( music playing ) ( cheering ) – ( sirens blaring )
– ( whistle blowing ) – ( whistle blowing )
– ( people clamoring ) ( clamoring continues ) Crowd: Gay rights now!
Gay rights now! Gay rights now! ( music continues ) ( crowd cheering ) Homosexual men
and women held rallies in New York
and in San Francisco celebrating
the tenth anniversary of what they say
was the start of the nationwide
gay rights movement. Act up, fight back,
fight AIDS! Act up, fight back,
fight AIDS! Act up, fight back… Crowd:
We are everywhere! We are everywhere! We are everywhere! Anchorwoman: A wave of pride
around the world today. Marchers took to the streets highlighting
the fight for rights that is still ongoing. Man: Let’s hear it
for E.G. Smith. She is the “grandma for gays.” Been marching since 1980. – Whoo!
– Grandma! Raymond:
My name is Raymond Braun, and I identify as a gay man. I’ve always been really
interested in Pride because it played
such a big role in helping me become more comfortable
with myself and have the courage
to come out and then get really involved
with the community. – What’s your name?
– Shawn. – Nice to meet you. Hi!
– This is my mom. – Nice to meet you.
– Shawn, I’m Teresa.
It’s nice to meet you. – Can I get a picture
with you? Cool.
– Of course, yeah! You did so awesome
on “Drag Race.” – Oh, thank you! Thank you.
– I know we loved–
we loved you. When I say that I didn’t know how to go into the closet,
I think this demonstrates that. I don’t know
why I was posing like that completely unprompted,
but, I mean, hello. This would be awkward
11 or 12-year-old Raymond right here. Yeah. I can’t even articulate
how terrified I was to come out, even though pretty much
everyone knew. I used to rehearse trying
to come out to my family, and it was really scary for me because I couldn’t even start getting the words out
without starting to cry. My idea was let me write them
this letter that is bulletproof. It was 16 pages, single-spaced. And the 15 hours
from me sending the FedEx to my parents receiving it were the most agonizing
of my life. – Thank you.
– Thank you. Thank you. Happy Pride. I got a call maybe
20-25 minutes after the letter had come. And the first thing that
she said was, “I love you.” And she said,
“I just want you to know
that I love you so much. And come home and we’ll figure–
we’ll talk everything through, and we’ll work through
all the details, but I just want you to know
that I love you so much, and you’re my son
and I will always love you.” And that was all I needed
to hear in that moment. And it was the biggest weight
off my shoulders, ’cause I had at that point,
like, 17 years of shame, and fear, and self-hatred,
and self-disgust, and I felt so happy
and I also felt bad that I didn’t give her
the opportunity to say that to me earlier. – I love your son.
– Oh, thank you. I love him, too.
I love him, too. – Aww.
– Yay! Thank you.
This is my mom’s first Pride. I’ve been called entrepreneur, media personality,
journalist, advocate. But I feel like there isn’t
a word that nails it for me. I’m joined by Raymond Braun,
who led YouTube’s first ever marketing campaign,
“Proud to Love.” I’ve just tried
to fight for people in the way that I would’ve
liked to be fought for, and use privilege that I have
to help other people. The decision has come out. Marriage equality won
five-four, and everyone is so electric
and smiling. I came out to my parents 38 years after
the Stonewall riots in 1969. So, we’re 50 years out
from Stonewall, and I’m wondering
what does Pride mean to young people today? All: One, two, three.
Go Pride! – Crowd: Pride!
– Man: When do we want it? – Crowd: Now!
– Man: What do we want? – Crowd: Pride!
– Man: When do we want it? – Crowd: Now!
– Man: What do we want? – Crowd: Pride!
– ( cheering ) Put your hands together, D.C., and make some noise for the one
and only Troye Sivan! D.C., what’s up?
