Thousands of people are converging in downtown Palm Springs this weekend for the Pride Festival and Parade festivities. The event celebrates the desert’s well known and diverse LGBT community.
“To be able to get out and walk and be proud of who I am and not have to hide. Just to be able to celebrate to be who we are today,” said Virginia Rodriguez, who drove out to Palm Springs for the festival from Fresno.
Her and her wife have been together for 15 years, and on Halloween they marked 6 years of marriage.
“I love her to death, I mean, she’s changed my life extremely. So, I’m just happy to be with her,” Rodriguez said.
And they’re celebrating that love and unity at this year’s 28th Annual Palm Springs Pride Festival and Parade along with others from the gay community.
“It’s awesome to be out and be a part of this. It’s really awesome, a good feeling,” Rodriguez said.
The fesitval, along Palm Canyon Drive, is expected to draw as many as 20,000 people, according to organizers.
This year’s theme is “I am pride – Stonewall 45” – honors a civil rights movement by the gay community in New York back in 1969, following a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. The movement considered one of the biggest historical events that’s helped lead to gay liberation.
“For me, it’s important because I like to be free and I think freedom is a word for this particular type of celebration,” Gary Freire, a festival attendee.
For those who’ve attended the festival over the years and have seen it grow, they say they’re proud of just how far the gay community has come.
“I think it’s important to let everybody know, it doesn’t matter what nationality, or age, gender, everybody should be proud of who they are and be able to stand up for what you believe,” Rodriguez said.
And also to be able to share with those who are not from the gay community.
“There’s lots of heterosexuals here with the homosexuals and its very important that all types of genders participate and enjoy and kind of commensurate the whole doctrine of being here,” Freire said.
The event will culminate Sunday with the 2 hour long Palm Springs Pride parade where more than 150 people are expected to participate. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m.