I attended Bisbee Pride with my son and husband for the second time this past weekend and it was just as wonderful as the first trip. We were worried about the rain in the forecast. But it didn’t rain on our parade, literally. It drizzled a little Friday night, but come parade time Saturday morning, the rain stopped and the crowds came out to celebrate and have fun and the beautiful weather remained for the rest of the weekend.
Here’s what I love about Bisbee Pride: it’s not a big fenced-in event where you have to purchase a wristband to enter and you’re crowded into a dusty urban park with tens-of-thousands of other Pride-goers. Don’t get me wrong, the crowds at Phoenix and Tucson Pride are some of the happiest, liveliest and most courteous partiers you could ever revel with. But imagine it toned down just a little, with events spread over the coolest venues in a quirky small town known for its live music, awesome bars and a counterculture vibe and you’ve got a recipe for an awesome Pride. I also noticed there was a wider age range represented at Bisbee Pride, as well as representation from a couple of other groups within the LGBTQ community; the bisexual and transgender flags were flown at Contessa’s Cantina alongside the traditional rainbow flag, and a handful of shirts, flags and costumes representing those groups and others were also visible in the parade. It’s a sign that people feel comfortable owning and expressing their unique sexual and gender identities, which is exactly as it should be, especially during a Pride weekend. It was entertaining, educational and fun to see all of these colorful, creative people come out in droves to party, march and support one another.
Bisbee Pride also has a handful of unique attractions I haven't seen elsewhere. For instance, the "coming out closet." Many LGBTQ+ people enjoy sharing their “coming out” stories, not only because it can be very cathartic, but it represents a monumental shift in their life. Coming out stories can be funny, unusual, emotionally moving and sometimes (unfortunately) very sad. This year, the organizers of Bisbee Pride built an actual “closest” where attendees could share their coming out stories, painted with colorful murals by artist Monti Eaton. And this year, #bisbee4fun placed a giant rainbow-painted Adirondack chair across from the Mine Museum, which was very popular for pictures.
When we attended Bisbee Pride two years ago, I published an article then on what it’s like to attend as a family. I got a lot of positive feedback. Since then, we’ve attended several other Pride celebrations and I can tell you I get a lot of high-fives for being the cool and supportive mom, no matter where we go. I always have a blast and I think more parents should do it, if for no other reason than to understand the culture in which your kids are growing up and their attitude toward it. I have a colorful family that is very representative of the LGBTQ community, including my son Brian who is gay. He’s the whole reason we attended Bisbee Pride in the first place. My life has been completely enriched by sharing these memories with him. And now that I understand the history of the Pride marches, I’m also honored to witness Pride at this moment in time and reflect on how far our society has come - and how far we have to go.
From all of us at My Local News, Happy Pride Month!
Need a place to stay in Bisbee? Check for availability at bisbee4fun.com. There, you can find a handful of great Airbnb rentals at a reasonable price. It’s also where people can view and post photos to #bisbee4fun, including a bunch of great photos from Bisbee Pride.