by Troy Williams
Happy Pride! It was an amazing weekend filled with awesome people and fantastic events. And I’m just now starting to recover from everything. I want to extend a big thanks to Roseanne Barr for being our Grand Marshal this year. She brought her new Lifetime reality TV series home to SLC to document the festivities. It was a wild ride all weekend. Roseanne told the Salt Lake Tribune that she was thrilled to be here and “come home and see Salt Lake City the way I always hoped it would be.”
The home she returned to just hosted the largest Pride festival in Utah history. And now our annual parade is beginning to rival the Days of 47 Mormon parade. We’re taking over! Think about it! Two years ago Utah poured millions of dollars into California to pass Proposition 8. Now the streets of Salt Lake are gushing over with gays! It was an emotional experience driving Roseanne through the parade route. There were thousands of people packed in the street cheering as we drove by. There was so much positive energy filling the streets. Wow! If we can continue to harness this joy and resolve into a stronger, better organized political force we will be unstoppable. That day is coming folks! We can see it! The hard fruits of everybody’s labor is beginning to pay off.
I was also honored to open for Roseanne during a political rally on the Main Stage. She was on fire! Holy Hell! All I can say is, “MIND YOUR OWN GODDAMN BUSINESS!” Looking out into the crowd was again truly awesome. There was a sea of packed people cheering us on as we spoke about the importance of social justice. I often get discouraged about the world. But being amongst so many vibrant people was truly uplifting. It left me with a feeling of possibility.
(thanks to Tamara Schwarting for snapping these photos. Roseanne and I look like we are competing on American Idol!)
Other highlights of the weekend was a coffee date with Rick Jacobs from the Courage Campaign. They are doing great work – empowering people to share their stories and to be more politically engaged. And most importantly providing tools to help people plug into the broader work. I’ll be interviewing him later in the week on RadioActive.
It was also great to meet Ben Barr for the first time. His work truly laid a solid foundation for HIV prevention and advocacy work here in Utah. Being with his family this weekend was a blast.
But I’ll tell ya – I’ve been totally wiped out the past few days. All the heat, the fun, the pride and the booze wears on ya! But it was all worth it. Just to feel the excitement and joy exploding through the streets of Salt Lake City. I love this town. And I love this work.
What’s coming up next this summer? The Damn These Heels LGBT Film Festival. The Tabloid premiere. The Lifetime premiere of Roseanne’s Nuts and much more! Thank the goddess the sun is shining at last!
(thanks as always to David Newkirk for the additional photos. And thanks to James, Shannon, Josh (Lee), Josh (Moon), Matthew, Kent, Valerie, Helen and Johnny for all of their help and encouragement this weekend! mwah!)