My First Pride Parade

This past Saturday I attended my very first Pride festival! I’ve been wanting to go for years, and after this weekend, I know I’ll never miss it again.

The event was held at one of my very places – Lake Eola in downtown Orlando. It’s a beautiful park, super accessible for my wheelchair, and home to so many amazing memories for me. My two best friends and I got there early in the afternoon and I was instantly in love.

The second you got past the gate, you were hit with music in a sea of rainbows and smiles. We watched the Orlando Gay Chorus for a few minutes (they had an interpreter!) before making our way around the lake, petting festive puppers along the way, of course.

Our first mission was finding the Disney section, because well. Of course, it was. There was a giant Mickey arch, rainbow Mickey stickers being handed out, and a really cute area for taking photos. I even pet a cute little snake!

After we had taken way too many selfies, we headed over to the marketplace which was filled with so many fun booths and lots of information for different causes.

One of the things that made me emotional was how many churches came out to support Orlando’s LGBT+ community. There were way more than I expected, and it made my heart want to burst.

My friend, Lexi, bought me a Pulse Foundation tank top and I can’t wait to wear it constantly!

When we lined up for the parade, I really didn’t know what to expect. Orlando isn’t a huge city, so I wasn’t expecting anything massive.

Guys. It was the LONGEST parade I have ever seen in my life. Like, nearly two hours long. Two hours of rainbows, confetti, dancing, cheering, and celebrating love. It was absolutely incredible and I can’t help but feel a smile spread across my face when I think about it!

Scooby Doo was there?!

And so many boys with legs that had me jealous as heck.

Side note, some of these pictures were taken by the wonderful Sam, who demanded her photo credit. Did I mention she’s single? (I’m here for you, friend.)

There were so many different corporations there, my favorite being Jet Blue because they had signs that said “we’re plane proud!” That’s the cutest thing ever, okay? Puns get me. I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture but just know I was a wreck.

There wasn’t a ton of time before I had to leave, but next year I hope to be able to stay all night. I missed the rally and the fireworks, and as bummed as I am about that, I’m still just so so happy I went. It was an incredible day filled with so many kind people. I knew I was going to have fun, but it completely exceeded expectations. I already can’t wait to go again next year!

Strangers were giving out free hugs while wishing you a happy pride. Compliments were thrown around as much as candy was. I was nervous about any protestors or hateful people showing up, but I didn’t see any. Despite my nerves beforehand, I never felt unsafe for one second. I felt completely welcomed and accepted by everyone I spoke to.

It gave me hope for the future to see people of all ages and backgrounds celebrating themselves and each other. My heart was so full seeing so many incredible people having a safe space to feel proud of who they are without any fear of consequences.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget how happy I felt on Saturday. Love is love is love is love.

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