Chico Shows Their Gay Pride in Pioneer Day ParadeChico Pride

By Gary V. Sereno-Regis
May 5, 2010 became a special day in my life as 15 of us marched the streets of Chico in support the LGTBQ community. It was a public statement and one that was very visible.

A few months ago, when the Chico Pride Fest's Board of Directors was first discussing marching in the Chico Pioneer Day's Parade, I was skeptical that any community members would march with us. Still, I dutifully sent out the invitations for everyone to come to the parade and either join us, or show up in support. As the day of the parade grew near, the excitement of the preparations was so contagious that, I experienced a flush of feelings that I hadn't experienced since I marched in my first Pride Parade in San Francisco in 1978. I was excited that in my own area, where I grew up, where I went to college, where I first came out, I was going to be free to express to everyone, who I am.

Still it was a little difficult. After all, it is where I am known, have family and work. And I would be seen, by who knows whom, where it might get around, or even be dangerous (silly me!) So it was with some minor trepidation that I lined up with the others at our designated spot in preparation to march the streets of Chico.Chico pride

As we moved along to where the streets were lined with crowds of people, my fear suddenly melted as the crowds applauded us as we passed. I was so shocked, I actually yelled out, "Thank you!" to the faceless individuals who showed us their support.

All along the route we heard shouts of support, applause and even laughter as we yelled, "We're here! We're Queer! We're Pioneers!"

Two times! Only two times along the blocks of people lined streets, did we hear anything derogatory, and both times it was completely ignored by the crowd as they continued their cheering.

My only regret is that there were only fifteen of us. The experience was so rewarding and so enriching, I feel sorry for those that missed out. But have no fear. We already have plans for next year including a gaily decorated vehicle with music playing, our pets in colorful (gay) outfits, and long poles with long rainbow streamers to really make an impact on the crowd.

I really hope more will join us then. Until then, join us at Chico Pride on June 5.

Gary V. Sereno-Regis is a Board Member of Chico Pride Fest

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