Downtown Indianapolis was vibrant this weekend with the concluding events of this year’s Circle City IN Pride eight-day extravaganza.
Thousands of people took to Massachusetts Avenue the morning of June 14 to watch the parade march towards the American Legion Mall, where the festival began shortly ?after.
The 90-minute parade showcased the stereotypical glitz and glamor that is often associated with the LGBTQ community as well as giving a plethora of organizations a chance to show their support for the cause of gay and transgender rights.
Extravagantly clad drag kings and queens strode down the streets, tossing glitter and hoisting signs. “Just married,” read one sign held by Dorothy and Glinda the Good Witch of the North from the 1939 musical fantasy film “The Wizard of Oz.”
Several organizations made their way into the parade as well.
Among the marchers were local and national businesses, social activist groups, church groups and government hopefuls at both the state and national level.
Following the parade was a grand festival in Downtown Indianapolis’ American Legion Mall. Thousands of people flooded the outdoor war memorial to enjoy drinks, music and various booths.
The festival, to many of its attendants, was symbolic of a culture coming together.“The Pride festival always has, and always will be a gathering for a community,” said Tabitha Stevens, the self-proclaimed Good Witch of the Midwest. “The gay community has always strived for equality, acceptance and respect.”
Entertainment was provided throughout the day and included a popular local DJ, a drag show and country music artist Steve Grand.
Grand made headlines the past summer with a controversial music video for his hit single “All-American Boy,” which features Grand skinny-dipping with a man he longs to be with and a kiss between two men.
“There’s just so much joy,” Grand said before the audience as he gave his explanation as to why he loved Pride.
Though a lot of the people here have “taken a lot of shit,” this is an event for a community to come together and be happy, Grand said.
Though the event took place in Indy, several sponsors were from neighboring cities hoping to promote LGBTQ rights and tourism, including Bloomington Pride.
“We’re setting up booths at all the major Pride festivals, including Chicago and Louisville,” Bloomington Pride board chair Kelly Miller said. “By going to all these events, we hope to not only promote gay rights, but also to bring tourism to Bloomington.”
Miller also said he enjoyed the opportunity to have his Bloomington Pride booth at the Circle City IN Pride ?festival.
“It’s a great way to connect the two LGBT communities,” he said.
Miller operated the booth with his husband, Ben ?Warnick.
Indiana’s status on gay rights has been murky since the adoption of House Joint Resolution 3 in February, the first sentence of which reads “Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana.”
But in April, U.S. District Judge Richard Young ruled Indiana must recognize the same-sex marriage of Amy Sandler and Niki Quasney, signaling broader implications on the status of ?same-sex marriage in the state.
Indiana is not the only state battling the federal government on the issue of gay marriage.
According to the Associated Press, as of June 6, cases are currently pending in all 31 states with gay-marriage bans, including Indiana.
“The right for gays to marry is currently in a limbo state, so to speak,” Miller said, though he said he admits he hasn’t really been following the issue. “I’m just hopeful for the future.”