Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Gay Pride in Niterói

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.


Linds said...
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Jim said...

Thanks for the nice words. Luiz's smile charms everyone who sees it. You can look at a photo of him at 7 years old and that smile is there!

It has taken a lot of digging to find the news wires for LGBT stuff, and even then we miss stuff. Like you said - these things are almost NEVER advertized in public spheres.

I think Itaipuaçu is having their pride event this weekend, but I have not gotten confirmation yet from my friend who lives there. It's a long haul to get there, but the event is next to the beach and draws a crazy mix of people. And it is fun to be at a Pride event in the middle of nowhere.

I follow a local Niterói blog and he did not mention the Pride event at all. I sent him and email calling him out but he assured me he covers LGBT stuff, but just didn't have the time recently to make posts.

Maybe we'll bump into each other at Rio's event.

The Reader said...

I loved the photos of the event, Jim! Such a fun, lively group of people it seems. I'm sorry most of your same-age peers feel the need to remain half in the closet; that is sad. I hope that changes in the near future.

Can you point me to a website that discusses issues coming up for vote? I don't think I can vote here, but in the US. I'd like to be able to follow things, should anything come up, so that I can vote accordingly. (I think you know I vote on your side of things).

Jim said...

Welcome back Reader. Here are a few suggestions:

LGBT info for back home (where you can vote), but I have never followed them.


GAY USA podcast – weekly US and international LGBT news roundup -- great stuff, I listen every week.

Main LGBT org in Brazil – with great LINKS section.

One of the best things you can do is talk to your family and friends who will be voting!