By Lissandra Dyer
With themes of free love to represent the community and flowers to represent the Flower City, Pride-goers experienced life free to be their authentic selves at ROC Pride’s “Summer of Love” on July 15 and 16.
Australian DJ Ray Isaac, musical guest at the ROC Pride Festival, wrote “We Stand United” to build strength for the community after the Orlando tragedy. Isaac joined Rochester’s LGBTQ community at Cobbs Park Hill on July 15 to sing pop hits and “We Stand United.”
More than a year has passed after the tragedy that befell Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. on June 12, 2016. But the LGBT community still comes out to events like Rochester’s “Summer of Love” Pride Festival to openly be themselves and to connect with each other.
Isaac’s song is about recovery and moving past awful events together as a community. The song’s chorus said, “Sending Prayers of Hope/ We’re stronger than what they know/ We Stand United.”
Before Isaac started the song, he handed out streamers for the audience to wave while he performed.
Christa, 41, of Medina, said that Pride to her means “Being together, happy.” She and her partner Melissa traveled from Medina to experience Pride together with their child.
The Festival included food trucks offering options from empanadas to poutine. Booths sold pride flags for gay, trans, bisexual, and asexual community members, and the main stage held musical guests and drag performances. More performances, including a presentation for the Deaf community, took place on the Garden stage.
Holly, 24, of Rochester, marched with drag king troupe Boyz Night Out in the pride parade before the festival. Holly spent the pride festival with her dog, part mini-pincher, part chihuahua named Cocoa. He was sporting a gay flag as a cape. Holly said Pride to her means being able to have fun and “being able to live how you want.”
Another Rochester resident, Kabarr Liz, 27, was clad in drag makeup and enjoyed the music at the main stage. She said that Pride is “celebrating the fact that we’re able to be open.” The festival was her favorite Pride event.
Frank, 43, of Rochester, and his husband Michael enjoyed their first Pride event this year at the Festival. Together these Rochester Institute of Technology alums walked the grounds holding hands and wearing “Utilikilts,” which were kilts with pockets.