(Editor's note: Oceanside Freedom Days Parade is Saturday, June 30. Max Disposti invites San Diegans to march with his group, meeting up at 9 am across the street from the 101 Cafe in Oceanside, 631 South Coast Highway.)
For many years, the Oceanside Freedom Days Parade has attracted thousands of participants throughout North San Diego County. In this occasion City officials, a variety of military ranks from Camp Pendleton and many other local organizations march with their colorful contingents and musical bands for the Fourth of July festivities. The parade supports our local military troops as well as their families.
In 2009 and for the first time, a contingent of LGBT individuals participated with visibility and forced the conversation over the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” on the first page of the North County Times. The North County LGBTQ Resource Center – during that time known as the North County LGBT Coalition – overcame the controversy of an open LGBT civilian and military contingent in a well-known conservative town and County. Not at easy thing to do, considering that we had no support from any of our local elected officials.
Ever since, our participation at the parade has grown immensely along with the support of the many local residents who often applaud and cheer our presence. While the historical significance of a service member contingent within our San Diego Pride parade is certainly a reason to celebrate, the presence of a LGBT float in a city and military parade is perhaps even more so, being practically impossible to imagine just few years ago.
Read Max's full column in Gay San Diego, a SDGLN media partner, HERE.