Today I spent a little bit of time at the PrideFest. I had no idea, but Denver has the third largest gay pride festival in the United States, with the seventh largest gay pride parade inthe United States. Apparently over the course of the weekend there are more than 300,000 visitors at the festival.
I'm generally shy when it comes to festivals, especially when it comes to big crowds. But the crowd at the PrideFest is pretty relaxed, which makes it easy to have a good time there. The event is put on by the Colorado Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Center, also known simply as The Center, and they do a really good job of making a fun, relaxed event.
I only spent a little time watching the parade. The most interesting part of the parade for me was the Denver Roller Dolls, who would stand back to let the float ahead of them get enough distance, then dash forward a ways on their skates. I also liked the float for Moab Pride, which was kind of like a big, wooden desert shack or building in a ghost town. The Denver Gay Men's Chorus had a float with a gigantic head of Elton John on the front of it. Pretty cool.
The crux of the PrideFest activities take place in the Civic Center Park, which is kind of like the Capitol Hill of Denver, with the Capitol building on one end and the Civic Center building on the other, and a long stretch of park in between. There are a few different concert areas set up in the park: one for Country music, one for Latino music, and one for the main events. Last year there was also another big area for kind of rave-like dance music. I didn't see that this year. But maybe I wasn't paying attention.
I spent a little time at the Latino area, listening to a DJ play and watching a few Latino guys dance on a checkerboard dance floor that was set up on the lawn. One of the guys was dressed up a little like a girl, with tight blue jeans and a form-fitting, shoulderless, yellow shirt. He had long hair and was skinny, and from behind, he looked like a girl. But his face was definitely boyish. I watched a girl start to hit on him,thinking he was a girl, then, seeing his face, apologize and run back to her friends, all flustered. There were some other, more glamorously done-up trannies hanging off to the side of the dance floor, kind of voluptuous-bodied, with long, curly wigs and lots of lovely makeup.
One tranny girl I saw running around throughout the park every now and then was really beautiful. She was tall and blonde and wore a really nice, yellow mini-skirt and enormous platform heels. She was probably my favorite tranny girl of the day. Even though I'm a short boy, I love tall girls -- regular or tranny -- and I was about to go up to her and tell her, "Hey! You're totally my type!"
One tranny girl I liked was dressed in some kind of orange costume and was on stilts. She had a long, green wig and wore a kind of babydoll skirt with pictures of oranges and green leafs all over it. She also had an umbrella with oranges and leaf designs all over it. And her stilts were covered up by white pants with a bell-bottom kind of style.
There was also a group of trannies who had painted faces and goatees. Each of them was dressed up in a different style, so that they looked kind of like a group of tranny superheroes. But the only one I really remember now was dressed in a furry costume from the neck down. Her arms and legs were coated in a coppery-brown, Chewbacca-like fur, and her torso was clad in a silver lamé bodysuit.
But I think my favorite tranny -- if she/he qualified as a tranny and not just as something different and cool altogether -- was dressed in a blue and white gingham dress like a sexy Alice in Wonderland dress for Halloween, striped tights or stockings, and super tall, rust-colored (I think?) platform heels. But the person also had a completely shaved head that was painted totally yellow and covered in a cylindrical mini-cage of black wire. It was like Bride of Pinhead from Hellraiser!
Lots of people were dressed up in tutus, as usual, although this year it seemed like the girls were mostly in tutus, not the guys. There were pink tutus, purple tutus, black tutus, and white tutus. Guys this year wore a lot of kilts. Very manly. One kilt was called (ugh...) the Utili-kilt. Spare me. I wanna see guys in tutus, just like the girls!
A lot of girls wore really tall stockings. Sometimes the stockings were rainbow colored. Other times they were pink, purple, etc. A lot of people wore rainbow-feathered wings, which seem to be pretty usual, too. Guys and girls wore the wings, though, which was nice. Another thing guys and girls both wore was tails: long, furry tails. Some of the tails were solid colored. But a lot of them were rainbow colored. One strange style I don't remember having seen before are these strange mock-dreads, which seem to be made out of a mesh-nylon tubing, sticking out of people's hair. I liked those a lot. I would have liked to see a more intense use of them.