My name is Troye Sivan. How’s it going? Are you guys having
a good Pride so far? ( cheering ) The first Pride I ever went to–
so I came out to my parents. Even though I was out to them,
I was so nervous to tell them that I wanted to go to Pride. And I somehow mussed up
the courage. I was like, “Mom, Dad,
I wanna go be with my people. I wanna go to Pride.” ( cheers and applause ) And I was so nervous what their
reaction was gonna be. And they were like,
“Troye, we’re coming with you.” So, my parents were not just,
like, tolerating their gay son, They were like, “Fuck, yeah,
we have a gay son.” Enjoy Pride once a year. Let’s lose our minds. Thank you, guys,
so much for having me. Let’s do this! ♪ Yeah, I bloom just for you ♪ ♪ Just for you ♪ ♪ Yeah, I bloom ♪ ♪ I bloom just for you ♪ ♪ Just for you ♪ ♪ Come on, baby ♪ ♪ Play me like a love song ♪ ♪ Every time it comes on ♪ ♪ I get this sweet desire ♪ ♪ Yeah, I bloom ♪ ♪ I bloom just for you ♪ ♪ Just for you ♪ ♪ Just for you ♪ Washington, D.C., what’s up? Raymond: What was your first
recollection of Pride or the first time
you became aware of it? I would watch YouTube videos of coming out stories,
Pride parades. I remember one of the first
videos that I saw, I was like, “Oh, my God, there’s a lot of gay people
in the world.” Growing up,
I didn’t know any gay people, and I didn’t know
any older gay people. So, I felt like I had
no template for my life of what that could look like. Seeing an older LGBT couple
holding hands in the street, that was, like, you know, oh, these people
have been doing this
for a long time. This didn’t just happen. We owe it to our elders
that we get to be here today. ( crowd chattering ) I get why
sometimes people ask, “Is Pride is still relevant?” Because I think that it’s easy if you live
in a bigger city to forget. I know a lot of LGBTQ people
who have an accepting family, they have an inclusive
group of friends, and they forget what
it’s like to be that kid who’s terrified to even
say the words “I’m gay” or “I’m trans.” – Come on in.
– Hey! Are you Kieran? – Yes.
– Oh. How are you? – Amazing right now.
– That’s good. They forgot that
there are a lot of places
across this country where there’s still
a lot of terror around just walking out the door
and being who you are. ( chiming ) Raymond:
Hey! How are you? Hello, there. I wanted to ask you
about your thoughts on Pride and your relationship
to the idea of Pride
in your community. I mean, coming from D.C.
where there’s two Prides, there’s Black Pride and then
there’s everyone else’s Pride… – Mm.
– …if you don’t identify
with one particular group, then you don’t necessarily
have a place where you fit. It’s just so wonderful
to see how many people similar to you in one place
and supporting each other. I was raised religiously. So if I hadn’t met
my friends there and gone to Pride
and stuff with them, I would’ve probably just
been miserable with men the rest of my life. The people that raised me
tried to kill me when they heard I was gay. So, I will never forget that. So, just because I know
I’m not going through that doesn’t mean somebody in
a whole ‘nother state isn’t. Pride is the reason I’m alive. I know that sounds
super cliché, but if we didn’t have Pride to remind people of who we are,
then what else do we got? A lot of folks don’t want
trans people of color to even much have a platform. So, of course,
they’re not gonna promote where people of color voices
will be heard. I know at first
Pride started as a protest, but as the years went on a lot of people transitioned
into celebration. Corporations swooped in on that and said, “We can make money
off of this.” Pride is a public expression of my acceptance
of this part of my life. My sexual orientation. It feels like a challenge
to the narrative that LGBT people need fixing
or aren’t enough. Pride to me is like a second
Black History month, just because
I still understand what we went through
to get there. Raymond: I have always been
really interested in Pride as almost like
this looking glass into the entire
LGBTQ community. And so I decided to take
a road trip to Pride events in big cities and small towns
across the country, and really explore this
question of what Pride means to young people
50 years post Stonewall. ( cheering ) Here’s the site,
and they’re setting up
right now. I can’t believe it’s right
in the middle of town in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. So the first ever Pride march that happened
in Tuscaloosa was 2014. It was adorable.
It was about 50 folks. The first couple years
we started, people, especially
who grew up here, were just, I mean, shook. They just were amazed that
there was a Pride festival happening in Tuscaloosa
downtown openly, right, without disaster happening. This one’s my favorite.
