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
National

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

By Piya Sinha-RoyLOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Marvel Entertainment's chief emeritus Stan Lee may be in his ninth decade, but it hasn't stopped him from adding…

National

Islamic State says beheads U.S. journalist, holds another

Islamic State insurgents released a video purportedly showing the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley, who had gone missing in Syria nearly two years ago.

Local

VIDEO: NYPD seeks shooter in East New York…

Cops are on the lookout for an unknown shooter who aimed and missed hitting a man on a bicycle, instead nearly striking a nearby officer in East New York.

Local

NYS state forces thrift shops comply with ban…

Nine New York City thrift shops were reprimanded by the state attorney general for selling children's clothes with drawstrings around the neck and waist.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 11,…

Caleb's not a ghost. Spencer might still be an attempted murderer. And Hanna's going to die next week. In other words, we actually got some…

Movies

At 91, Marvel creator Stan Lee continues to…

Marvel Entertainment's Stan Lee is adding outposts to his creative empire to interest a new generation of children in super heroes of all shapes and sizes.

Television

Mira Sorvino explores immortality on 'Intruders'

Mira Sorvino's new show "Intruders" centers around a secret society that achieves immortality by taking over the bodies of other people.

Television

5 things you need to know about new…

"Doctor Who" returns Saturday with a new star, Peter Capaldi. Here's some things to know about him (mainly his turn as sweary spin doctor Malcolm Tucker).

MLB

Shane Greene travels unlikely road to Yankees stardom

Shane Greene was throwing a bullpen session on a quiet field at Daytona Beach Community College one day when the ball started moving.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL tight ends (TE)

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

MLB Power Rankings: Angels supplant A's, Nationals climb

NFL

David Wilson returns to triple jump, sets sights…

Giants fans know David Wilson can jump. They are just more used to seeing him go for backflips, not distance.

Style

11 timeless gifts for registries or just because

Gifts to prove you're a style maven once and for all.

Parenting

How everyday moments can inspire kids' creativity

"The Artist's Way for Parents" author Julia Cameron gives advice on how parents and children can be creative together.

Tech

How to stay safe online

Stop worrying about keeping your online passwords safe, and start worrying about keeping your username a secret. Actually, worry about both. According to Shaun Murphy…

Tech

OpenTable now lets you pay your bill via…

The restaurant app OpenTable added the ability to pay your bill (and tip) with your phone, thus cutting back on a few dining annoyances.