Every color of the rainbow was visible in the outfits of the thousands who cheered, danced and celebrated their pride in 100-degree weather this weekend.
Members and allies of the LGBTQ community gathered this weekend at Steele Indian School Park for the 32nd annual Phoenix Pride Parade and Festival with the Lady Gaga-inspired theme “Born This Way! Feel it. Live it. Be it.”
Parade participants were encouraged to use the theme for float decorations and wardrobes.
The festival’s main stage had appearances from country music star Chely Wright, singer and songwriter Vanessa Carlton and ‘70s disco group the Village People.
Other festival activities included art galleries, drag and burlesque shows, and the Miss and Mister Phoenix Gay Pride 2012 pageant.
Social fraternity Delta Lambda Phi celebrated Pride weekend by promoting Agape Network, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to meet the nutritional needs of those living with HIV/AIDS.
Delta Lambda Phi President Xander Mach said fundraising during Pride is important because the festival itself brings together so many members of the community.
“Pride is important, first and foremost, because it eliminates alienation within the community,” Mach said. “We (Delta Lambda Phi) accept everyone and we’re here in the spirit of inclusivity.”
While inclusivity is promoted at the festival, Mach said he feels the LGBTQ community is still underrepresented at ASU.
“There is a little, but not enough, support for the community,” Mach said.
Delta Lambda Phi works toward raising awareness of the LGBTQ community at ASU, Mach said.
Delta Lambda Phi and Sigma Lambda Beta hosted the “Homophobia and Sexuality Discussion Panel” in March.
Sustainability sophomore and Delta Lambda Phi member Chris Moorman said Phoenix Pride is also about unity.
“It’s a time for us to volunteer,” Moorman said. “But it’s also the time for us, as brothers, to spend time together and have fun.”
ASU alumna Leanne Rodrigues said she came to support a friend who is a performer.
“I came to see my friend, but I’m so glad to see that Pride helps keep a strong gay community,” Rodrigues said.
Psychology junior Jessica Parris goes to Phoenix Pride every year.
“It’s a way for people to connect and express themselves without being judged,” she said.
Parris said she would like to see more visibility of the LGBTQ community at ASU.
“ASU could represent the community more,” Parris said. “I’d like to see more public events happening on campus.”
ASU alumna Minerva Valdes said she was glad to attend her first Phoenix Pride.
“The festival’s goal is to bring awareness and acceptance,” Valdes said. “It’s important to show — like the name says — that you’re proud today and always.”
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org