Pride 2019

For the month of June, Philadelphia has special events throughout the month. However, the weekend leading up to 10 June, Philadelphia always hosts a block party and parade; with a weekend full of other LGBTQA events.

Last Friday (7 June), I decided to attend the block party. I enjoyed the decor and had to get my photo underneath the pink flags at one of the bars. I had fun posing with the flags and chatting with the others that were nearby, doing the same thing.

I decided to walk some more and see what else I could participate in.The mechanical shark was back, however, since the Wraith was still healing, I didn’t want to chance the mechanical shark. I saw Philadelphia Union was in attendance and sponsoring a community soccer tournament. As I was walking over to sign up, I saw a man walking around with a sign promoting free tickets to the Pride Festival on Sunday. I was curious and inquired.

He walked me over to the van and they were giving free HIV tests. I’m asexual and while after my assault I was free and clear, since Brandon died, I was always paranoid. I wasn’t tested six months after what he did to me, I was tested twice within the month and a half between the assault and college graduation. I wanted a peace of mind since I am trying to emigrate to Canada.

I had an hour wait, but when it was my turn, I took a deep breath and the counselor introduced himself. I told him my store, he pricked my finger, told me I was negative, handed me the bracelet to get into the Pride Festival, and handed me a card for counseling at the William Way Center. They specialize in therapy for the LGBTQA community, especially surrounding assault and corrective rape. It felt good to be listened to and validated; I have to call. Actually, after what happened to me, and while it didn’t happen on campus, I still reported it to campus police since people attend where it happened. I was set up with services at the university and someone connected with the LGBTQA community at WCU was also involved with counseling services. I felt safe, accepted, and understood. I was glad to be an ally in college and was glad to help others, but I have always found that the community has helped me too. It’s hard to put the feelings into words, but it’s another group I’ve felt acceptance in.

I didn’t get a chance to sign up for the soccer tournament after my test, but I enjoyed watching the others play. I did get to dance a little, but since I was starving and there wasn’t much gluten-free at the block party, I headed home. I was super excited for the Pride parade and festival on Sunday.


PRIDE! Sunday, 9 June 2019. I headed to the city early to enjoy the pre-parade festivities in the Gaybourhood. I love seeing the pre-parade festivities and this year was no different. Some of the businesses allowed me to photograph their employees getting ready for the parade and I captured a lot of joy. I also caught up with Lyft and one of the workers glittered me. That was fun and he agreed to a selfie too! I saw others glitter others, but I received more glitter from the actual parade. I also bought a Pride flag and wrapped myself in it.

Philly’s Pride parade was beautiful and very special. I still feel verklempt about the love and acceptance that was present. I am thankful more people are opened to the fact that everyone is different, but love is love. Human unconditional love is still the same regardless of the gender you are attracted to. We all need unconditional love. Momma Bears were also there; they each held signs saying, “Free Mom Hugs.” I gave one of the moms a big bear hug and it was so nice to see these moms giving hugs to people as they walked the parade route.

Oh! Gritty made an appearance and as I was waving goodbye to Gritty, I heard my name being called. I looked over and saw Evan, a guy I graduated high school with. I haven’t seen him in 11 years (almost 11 years to the day, we graduated from high school on 10 June 2008), he saw me in the crowd and ran over to me to give me a hug and t-shirt. He was working with the Flyers organization. It was so nice to see him and a total surprise!

The parade ended at one, but I needed to eat before the festival. I have learned that many festivals aren’t accomodating to those with food sensitivities, so I had a GF pizza lunch at Barra Rosa. After I finished, I decided to walk the 9 blocks to Penn’s Landing, where the festival was held.

On the way there, I saw a gay couple take photos with their Pride flag blowing behind them. I thought it was clever and after they were done, I walked over to them. I asked if they could get two of me. One of just me with the flag blowing behind me, and a creative one with the Wraith. I also met Armand and his partner, and Armand agreed to a fun photo with me. I wrapped him in my pride flag and we took a really nice picture together. I gave him, his partner, and the one who took my photo big hugs and wished them all a Happy Pride.

The Pride festival was just as amazing. I saw David Herrera perform and a Gloria Gaynor impersonator. I loved the Gloria Gaynor impersonator, she was fun! The crowd loved all of the performances. I decided to walk around a bit and met The Philadelphia Gay Men’s Choir. They were a joy to talk to and I’m going to their performance next week.

I decided to continue on to find some shade. Once I found shade, I also met Jim and Dylan. Dylan is a drag queen and he is just too much fun. He agreed to a photo with me and then also agreed to some solo photos. I asked him for his e-mail address and I ended up sending him the photos. Both Jim and Dylan were a blast to chat with.

I also had my picture taken in front of the Pride wall. I am going to make a scrapbook page titled “Tattooed with Pride” and add these two photos:

There are way too many photos to post to this blog, I took 400 photos last weekend. I want to share the album with you all: Pride 2019: 50 Years Beyond Stonewall | Vibrant and Loud

Happy Pride! All are welcomed to my blog and community; love is love. We all deserve to be treated with dignity and kindness.

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Creator of the Happiness Box Project Initiative, a project where you write your happiness or gratitude each day, then open the box in the New Year. The Initiative is to teach joy and gratitude, to pass it on to others.

One thought on “Pride 2019”

  1. Hi, Jessica Marie!

    I am proud of you for attending the LGBTQA block party, Pride parade and festival in Philly, dear friend! Actually I was not aware that the “A” for “asexual” persons has been added. I learned something new today. Mrs. Shady and I happened to be vacationing in Key West in early June, 2005, and witnessed the Pride parade and related events down there.

    I think it was wise of you not to risk harming your Wraith tattoo by riding the mechanical shark. It was courageous of you to get the HIV test and I am very thankful that it came back negative. Now you have peace of mind. I am also happy to know you found a support network that enabled you to feel safe, accepted and understood. Unconditional love is the highest form, in my opinion. I’m glad you reconnected with your classmate Evan after 11 years.

    You enjoyed some exciting performers, met some fascinating people, made new friends, spent the weekend immersed in love and acceptance and have a huge collection of pictures to show for it. I am very happy for you.

    Have a wonderful week, dear friend JM!


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