by Helen Grant
Â â€œIf it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.â€
â€“ Leo Tolstoy, as featured on OKC Pride’s website.
I met with Jeremy Crites to discuss OKC Pride’s current activities and objectives. There will be a series of articles leading up to this year’s OKC Pride Festival in May, but for now here is a sneak peek about a romantic celebration featuring real couples. Essentially, OKC Pride aims to promote three organizational goals: awareness, health, and educational services. And to kick off Pride Weekend, they’ve decided to best way to highlight these objectives is to hold an opening event indicative of the kind of change they wish to see in Oklahoma.
Therefore, the “Love is Love” event is for LGBT couples to gather with their friends, families, and community allies to celebrate their partnerships and to show the rest of Oklahoma, and by extension state legislators, that love is real and that marriage equality should not be politicized.
Crites said the OKC Pride Board felt it was time to raise awareness and educate the public as to what real families and couples look like. Keep in mind that most public perception of Pride Festivals throughout the country comes to us in the form of biased media coverage. Traditionally most media outlets choose to focus on the wilder and more sexualized elements of these festivals. What is often overlooked, however, are the families and bonds between communities.
So take note: here in Oklahoma City the narrative is shifting.
Crites said the decision to officially open the weekend’s festivities with the “Love is Love” event is key to how OKC Pride aims to make the weekend more family-friendly. Will there still be racy parties and sexy shows? Yes. But there will be events in accessible locations that emphasize that OKC Pride is open to a all communities in addition to the celebration of sexual freedom and identity.
The event takes place on May 18th at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. It begins at 11:00 a.m. and runs until 12:30 p.m. There will be guest speakers lecturing on marriage equality and recognition of individual couples before the mass commitment ceremony takes place. LGBT couples can register for different packages:
Sweetheart Package $10.00 – includes registration for 1 couple.