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Everyone Loves a Parade This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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No matter how much of it I encounter in my life, I will never get tired of glitter.

Yes, even as parade float upon parade floated rolls down the street, each decorated more gaudily that the next, the shining specks of multicolored... something always appeared pleasing to my eye.

I made my way through the crowded sidewalks, trailing behind my mother and her girlfriend as we sought out a place to sit and enjoy the festivities. My sister followed behind us, grumbling quietly to herself about the oppressive heat. My mom just laughed and told her to brighten up and take a seat. Gay Pride only happens once a year, you know.

The parade is an exercise in exuberance. While some may look at it and see the celebrations as excessive or egoistic, I see it as a liberating. These parades are the gay community coming out of their proverbial closets and getting themselves noticed for who they truly are. Everything there is meant to be seen and heard. Confetti and glitter and music and chanting, one giant celebration of the fact that we're here, we're queer, and there not a damn thing you can do about it.

In the atmosphere of joy and acceptance, the picket signs seemed out of place, almost anachronistic. Their presence there was small, a group of twenty or so sour-faced senior citizens glaring reproachfully at the prideful masses. But they were there, a cold reminder that, to some, gays and lesbians are less than equal. Less than human. Even so, the party continued unabated. As I watched the group from the corner of my eye, I noticed that I was the only one doing so. Nearly everyone else in attendance paid the protesters no heed. Even in the face of direct adversity, these brave people did not falter. Even in this one little battle, love triumphed over hate.

I've always felt at home among the gay community. Somewhere amongst the dancers, day drinkers and drag queens, there's a sincere passion, a love of life that resonates with me. It's that honesty and self-respect that I take to heart. Seeing how hard people fight to affect change motivates me to take actions of my own. And true change comes from the inside out. It's when people can accept themselves that others can learn to accept them, too. Hopefully one day, this pride can come from a place of equality instead of discrimination. Until then, we'll wear our glitter proudly, and show the world just what we're made of.



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