There were some really beautiful men and women runnning around in their underwear. The men and women running around in their underwear had almost the same body types, too! Sleek, slim, smooth, toned, tan. Sexy -- the women and the men. And they were wearing the same kind of underwear, too, almost: black, tiny, pairs of underwear. One girl's underwear bottom was done up with square, mirrored sequins. Another girl's bottom had rainbow ruffles. The bottom of one guy's underwear said "I make this look good." Another girl was done up in black underwear, a black bodice, and black cat ears. There was another girl dressed up in skimpy underwear and cat ears. But I think her ears were some pastel color. She also wore a pastel purple shirt.
Two other girls were dressed up in cat ears, if I remember correctly. But they were a little more fully clothed, with white, mesh shirts and dark skirts or shorts, and maybe wearing black nylons. One of the girls was leading the other girl along on a leash. Both girls wore long wigs. And both girls wore knee-high, furry boots -- yet another furry trend at the fest. The girls wore white furry boots highlighted with color. One girl's boots were highlighted with a wine red. But I saw other girls with solid-colored boots -- blue sticks in my mind the most. And, of course, plenty of people were rocking the rainbow colored furry boots.
A unique rainbow idea I liked was beading for a bra. One girl wore a rainbow bra made out of plastic beads. I thought that was really cool.
A boy's style I liked was -- well -- these tall, skinny boys with perfect skin, skinny, bony, yet fine-featured faces, and blonde or pale-dye-colored hair. They'd wear sunglasses and skinny, sleeveless, pastel colored shirts. I look nothing like that. But I wish I could.
Despite a decent amount of trannies being present, there weren't many sissyish people at the parade. It was a little disappointing. A lot of the trannies were even wearing goatees. The only really pink-costumed person I saw was an actual girl. Too bad! But she looked cool. She was dressed in a punk-style, pink and black plaid, satiny, babydoll dress. She had short hair with sharp, low-sweeping bangs. Her hair was platinum blonde on the sides and pale pink on top.
To be honest with you, the party was only getting started as I was leaving. I watched a choir, possibly from Highline Church, sing a couple songs: "God Bless America" and a song about how people have come a long way for equality, but how the fight wasn't over yet.
The main organizer for the PrideFest got up on stage and gave a little pep talk for things, talking about how happy she was that gay people had won the right to civil unions, but how the next important step would be winning equality in marriage. That got a lot of people excited.
Then the organizer gave the stage to some of the people who organized the first PrideFest about 40 years ago. They presented The Center with the permit given by the City of Denver for holding the very first PrideFest and parade. The Center is going to put it on display in their building.
The organizer then brought out a bunch of politicians who were instrumental in getting the bill allowing civil unions for same-sex couples passed in Colorado. Some of the people are really famous in Colorado. Pat Stedman got a lot of cheers. But the guy I recognized the most was
Mark Ferrandino, the Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.
After that, there was a presentation by a transgender man. He was giving a little bit of a comedy routine. But by that time a big crowd was gathering all through Civic Center Park. And with the increased density of the crowd came an increased marijuana smell, which eventually becomes the pervasive smell in any big Denver gathering. So, wimp that I am, I decided to head out for the day.
I am a little afraid for the PrideFest. The Gay Pride parade in New York is just one gigantic mess. I can't stand it. I stopped going. I want the PrideFest in Denver to grow. But I hope that if it grows it doesn't turn into a big, snarling mess like in New York.
I also really wish there was some way they could enforce smoke-free -- and especially marijuana-smoke-free -- areas within the Fest. This would really have been beneficial for this year's Fest, as the focus was on the family (ugh... when I heard the organizer say that, a Dobsonian shiver went down my spine...). Do you want your children to die of cancer, or to go home smelling like... um... Otto's jacket? No? Then let's have some smoke-free event areas next year.
The last thing I hope for is some kind of attention on other communities, such as the adult baby community and other kinds of fetish communities. But that's just me. I love fetish, I love the artifice of fetish. Transvestism and transgendrism seem to be losing the old fashion flair that maybe some of the more taboo fetishes, like ABDL, can pick back up. Maybe that's why there were so many furry-themed fashions this year.
But I'm sitting here talking about flair. Well, crap! I need to practice what I preach! I dressed so boring this year! Just my regular, old self! I might as well have been going to work! I have vowed for next year to really deck myself out, make myself colorful. I'm looking forward to it!