Capital Pride 2011

IMG_1941Capital Pride Festival 2011

Sunday, June 12, marked the 2011 Pride Parade in Albany sponsored by the Pride Center of the Capital Region. I don’t have too much to say about the parade or the Pride Center that hasn’t been said already; the Center opened in 1970 and is the oldest continually operating gay and lesbian community center in the country. That counts for a lot. You can get more information at their website.

Capital Pride Parade 2011

I usually pride myself (get it) on delivering words to match my photos. In this case, I think the photos say more than words ever could; the pride parade and festival is a chance for everyone to come together and acknowledge the truth that has been for so long hidden: many of those around us lead something different than the typical straight lifestyle. Lets embrace that.

Capital Pride Parade 2011

2011 hosted a great parade. I missed 2010 but got to check out the 2009 Pride Festival, and this year didn’t disappoint. Most heartening was seeing the number of organizations that are not specifically LBGT affiliated who were involved. Several churches marched, and I think this really helps break down barriers on both sides and foster communication to build communities. It wasn’t all positive, one of the first things I saw was a small group protesting the festivities.

Capital Pride Festival 2011

They’re certainly within their rights to do so and I’m glad they exercise that civic responsibility. But as I was taking photos one of them started making sarcastic comments, “take a photo, it’ll last longer”, and so on. I said to him, yes, I’m taking your photo, you’re in public, is that a problem? He started quoting the Bible to me and I directly asked, you made a comment about me taking photos, is that okay? He again continued to preach, so I walked away, and realized what their goal really was; they just want to rile people up, incite them to react. This guy talked under his breath to get me into an argument with him so his group could then claim that equality rights supporters were unreasonable. I somehow always suspected this but never experienced it, and want to relay this story so others the future can hopefully ignore them instead of playing that game. What really struck me is that they didn’t even know which side I was on; I had no rainbow pin or anything. One guy just saw they were getting attention and assumed it was from someone opposed to them. I think that says it all.

Capital Pride Festival 2011

While I’m being negative, I figure I’d point out the above. Hundreds of copies of this sign were posted around Washington Park, and the typo is unfortunate. I think just gives more ammunition to those against equality. Hopefully it wasn’t a big deal. Along this same token, one of the rhetorical questions I hear when the subject of gay pride comes up is hey, why can’t we have a straight pride parade? Well, the question I would ask back is, would you allow gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transsexuals/transgender to march in your straight parade? Because the pride parade features many straight folks marching in support of their brothers and sisters. The entire point is that it’s inclusionary, not exclusionary. Something to remember.

Capital Pride Festival 2011

One heartening display was the number of public officials who came out and explicitly supported equality. New York State Senator Neil Breslin and Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings both spoke on the subject, and many other representatives were open about their support, as you can see above. While I realize that New York is a very liberal state, it’s still nice to see those with votes on the line publicly stand up for values.

It’s impossible for me to feature all of my favorite photos from the day. I narrowed them down to 44, which is still a lot for me. I highly suggest checking out the slideshow. I walked through the parade staging area, took photos of the parade, then spent a couple hours wandering the event grounds looking for anything interesting. I hope you like looking at the photos as much as I liked taking them. You can view the full set; Sebastien has a great set (including Batman), here’s his slideshow, albany_tim has a great set, and there’s a set from flickr user Bobby’s Photography. I’ll update as I find other photos online. Thanks for reading, and happy pride day.

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14 thoughts on “Capital Pride 2011

  1. Laura

    Nice work! These are great and a few of them are extra, extra amazing. I love the feathery pink hat shot above. Pride is not for the Black and White, that’s for sure.

  2. Jim Deferio

    If you thought that any of us were being antagonistic toward you, we weren’t. I’m the one holding the banner about STD’s and marriage. I heard one of my friends say that to you and kinda thought that he was reacting with haste. You have to realize that we often have things thrown at us, we have been physically and verbally assaulted many times, and have been spit on and doused with water, beer, and unknown liquids.

    A man had come up to us and said he was going to cut my throat and my friend’s throat. Some in the group were a bit on edge because of these things.

    We actually did have numerous civil conversations with people later that afternoon. One young woman admitted that she had been raped and now is in relationships with only women. I have heard many similar stories through the years and I real feel for her and the others. However, because someone did evil to us, we shouldn’t turn our back on God and in turn do evil in His sight.

  3. B

    Hi Jim, thanks for your comment.

    It was definitely an uncomfortable moment for me and at the time I was mainly concerned with your companion’s sense of privacy. I photograph people in public a lot and once in a while someone has a privacy concern, so I like to discuss that and make sure they understand why I’m photographing. Since he didn’t actually engage in the conversation I was trying to have, I did feel that he was trying to get a reaction from me, so I wrote what you see in the post and maybe that’s an overgeneralization. From your comment I’ll take that my experience wasn’t representational of your entire group.

    I’m very sorry that you’ve been threatened and assaulted, I absolutely do not think that’s appropriate. As I said in the post, I’m glad you are exercising your civic responsibility. From what I saw you had your own spot visible from the parade route but otherwise weren’t interfering with anyone. I think there is some common ground to be found here, as you probably know there have been many cases of homosexuals who have been threatened and assaulted (and murdered) simply for being who they are. If everyone realized that you’ve all gone through similar experiences it seems that this would help foster some goodwill. Anyway, I hope you also understand that those are the actions of individuals and don’t represent any group as a whole.

