The streets were full of pride on Saturday. And there was much to celebrate.
The annual Gay Pride parade, Marche des Fiertés, took to the streets of Paris, dancing and strutting and strolling its way from the Luxembourg Gardens to République.
It is always a joyous occasion, but this day was particularly momentous, given the Friday decision by the U.S. Supreme Court supporting gay marriage. Marriage equality, while slow moving, was making progress. (France passed its Mariage pour Tous legislation in 2013.)
The parade on Saturday had the joy, passion, openness, and cast of characters that makes this one of the best parade events in Paris. Rainbows were everywhere—from the multicolored parasols and flags to the more practical hair ribbons and fans to the stylish tutus and tattoos.
Creative costumes and dazzling sequined gowns kept things interesting and confirmed that everyone has the freedom to be as they are or show themselves as they wish. I always particularly admire those who walk the entire parade route in the highest of heels and the tallest of feathered headgear and keep their make-up fresh even on a hot summer day.
There were tens of thousands of participants, including representatives from French organizations that support and fight for LGBT rights (more than 65 groups), as well as LGBT and supporters from Paris and the banlieue, visiting tourists, and even a few folks who just like a party or a parade.
The signs and the smiles said it all. Gay, OK. Love is love. Free hugs. Papa Pride. Equality for all.
But it was the three minutes of silence at 4:30 in memory of those who have died of AIDS (SIDA) that reminded everyone that the fight has been long and hard. And there is much work yet to be done.