Initiated as small, defiant, sexually daring protests, gay pride parades have become mainstream spectacles patronized by corporate sponsors and straight politicians as they spread nationwide. For many gays, who prize the events’ edginess, the shift is unwelcome — as evidenced by bitter debate preceding Sunday’s parade in Dallas.
One group with a keen interest in the debate is Family Equality Council, which represents families in which the parents are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
The group’s executive director, Gabriel Blau, says he and his husband marched earlier this year in New York City’s pride parade with their 5-year-old son — even though there were parts of the parade they considered too risque for him to see.
Blau described the debate in Dallas and other cities as “a healthy conversation” and said Family Equality Council encouraged parade organizers to keep children in mind as they orchestrate their events.
“We are not a family-values organization that’s going to say what children should and shouldn’t see,” he said. “But we’ve been working with pride celebrations to create family-friendly spaces, so that the whole community can participate.”
These areas might include a “bouncy castle” or kid-oriented entertainers, Blau said.