San Diego (KGTV)— Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the streets of San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood, to watch one of the largest Pride events in the West Coast: the San Diego Pride Parade.
There was nothing normal about Normal Street in San Diego, Saturday. Streets were closed off to marchers, dancers, and all kinds of entertainers.
Mayor, Kevin Faulconer, kicked off one of the biggest events in his city.
“We come together as a city, we celebrate our diversity, and we have a lot of fun,” the Mayor said.
People from all over the country rushed to the Hillcrest neighborhood to watch the action.
“Where is the best place to have Pride? San Diego Pride!!” Audie Contreras said. He traveled from Orange County to partake in the festivities. “Pride is about family,” he said. “It’s about being together as one!”
Lynne Maynard flew in from Columbus, Ohio with her partner Karen, to enjoy Pride. Her story resonates with many in the crowd, especially from her generation.
“I’m 74. I’ve been out and gay since 14. But I’ve had to hide it for the first 60 years of my life,” Maynard said.
It’s listening to stories like Maynard’s, that inspired San Diegan, Jonathan Villegas to bring his two-year-old daughter, Malia, to celebrate diversity.
“The world is a big place, and we’re all similar, and we all need to be proud of that and celebrate that. And she should learn that,” Villegas said.
Many people have, and for that, Maynard is thankful that she can finally be herself.
“Pride is like a Godsend. I can be proud of myself, but I’m mostly proud of the professional men and women who struggled so to keep their identities hidden. Such joy I feel on this day. I always cry.” Maynard said.
In the midst of rainbows and tutus, some chose to make a political statement toward the current administration.
“I’m sending a message to Donald Trump, our president, the only way I can,” Glamda the Fabulous, said.
A hand-made dress had a particular message: “Supreme Liar.”
“The future generations are being manipulated by our current Presidency. And we have to show them that we’re here,” Glamda said.
Others marched to smash stereotypes, like Catholic Priest, Roger Haenke.
“Pride is about acceptance, celebrating diversity and who we are as individuals.” He said. Haenke is a Priest for the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Carlsbad. “We come from a history where that wasn’t always the case. And now we are celebrating the victories and the successes that we have over time, where we can now celebrate who we are.”
Many said pride is a reflection of how far the LGBT community has come both politically and socially. But at the end of the day, everyone here agreed it’s about love.
“No matter who is in office, no matter the political climate, expressing the love and acceptance of people is always important no matter what,” Haenke said.
The Pride festivities continue all weekend long throughout the Hillcrest neighborhood.