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Jersey City's Pride
posted by the M word on September 2, 2008
At summer’s end, most of us queer folks have had a good fill of Pride fun. We’ve pretty much covered the Pride basics for the year:  rocked the rainbow flags, re-connected with old friends, made out drunkenly with ex’s, and cheered on our queens and dykons. Nevertheless, the Jersey City 8th Annual Pride Festival (August 23rd) came so late in the GLBTQ Pride season that it served as a refreshing reminder of what Pride festivals stand for, how they function and serve our populace. 

As a GO! Volunteer, I had the honor of handing out this August’s music issue to all the pride-goers, killing three birds with one stone: talking to the eye candy, getting first-hand fodder for my blog, and promoting my favorite publication. Being a magazine fairy also allowed me to observe Jersey City Pride from the perspective of a queer woman, one who perceived some pretty awesome particulars about this Pride event: how diverse we are as a community, how radical our artists are, and how this generation is so damn out and proud.

Almost all Pride events are diverse (especially in the NYC/NJ area), filled with great music and hot men/women running around rainbow-covered. Jersey City Pride was no exception. What a cultural group of gays we are! Black, Irish, Italian, Asian, Hispanic, Indian- you name the race, and they were at Jersey City Pride, representing! Grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts, and uncles-we were all there celebrating ourselves. From empanadas to gyros, funnel cake to Italian sausage, magazines to clothing, novelty items to life insurance, even the festival food and merchants were markers of how diverse we are a people. Because Jersey City is such a perfect melting pot, many of its queer residents of all ages and colors attended, reflecting on how queer politics are no longer the white-gay-male agenda of yore.

JC Pride had some awesome artists grace the stage. As a volunteer, I was able to catch some inspiring performances by Dani (songstress, lyricist, spokenword artist), Rhythm Locura (NY's premier LGBT Latin dance group), and Naommon (European electro-pop artist). These GLBTQ artists’ music was the perfect soundtrack for a Pride, especially an urban one. Mara Levi, Lori Michaels, Odd Girl Out also performed at the event, demonstrating eclectic queer girl sound.

And how about this Pride’s youth attendance? The street was flooded with baby dykes and young gay boys, all seemingly between the ages of 15-20. It seems like pride events are especially important to this generation of queer kids because it allows them a space to be proud of who they are, who they love, and where they live, especially when our daily lives tell us otherwise. What was especially remarkable was that besides rainbow colored clothing, some of these baby queers rocked “Obama” tees! Out and proud, political and loud, JC 8th Annual Pride proved to everyone on the Hudson that our queer community is very much alive.

This year’s Jersey City Pride theme was “Keeping the Vision Alive”. It looks to me like this NJ city’s queer community was doing just that. Keeping the vision alive that one day we will no longer need Pride events, that every day will be Pride. Keeping the vision alive that our next president will respect, support, and embrace us as equal Americans. Keeping the vision alive that this generation of queers will never have to fear for their life because of who they are. Keeping the vision alive that we stand strong as a community who will achieve human rights in all aspects. Keeping the vision alive that this racist/homophobe/misogynist society will one day accept us all-the trannies and the bulldykes, the bears and the lipsticks- as people, as neighbors, as fellow brothers and sisters. Keeping the vision alive that we are the arty, passionate, revolutionary, and proud population who love beyond borders. Keeping the vision alive that no one can throw a party like we can.

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