On Sunday, August 9th, 2011, we went to the gay parade here in Rio de Janeiro. In the last few years, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro has made a concerted effort to attract gays and lesbians to Rio de Janeiro. He actually has gone on record as stating that the wants Rio de Janeiro to be the most gay friendly city in the whole world. They want to attracts gays and lesbians throughout Brazil and the rest of the world as well. In Ipanema, they actually have a beach that is primarily for people of alternate life styles.
This year was truly spectacular. The estimate that over 1.5 million people participated in this year’s parade. That is a lot of people. We were so lucky. We arrived about a half hour before the parade began, and there was a small platform that was built by the city. No one was on the platform, and we were the first on the platform. It is great because we had a great view and more importantly as the crowd filled up, we got pushed and shoved a lot less than the others. It was a cloudy day but even with my point and shoot camera, I was able to get some decent photos.
The city did an awesome job of preparation. There were tons of portopotties and there was rarely a long wait for the facilities despite the fact that there was a lot of people drinking heavily. By the end of the show, the place was a mess, but immediately hundreds of men and dozens of street cleaning machines trailed the parade. In a short time, the streets were pristine again.
Having lived in both Rio de Janeiro and the United States, it is safe to say that the two locations are the polar opposite on the issues of gay and lesbian people. In Rio, it is encouraged and in the United States it is thought to be an untreatable disease such as cancer. As I watched millions of these peoples marching proudly and happily, I realized that it is not possible for society to restrict the desires and passions of these people. I live in Rio de Janeiro, and the impact on my family of these people is NADA – ZERO. Maybe some Americans should come down here to analyse the impact on families.