Philly Pride’s Outfest holds special significance for some revelers

Philly Pride’s Outfest block party on Sunday shut down a stretch of the Gayborhood with entertainment, vendors and activities ranging from a high heel race to a penis-shaped bagel eating contest.

As in years past, the streets were flooded with colorfully-costumed revelers and speakers pumped thumping bass music.

But the event, which billed itself as “the largest national coming out event in the world,” was particularly poignant for some attendees.

“I’m able to enjoy myself and be myself without everyone judging me,” said Shannon Alyse, 21, who traveled from New Jersey to enjoy the festivities.

The celebration was the first LGBT community event Alyse attended.

“I’m not out to everybody but I’m more out than I’ve ever been in my entire life,” she said, calling the experience “liberating.”

“I’m here to celebrate and have fun,” said Alyse’s friend Jaki Michele, also 21.

“Because if other people don’t want to be proud of us and celebrate us, we’ll be proud and celebrate ourselves.”

State Rep. Brian Sims, who was on hand to receive the Gilbert Baker National OutProud Award, said the event brought back memories of his own experience announcing his sexuality.

“I wish I had something like this when I came out,” he said.

“I came out to my teammates in a small Pennsylvania town and I didn’t even know things like this existed. Now, to see kids and teens here being able to openly celebrate and be proud of who they are with such a support system behind them – it’s amazing.”

This year’s festivities also held special significance as Sims, along with State Rep. Steve McCarter, less than two weeks ago introduced the Pennsylvania Marriage Equality Act legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

“I’m able to say with 100 percent certainty I am sure that piece of legislation will be law,” Sims said.

“I’m sorry we’re not celebrating [the law's passage] here today, but we’re quickly moving toward equality in Pennsylvania, and I hope that next year or the year after that, I’ll be able to stand here and celebrate that equality.”

New Jersey next?

The event also came just after a judge on Thursday dismissed the state of New Jersey’s request to prevent same-sex marriages from being conducted until after an appeal of the court decision allowing them to move forward is completed.

Sims said he hopes the stance on same-sex marriage held by Gov. Chris Christie, who last year vetoed a bill allowing the practice, “has progressed and evolved.”

“I think New Jersey will be the 14th state to legalize marriage equality,” Sims said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Hillary Clinton headed to Boston for women's leadership…

Former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to visit Massachusetts Wednesday amid continuing speculation about making another bid for the presidency in 2016.

Local

Boston Marathon: Marathoners ready to run, honor victims

Scores of runners will cross the Boston Marathon starting line in Hopkinton Monday and embark on a 26.2-mile journey to Boston in honor of the victims.

Local

MIT student, Rhodes scholar, dies

Eliana Hechter, a student at MIT and Harvard, died, her family said. The announcement was posted on MIT's website.

Local

Video: Car crashes into Cambridge store, man arrested…

A Cambridge man was arrested on gun and drug charges after crashing his car into a Massachusetts Avenue storefront early Saturday morning.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

Television

Discovery cancels 'Everest Jump Live' special in wake…

The Discovery Channel has indicated it will not be moving forward with "Everest Jump Live," a planned special about mountain climber Joby Ogwyn's effort to…

The Word

'X-Men' director Bryan Singer drama continues

  News broke late last week that "X-Men" and "The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer is being sued by a man who said Singer molested…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox walk off with…

Red Sox pick up first walk off win of 2014

MLB

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at…

Red Sox and Orioles meet Monday morning at 11 a.m.

NHL

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings…

NHL video highlights: Bruins smack down Red Wings in Game 2

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.