Your Guide to Pride 2022
PALM SPRINGS — Even the palm trees were sashaying this weekend as the 35th Greater Palm Springs Pride Festival liberated the city from the doldrums of a pandemic that, while not exactly over, has certainly ended. felt that way, at least for a weekend.
Everything Pride and all of Palm Springs — literally everything — the pandemic had stolen from us was on full display, but with an added twist: It was the first large-scale celebration of Pride in California since January 2020 and people were ready to to celebrate. Last year’s event was held virtually on Facebook.
Thousands and thousands of people from all walks of life, mostly without masks, swarmed the city for three days from end to end, something that seemed unimaginable just a few weeks ago.
Dan Bertin, 87, wiped away a tear when the Los Angeles Blade asked him why he decided to attend Palm Springs Pride. “I hung up on the phone this morning with my son in London, he’s gay like me, he laughs, and he told me that her husband and my newborn grandson will be arriving on a flight from Paris Friday next week. I’m so happy, I just had to celebrate.
Lydia, mother of Stanton, 9, says her son insisted they attend the Festival on Sunday. Mom told The Blade, “at this point he says he’s gay, so I thought he should see this.” Stanton, who wore a mask since he is not vaccinated, said he knew he was not alone but had no idea there were so many like him. Pointing to other passing children, he said, “Look, they’re like me.” His mother corrected him. “Don’t make assumptions about people, Stanton. He laughed and rushed into the bouncy house the festival organizers had set up for the children, and his mother followed him. “I couldn’t sit on this one, so we came from the border today. I’m so proud to be his mom. Stanton, she said, was born Stacy.
Tammy Green said the event was her first public event since Covid. “I’m so tired of all this isolation that I could scream. I’m fully vaccinated and ready for some loving, so if you know any hot dykes you can hook me up with, I also waxed just for Pride baby!”
Joel Stern and husband Randall arrived from Seattle: ‘We love Palm Springs and we love Pride, so when we found cheap airfare on Alaska from Seattle to Palm Springs during Pride week, we jumped said Joel. “Yeah, that bitch forgot to book a hotel room,” Randall snapped. “So I splurged him on $1200 a night AirBnB and we have a mansion with a pool and we’re going home now!”
John W, a homeless and disabled Transman who only has one arm, said he lives in Palm Springs. He misted his eyes as he stroked Cody, the dog of Arturo Jimenez and his partner, LA Blade publisher Troy Masters, saying, “I can’t have a dog but I love them. I have too much PTSD and can barely take care of myself. But today at Pride, surrounded by people willing to talk to me, I feel free and even sudden loud noises don’t trigger me.
New York’s Scott E. says he met a “dad” on Grinder who invited him to Palm Spring Pride after a series of X-rated photos. “Honey, I booked this ticket and here I am, but he wasn’t It’s okay, he said, smiling and gesturing towards an older man, “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
Evan Caplan, who visited Palm Springs Pride from Washington, DC, said, “Palm Springs Pride was a chance to get away from it all in DC and enjoy the weather, the festivities, and meet all kinds of different people. It was a magical escape to party in the streets and feel welcomed by everyone in the city. It was also a reaffirmation of the spirit of the gay community coming together after a difficult and challenging year,” he added.
Tracy S. came from Nashville. The 32-year-old PR agent said he was out during the pandemic and was too shy to attend Nashville’s Pride event, so he hopped on a Southwest flight “which doesn’t costs almost nothing” for his first trip to the desert or to SoCal. “I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same,” he said.
Robin Tyler, the 79-year-old lesbian activist and comedian based in Los Angeles, took to the main stage of the event on Friday night and demolished the house. His favorite joke of the evening: “I met a man in Palm Springs who said he was from Texas. Texas, where men ARE men and women are nothing. Right-wing courts there believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth!
The parade kicked off on Palm Canyon Drive on Sunday, slowly making its way to the Pride Festival entrance on Amado Road where thousands of smiling people, some still waving flags and their parade signage, drag queens decked out galore, young and old, dad and puppies, lined the parade route. Dozens of floats, jumping to deafening music with writhing go-go boys and a few quieter offerings passed by as merchants hawked their wares.
Mary Rostow and his wife June watched the parade go by, greeting old friends.
“I see people I haven’t seen in years and it makes my heart sing,” Mary said. “We don’t have that much pride anymore and it really means a lot to me that they put this together. June, who wore a mask that read ‘Vaxed’ said ‘We really have a lot to celebrate’
Members of the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles (America’s premier choir comprised of transgender, non-binary, intersex, gender nonconforming, and gender fluid individuals) performed “More Friends Than You Know,” a moving song about diversity and acceptance and empowerment after marching in the parade.
Alan Uphold, a former Chorus board member who recently moved to Palm Springs from Los Angeles with her husband Jeff Olde, was moved to tears by their performance, said the song “grabs me every time” .
Many other local businesses and organizations were also present in the parade; a group from Planned Parenthood received loud cheers as they passed, while Wang’s in the Desert, a popular Pan-Asian restaurant in Palm Springs, mounted a red and yellow dragon’s head on the back of a truck. Men in leather sold drink specials outside downtown bars, and hundreds watched the event while eating on restaurant terraces.
Around the approximately 200 booths, the glow on people’s faces told the real story.
“We have 4 memorabilia bags including the Los Angeles Blade,” said Drexel Simpson of Phoenix. “This is our first trip since Covid and there’s just no way to tell you how liberating it is to hang out with people, without a mask, hug old friends, talk to them. kiss like old times and get back to normal. It’s like Covid Liberation Pride. And I hope the world will follow.