SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- Thousands of members of the LGBTQ Community and their allies lined the streets of Hillcrest to celebrate the San Diego Pride Parade Saturday morning. More than 200 floats were on display at this year's event.
We asked the crowd, "What does "Pride" mean to you?"
"It means finally being able to live out and proud."
"It's the freedom to celebrate who we are."
"Love our neighbor as ourselves and love God!"
Some have been coming to the San Diego Pride Parade for decades.
"Oh my gosh, she's been 26 years of marching in pride with me," Dana Harwood said of her mother. "...And I love my lesbian daughter!" her mother, Bobbi said.
For others, this year's parade is their debut to the world.
"Fours months ago, I started my transition," Grace McBride said. "I am just so happy now that I came out to be authentic."
For 55 years, people called her Dale. But today, she is proudly Grace.
"Dale was struggling. Dale was a Marine. Dale worked for the cable company, and anymore now I just want to share the love," McBride said.
It has been a long struggle for the LGBTQ community. The most notable moment was the Stonewall Riots in 1969, where New York Police raided LGBTQ members staying at the Stonewall Inn.
"Stonewall gave us a sense of freedom. A sense of power," Drag Queen Vera Del Mar said.
Vera Del Mar grew up in National City but now lives in Tucson. She made it a point to make it back to her hometown Pride this year.
"I had to show off my new hairdo!" she said.
What was once considered 'underground' or 'shameful' has now become part of mainstream culture, even mainstream media. This year, many familiar faces of the 10News team joined the 10News float and greeted parade-goers.
14-year-old Alexis Engelmann came out as lesbian last year. She says she is lucky to have her entire family in her corner.
"It's cool because it's not really different at all," her younger brother Mile said. "We just like to support her and help her succeed in life."
Like the thousands of people at the parade, Alexis is proud. She is celebrating, not hiding her Pride.
"I love them [my family] so much, and I am so grateful," Alexis said.
If you missed the Pride Parade this morning, there are plenty of other things to do around Hillcrest. The Pride Festival continues throughout the weekend. Tonight's headliner is King Princess, and tomorrow night's headliner is LGBTQ trailblazer and iconic rocker Melissa Etheridge.