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Empress in her City: Capital Pride

Capital Pride: It's not my space

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The first pride I went to was Capital Pride, and just like the first time I was in awe of the colors, the love, and raunchy freedom. So to be honest this is my second time attending. Unlike last year, I was able to actually see the parade instead of just sitting in DuPont Circle getting drunk off whiskey and vibes. This year there were definite differences in my experience that made Capital Pride feel lost. 

This year after finessing my mermaid hair wig on, and squeezing into a rainbow romper I was ready to be happy and enjoy pride with my dear friend. Before we even arrived we ended up getting off at the wrong stop. Blame the coollata and whiskey combo. The podcast mix. While scrambling to get to our right spot we finally walk out into the rainbow air of DuPont Circle. As soon as we stepped out, why did a man try to hit me up? The boldness, the audacity of CIS-straight men, never ceases to blow me. Anyway rainbow vibes not diminishing just yet, we gathered our gear and set up shop in the park. What a view to behold. Capital pride is amazing in the sense you see so many people and so many colorful presences. Whats not amazing is, how few queer people of color or allies present. The initial vibe here was that this space was catered toward white allies and LGTBQ+ people. There was a live performance that definitely celebrated a certain culture of whiteness that felt exclusionary. I'm not saying I didn't see people of color there, cause I mean I was there. I just saw a lack of representation and reception to people of color. What's nice is that the few I did see were happy to take pictures and were happy to see a fellow person of color. I was blessed to see the genuine joy of people who loved taking pictures and wanted to share that love and who i felt a kinship with. While awaiting the parade, as typical of outdoor events there was a lot of smoking, bubbles, and people selling all manner of items. 

 

At some point, before we watched the parade, after having my essence stolen from various photographers and meeting outfit twins, I needed to rest my weary feet. As soon as my sticky booty cheeks hit the bench, I witnessed a water heist. A white lady grabbed a bottle, laughed and kept walking. The caucacity. Captain yelled, "That white lady stealing" and true to form another white person came up full of white guilt and paid for more than the stolen water bottles. The cover-up. The conspiracy. The metaphor for America's history that could be meditated on here. After which while walking by the parade we saw floats, people throwing beads, lube, and so much more. It was raining sexual health. We stopped for Ethiopian food, which will have no further commentary and we wrapped it up and went home. 

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Review: There was something unspoken about capital pride this year. Something that pushed this feeling that D.C. is not the same. With the lack of support from the president and administration in regards to LGBTQ+ spaces and issues just around the corner, how could any person of color feel welcome in the city? It didn't help that while there, some flags flown showed that true to form racism is prevalent in the gay community and that bigotry persists in areas and movements that would not have been possible without queer people of color. Capital pride this year felt like a celebration for white gays, and that was a painful experience to have and witness. 

There was revulsion hidden in rainbows and glittery spectacles, for people with melanin blessings and that scared me and had me fear for my friends. This doesn't mean Capital pride, is as a whole a bad event. It's not at all, its a big part of PRIDE and celebration for those local to the DMV. However, whatever empathic or potentially social energy I experienced didn't settle with me well. It doesn't mean that Capital Pride can't be a joy or an uplifting experience. I wouldn't tell anyone to not go, cause I think having a presence in spaces like this is important. Even if it is hard to be brown in a sea of white. 


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