June 21, 2012
To the editor:
“I don’t understand why they are having Pride at Power & Light. That area is for the straights.”
This is just one of the many negative comments I heard before going into my first Kansas City Pride Festival last month. I moved here from Honolulu and I’ve taken part in many Pride Festivals over the years.
I was excited to see what Kansas City had been planning for its 2012 celebration of Gay Pride.
Although the negative comments seemed to be more numerous than the positive, I decided to form an opinion for myself and experience the “Power of Pride.” With my 2012 VIP Pass purchased and the blessing of a good hair day, I strutted downtown to see what the fuss was all about.
Venues that have hosted Pride Festivals that I’ve attended in the past often have segregated the gay community from the rest of the general public, or “the straights.” But not this celebration. This celebration was different, and I truly feel the Power & Light complex was the perfect spot not only to celebrate pride in ourselves, but also to share it with our straight friends and family.
I saw restaurants, bars and clubs described as having a more “straight” demographic that showed support by graciously hosting and wearing rainbow. Our bartenders in the VIP area, Elliott and Kyla, unfortunately straight, were both easy on the eyes and welcomed the flirtatious banter from all their admirers. At one point I asked both Elliott and Kyla whether they truly supported the celebration, and without hesitation, they answered, “Of course.”
When it was time to go, instead of offering a handshake, Elliott opened his arms and said, “How about a bear hug?”
There was an acceptance that night from our straight peers that is often overlooked. I believe that night the public saw us for who we really are, with love, happiness and acceptance.
So, Pride wasn’t held in a park where we can feel free and safe to be who we are, away from any place of rejection or ridicule. Instead, it was held at the center of where everyone, gay or straight, could
take part in the “Power of Pride.”