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San Diego Pride

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Ryland Whittington and his parents meet Laverne Cox at the San Diego Pride Rally | PHOTO: ANA PINES

The city was enveloped with rainbows in celebration of San Diego Pride’s 40th anniversary. The three-day celebration kicked off with a wonderful speech by keynote speaker Laverne Cox. The critically acclaimed actress currently appears in the Netflix original series Orange is the New Black, playing Sophia Burset, an incarcerated African American transgender woman. Laverne is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted TV show. She’s the first out transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy. She recently graced the cover of Time magazine and her character Sophia Burset was named by the magazine as the 4th most influential fictional character of 2013. Laverne has taken her empowering message of moving beyond gender expectations to live more authentically all over the country.

The crowd was moved by surprise guest Ryland Whittington and his parents. At the age of one it was discovered that Ryland was deaf. His parents looked into cochlear implants, which helped him hear and start to speak. According to them one of his first sentences was, “I am a boy”. He insisted that he was a boy and asked why God had made him that way. His parents listened to him and are letting him be free to be himself.

We enjoyed the parade on Saturday and all the supporters that came out to cheer the floats by. There were a few people with signs for “free hugs” and many willing participants. The mix of businesses, politicians, schools and non-profit organizations goes to show how far we’ve come. As the parade ended many made their way toward Balboa Park for the festival. This year’s festival was $20 for the entertainment packed weekend.

One of the new booth’s this year was NASA’s destination station. This was the first Pride they’ve attended in the nation. We were able to walk through and learn about their programs as well as touch a moon rock. Upon exiting there was an astronaut suit setup for photos. This July marks the 45th anniversary of the epic Apollo 11 flight that landed the first humans on the moon and safely returned them to Earth. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched from Florida July 16, 1969 and landed on the lunar surface July 20.


The festival closed out with Charice, this year’s Voice of Pride winner, Niko Jaquez and Deborah Cox. Charice spoke to the audience about feeling the freedom of finally being able to be who she is. She told the audience, “I’m Charice. I was discovered on YouTube. I was on Glee. June 2, 2013, I came out. It was always amazing performing then but today performing, like my real self, in front of you guys, it’s the best performance ever.”

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Posted by on Jul 24, 2014. Filed under Scene Out. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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