Northern Nevada’s Pride celebration – held in July to coincide with the annual Artown event – on Saturday drew thousands of attendees, participants, performers and supporters.
“I’m here to support my son,” a woman watching the morning parade said as to why she attended the event.
The downtown Reno parade started just after 10 a.m. and went to nearly 11:30 a.m. while the festival part of the celebration started at Wingfield Park at 11 a.m.
Smiles were aplenty. While the celebration is focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) acceptance, many were there to support their friends and family members.
It’s also a brand-building event. Several software and large tech companies, banks, car dealerships and law enforcement were in abundance.
Some of the same groups that have been embroiled in controversy over lack of LGBTQ acceptance – or historical violence and hostility toward queers – were in attendance.
“Police have a long history of targeting queer spaces and criminalizing LGBTQ people,” an article from the Urban Institute notes.
The 1969 raid and beatings by police of the Stonewall Inn in New York City – at which people fought back – marked a more open reckoning of police violence, and generalized hostility, against LGBTQ communities. The first Pride parade took place the following year to mark the Stonewall riots.
“Today, even with major advancements in LGBTQ rights, police still regularly discriminate against LGBTQ people. During recent demonstrations against police brutality, activists have documented targeted police violence against queer spaces acting as medic stops for protesters,” Urban continues.
A Sparks Police officer in 2020 was revealed to have a Twitter account regularly making fun of, and ridiculing, leftist causes, including a tweet bashing a transgender activist.
At Reno Pride, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office SWAT vehicle cruised down Virginia Street while sheriff’s office personnel handed out candy to participants.
Jabs at “rainbow capitalism” were also evident. That’s the critique of capitalist infusions into queer communities whereby companies market to the LGBTQ communities to advance business interests and profits.
An example: One banner at the Reno parade was simply a hiring pitch adorned with rainbow colors.
The counterargument: Social acceptance of the LGBTQ community should happen everywhere.
Progressives and Democrats running for office, or reelection, were seen all over downtown. Notably absent were Republican candidates.
Disagreements aside, Pride is above all a celebration, and few Reno events generate so much positive energy. Hugs, smiles and wishes for a “happy Pride” were on full display.