away. (We really live in the perfect location!)
As usual, the people who caught my eye for photos were the most colorful. But it is worth noting that most folks just came out in their street wear, with perhaps a touch of glitter.
Happy Gay Pride Niterói.