Why We March
These days we can perform powerful advocacy via our computers and telephones, such as writing letters and calling our elected officials. But we still need to reach out to the public and participate in civic and community events that bring attention to our fight for equality. So we march in various local events. Here are some reasons why:
- We put a human face on the issue. Numerous studies show that when we get to know an LGBTQ person and their story, it can significantly impact our view of the policies and laws that impact equality. As more LGBTQ people and allies live out loud, we increase the number of voters who feel connected to us and our issues.
- We become part of visible and normal life. When we participate openly and proudly in public events, we normalize our presence in every day life, reduce stigma, and create space for other people to also be more open.
- We send a message of hope to others. Some of us are closeted and struggling with our sexual and gender identify. Some of us are out but lack affirmation and support. When LGBTQ people and allies march together with unity and pride, we convey a powerful message—particularly to high risk LGBTQ youth—that we are worthy of love, respect, and inclusion. We are not alone.
- We commemorate our history. Marching has been integral to our modern LGBTQ movement, a way to peacefully and visibly advocate for ourselves and bring attention to our cause. In fact, PFLAG’s founder Jeanne Manford was spurred to create her first parent support group after she marched with her son Morty in the New York’s Christopher Street Liberation Day March (a now famous image), and realized her impact. Marching honors our history, takes our movement forward, and reminds us that we have more to accomplish.
- We share a celebratory experience. LGBTQ advocacy is not only meaningful and goal-oriented, but also joyful, exciting, and profound. We meet LGBTQ people and allies, share our stories, and often create lifelong bonds and friendships. We hug and laugh a lot, too. Marching is another extension of our camaraderie and, for many of us, one of most fun forms of our advocacy.
How We Do It
- We give advance notice. Our chair announces our parades at our monthly meetings and we provide details under Upcoming Events and via Facebook including directions and parking instructions.
- We march multiple times each year. Our chapter has marched in the Seattle Pride and Trans Pride parade almost since we began. In past years, we’ve also regularly marched for Duvall Days, Derby Days, and Renton River Days. Our Duvall Day parade contingent—which we traditionally do with Cedarcrest high school’s Gay Straight Alliance—won a parade award for two consecutive years.
- We love a crowd. The larger our parade contingent, the more powerful our impact, so our goal is to encourage as many members, friends, and volunteers to march with us, invite others, and help us spread the news.
- We support newcomers. If you’ve never marched before or find it intimidating, we are happy to provide you a “parade buddy”— a more seasoned PFLAGer who can march with you and provide information and support.
- We dress for success. Those of us who have PFLAG purple tee shirts wear them so you might also want to purchase one (let us know and we’ll help) or wear your own purple tee shirt. We always welcome rainbow attire.
- We have an awesome float. We pull our famous “Closets our for clothes” float, a whimsical contraption with a powerful message. It’s even been featured in the local press.
- We carry signs. Our goal is to convey that PFLAG about love, affirmation, family, and equality, so many of us carry signs with these messages. We have extra signs to distribute and many of us enjoy making our own signs too. (Our monthly meetings has occasional sign-making sessions.)
- We give out stickers. If the parade rules allow it, we distribute our famous pink “I’m Loved by PFLAG” stickers to the crowd as we walk by, to make a connection and spread visibility. When the parade ends, our message is seen for the remainder of the event.
- We share tips. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. Arrive early for best parking—carpooling is a big help. Our parades are typically part of events that offer many other activities and attractions, so consider scheduling post-parade time to enjoy them.
- We always appreciate help! Parades involved various tasks, from planning and coordinating our marches to arriving early to set up our float. If this volunteer opportunity interests you, please contact us.