Twin Cities Pride, 2017

I love the Pride festival weekend in Minneapolis. 

I know that seems odd as the straight white guy with what would appear to be no horse in the race, but it's true. I get all excited about Pride. 

I have been fortunate enough the last two years to be a part of the media team to cover the Pride festivities in Loring Park. This year I was also tasked with photographing the 35W bridge and in between that,  I pulled off an impromptu photo shoot of my friend Dana and her lovely girlfriend Teresa.  

I think what gets me so excited about Pride is how genuine it is. It's a big gay state fair where everyone is empowered to be precisely what they are.  The one celebration where people don't have to hide a core component of their identity. Everybody just is.  

I also love what it represents, to me, Pride is the most American celebration we got going today.  It's a celebration commemorating the Stonewall riots where a small group of marginalized individuals united together to stand in protest against a tyrannical and unjust government. It is basically the Boston tea party for the LGBTQ community. The spark that kicked off the whole movement in a definitive and real way. 

Pride also wonderfully represents the best of American ideals. Where everyone is equal, where people are free, able to live their lives in the way of their choosing without impediment. Where we are together as a vast tapestry of individuals from all different walks of life, unified in the pursuit of happiness and the belief that we are all endowed with inalienable human rights.   

It is with that spirit that Pride gives me a lot of hope. I would like to believe we could one day reach a more actualized version of our stated beliefs as a country. 
Where people understand that you don't have to have something directly affect you as an individual for it to still be of great consequence to the society as a whole.  Where people can feel as though they are able to live their lives without the threat of violence or persecution from individuals or the state.  

That is what makes Pride such an American celebration,  Its very existence is an overt act of resistance towards an archaic and antiquated system.  What is more American than thumbing our noses at unjust authority? 

I go to Pride for a lot of reasons. For my LGBTQ friends, I go to show my support and love. As a veteran, I go to stand for the rights and values I believe we are all deserving of as Americans and human beings. And most importantly for you reading this, I go as a photographer to be a witness and to shine a light on my community. 

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy the photos!