Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Denver on June 18th and 19th to celebrate the 2016 Denver Pridefest. The event, which is one of the largest Pride gatherings in the country, featured two days of music, performances and events to honor those killed earlier in the month at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
An estimated 2,000 people took part in the parade parade through town to Civic Center Park on Sunday with hundreds of supporters lining the sidewalks.
One of the floats was peopled by Denver Bisexuals and Pansexuals in support bisexual and pansexual representation at Denver Pridefest 2016.
A member of Denver Bisexuals and Pansexuals told KGNU’s Karen Raforth that the float was an effort to have bisexuals acknowledged in the wider LGBTQ community. “Last year when we went to the parade there was basically no bisexual representation even though the B is in LGBT and we decided to change that…We’re actually something close to 52 percent of the community, just not really represented at all.”
Denver’s Rainbow Alley youth leaders Aden and Zander spoke of the need to have a safe space for LGBTQ youth particularly in the wake of the Orlando shootings. “I feel the youth have been scared, and it is something it is okay to be scared about, but they respond by finding community and they aren’t letting it force them back into the closet.”
US Congressman Jared Polis has marched in the Pride parade several times in recent years, but he says that it was even more important to march in the 2016 parade following the Orlando shootings. “It’s very important for the LGBT community and our allies to show solidarity with the victims and to put on a very good and successful Pride here in Denver this weekend.”
Polis has called for the relaxing of restrictions on gay and bisexual men donating blood in the aftermath of the Orlando shootings.
“It’s a very discriminatory FDA regulation that doesn’t allow gay men to donate blood. Polis has “first of all the blood is all tested for any STDs but second of all we all know that risk factors include unprotected sex and IV drug use, they don’t simply include being gay. You could be gay in a monogamous and married relationship and your risk factor wouldn’t be any higher than a straight person in a married relationship. So these are really outdated provisions, they pre-date marriage, they pre-date the equality movement but it’s still a stigma on somehow the blood of gay people somehow isn’t as good as the blood of straight people and we all saw when the blood of 49 gay people spilled in Orlando, that’s American blood first and foremost and our blood is good enough for anybody.”