UUSM Marches in LA Pride Parade 2023

It was a mercifully cool and shady day for the two-mile march along Hollywood Boulevard. We arrived around 10:00 AM, as we were instructed to do. The parade was to begin at 11:00 AM; however, we were group number 118. On a day so full of joy and celebration and happy chaos, you can imagine how long it took for things to start moving; we didn’t get going for about two hours.

So we had lots of time to decorate the truck and don our multi-colored scarves and capes and hats and beads and flags — oh, how many flags!

Speaking of hats: Hats off to James Witker, who organized us, rented the truck, conferred with the parade organizers, set up our communication network, made sure we all had rides, and generally connected all the dots.

Most of us  – Linda, Janet, Norb, Rima, Kate, Carol Lim, Aubrey, Cindy, Deirdre, Karl – walked in front of the truck while James drove.

Meanwhile, Chela stood high in the back of the truck conveying a UU defining message: Creating Justice…

…and Cassie took to the crowd – without, and then with, megaphone – proclaiming to the bystanders that if you believe in social justice and LGBTQ+ rights, you will be right at home at UUSM.

Many folks asked for selfies, especially in front of our main banner. Many expressed surprise to learn that our church has been marrying gay and lesbian people since 1959.

It was kind of hard to compete with the Universal Studios folks behind us, with their massive serpentine balloon-wings!

Instead, we offered something clever, nuanced.

This year, unlike other Gay Pride parades that I remember from the past, the event took place in Hollywood, rather than WeHo, which gave it a slightly more populist feel. There were also more younger people than I remember from before, and trans rights messages were prominent everywhere, including on our truck.

At moments like this, in circumstances like these, I feel especially proud to belong to the UU faith. I recall a much earlier Gay Pride parade, some twenty or more years ago, when Pat McGuire offered up his bright yellow Mustang convertible, and drove Maggie and Ernie Pipes through West Hollywood — Ernie, the man, the minister who did what we are now celebrated for: performing a gay wedding in 1959.

Karl Lisovsky
on behalf of Faith in Action