    I’m glad you opened some dialogue, though at the same time people in your group chose a day of another group’s celebration to stand on a corner and shout at them. I imagine you understand that this is naturally going to incite people, and I question if this is the best way to spread your message if that’s your true intention. Forgive me if I make an incorrect assumption here, but when people do something like that I assume they are trying to provoke a reaction, I think that’s a reasonable guess. As I said in the post, I think it would be ideal if your group had space to voice opinion without interfering, and everyone enjoying the festivities would simply not engage and let you be. Again, threats are inexcusable, and I hope your afternoon was without incident. Thanks for reading and for your comment.

  4. -S

    Well, if this isn’t a nice Oprah moment right there :)

    Jim: “you have to realize that we often have things thrown at us, we have been physically and verbally assaulted many times“. How nice of you to keep it calm. I guess I must have been hallucinating when a few seconds after I took this photo of you, you gave your sign and megaphone to a friend and asked this young guy if he wanted to fight. I was there, so was my gf, and my camera. What would have happened if you had been peacefully surrounded by these small girls holding signs around another lost cause in attendance. It boggles the mind that you actually wonder why you are being verbally assaulted considering how offensive your sign is, and not just because of its sheer stupidity. Oh well, you clowns are here every year, it’s part of the decor, civil rights move on and your contribution to society is still zero.

  5. Jim Deferio

    You are a LIAR, -S !

    I NEVER asked that 30-40-year old man if he wanted to fight. He was going to punch me on a couple of occasions but people nearby kept him from it. I told him that he would NEVER be acting violent toward me if we were alone.

    He then followed me to near Dunkin’ Donuts with the intent of punching me – he had a fist made, so I gave my megaphone and banner to another preacher and said, “That’s it!!! You and I right now, lets go 5 blocks away, just you and I together!” He asked if I was threatening him and I said “No! Did I ever say that I was going to hit you?”

    Get the story straight, you LIAR!

    I wanted this guy away from the crowd as it was obvious that having lots of his buddies around was emboldening him to assault me. I have NEVER hit anyone even after being punched and physically assaulted in other ways. I am there to give people the Gospel in their heart, not a punch in the head.

  6. -S

    Jim, this guy was alone, I walked behind him before and after for a bit, he stopped at a door step after your “altercation”, he was shaken. Maybe you are confused with, say, pretty much everybody else in the neighborhood who had nothing but contempt for you? He didn’t have a fist made in the photos I have before and after the one I’m linking. Basically what you are saying is “You and I, right now” is not asking for a fight? Really, Jim? You are are not asking yourself why you attracting violence either?

  7. Jim Deferio

    “He didn’t have a fist made in the photos..” proves NOTHING. That guy wasn’t shaken because he came up to me TWICE afterwards and then spat on my banner. He was a violent, intolerant, sodomite who twice was prevented from punching me by a few bystanders. “You and I, right now” agrees with my post above, it doesn’t change anything.

    I had been about 200 – 300 feet up the street toward the park when the 1st altercation took place. I then called a friend over and things settled down a bit but then intensified. I told Nick that we should leave and he thought I meant to head down to the corner and he left me alone. That emboldened this pervert and and at least a couple of others to block me and attempt to assault me. I pushed through and around them and made it to in front of Dunkin’ Donuts where this pervert folowed me with a fist made. This is when I gave my banner and megaphone to my friend. After this, the pervert, as I mentioned above, got in my face two more times and the last time he spat on my banner (which, btw, was a message to EVERYONE -“gay” or “straight” – that sex was intended by God ONLY for the marriage of one man plus one woman)

    Even though I wouldn’t have hit him, let me remind you that I am perfectly within my rights in this state to defend myself.

    You are intolerant and narrow-minded, not knowing the science about homosexuality, nor about some of the psychological and spiritual factors that play a role in “gay indentity”. I have talked with thousands of homosexuals over the years on many college campuses and at many homosexual events (I often attempt to go to the festivals to have discussions with homosexuals and their “allies” but in Albany I riding with this group). You appear CLUELESS about what really IS going on.

    Perhaps we could have coffee and lunch sometime at a coffee house in Albany and discuss some of these things. I have been to lunch with lesbians, atheists, etc. I used to be an atheist. I’ll buy… Bring some friends if you’d like.

    I personally know NUMEROUS EX-homosexuals.

  8. B

    Jim, thanks again for your comments. I think they speak for themselves, your hateful rhetoric is on full display here, I’m sure anyone reading can come to their own conclusions. Based on what you said in this last comment, I’m grateful that you’re in an extremely small minority that’s growing smaller every day. See you next year.

  9. Jim Deferio

    LOL
    So, I guess you two are narrow-minded and don’t care to discuss the science, theology and psychology of sexual immorality… Suit yourself. I was willing to drive to Albany and meet with you at a nice coffee house (if there are any in that city, that is).
    Take care.

    If you change your mind you can contact me at:
    GodDefinesLove-NotYou@live .com

  10. R

    Hey,

    I found your blog via Flickr and just wanted to say that this is an very interesting post, especially with this conversation going on in the comments. It’s nice to hear about pride activities in the US and get a more personal view on it.

    Personally, I never attended one but I guess someday I will since, of course, I’m proud of being what I am.

    Thanks for sharing all the great photos,
    R

  11. Jim Deferio

    I am AGAINST Ex-gay therapy, genius! I am not talking about “reformation” but “transformation”. Clinical psychology is pseudo-science and works about as well as a rap session.
    If you would like to criticize me, first learn my position so that you can do it in an informed way.

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