This is Red. And then I call
that one Blackie. Raymond: What do you like
about living in the country? Hearing the birds chirp
in the morning. Just sitting outside drinking
my coffee on a nice day. And just being secluded
from everybody. Just being away
from the students because they drive me crazy
sometimes, working in a coffee shop,
you know? One day I was at work
and this guy, he’s like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna
be served by this him/she– whoever she is
or whatever it is.” And I’m just like, “Okay.” I think they’re intimidated
or they’re scared because, you know,
I can be myself and I don’t care
what they think. Espresso macchiato. – Thank you.
– Thank you. I appreciate it.
It’s not my best, – but I tried.
– It’s gorgeous. Current relationship is… not a current relationship. Um, we’re actually
on a break right now. Um, things have been
a little rocky. I’m her first girlfriend, and, um, she’s dated men
all her life. So, you know, it’s– I’m just trying to respect
how she feels, and I’m just kind of tired
of being someone’s secret. At least get over there. Tell me a little bit
about what it’s like – to be LGBTQ in Tuscaloosa.
– I don’t know. I think people should
be open-minded, and I feel like here in Alabama,
they’re not whatsoever. They don’t really
accept us, you know? So, I’m glad that Tuscaloosa
is trying to change that and actually have Pride
here in Tuscaloosa. So, I’m excited. I don’t know what to expect,
you know? I just wanna go enjoy myself
and have a good time and be around
some good people. I’m excited to experience
my first Pride. I think it’s long
overdue, honestly. You didn’t believe me
until I brought
the first girl home. – Well, no–
– I think that’s
when it really finally clicked with you. We were sitting
in Mr. G’s parking lot, and I think I was sitting
in the front seat of mom’s car and you were in the back. And I look over,
and I’m like, “Damn, she’s cute.” And all I hear is,
“Hell, yeah.” You’re kind of
the main reason why I was able to
be myself and come out. – You know?
– Word? Like, I had
some type of support, ’cause I knew I wasn’t
gonna get it from Mom. How was it
when you first came out? I mean, it was tough. She was like, “I won’t
have a gay daughter.” And that’s the only thing
that just kept playing
around in my head. I was just like,
“You know what? I’m just
gonna get out of here.” – I don’t know.
– I think she’ll always
have a problem with it. Yeah, me, too. Unfortunately. ( music playing ) ♪ I’m killing these hoes,
so get an acquittal ♪ ♪ Eight at the top
and two in the middle ♪ ♪ I’m making it rain,
they’re making it drizzle ♪ ♪ Kicking they ass
while I laugh and I giggle ♪ ♪ I’m killing these hoes,
so get an acquittal ♪ ♪ Eight at the top
and two in the middle ♪ ♪ I’m making it rain,
they’re making it drizzle ♪ ♪ Kicking they ass
while I laugh and I giggle ♪ – ♪ Hair, nails, done ♪
– ♪ What? Ladies, done ♪ – ♪ Check, face, beats ♪
– ♪ Ladies ♪ – ♪ Done, check ♪
– ♪ Fellas ♪ ♪ Chase, down, glass, up ♪ – ♪ Face, down, glass, up ♪
– ♪ Ladies ♪ Nick: I didn’t know there was
a Pride in Tuscaloosa. When I heard there was,
I was like, it’s probably gonna be
maybe 25 people on a little field
with some rainbow flags. Whoo! On one we’re gonna stop again. This time when you inhale, you’re gonna bring
your shoulders up. And when you release,
you’re gonna relax all the way down
to a midlevel. Five, six, seven, eight. One. I’m a senior at
the University of Alabama. I worked for a golf cart taxi
that goes around campus, and there was this one guy
who gets on my cart. I’m taking him from the bars
and we’re taking him home. And we’re just talking,
yada, yada, yada. And he goes–
he’s a little drunk. So he’s wobbling
in his seat or whatever. He’s like,
“Do you see that girl
in that tight dress in that little crop top?
Oh, my God. What would you even do?
How do you even talk to that?” He was seriously
asking me the question,
waiting for a response. And I was like,
“Well, I mean, I like men. But if I were to talk to her, I’d just talk to her
like a normal person.” And was like–
and he just, like, stops. And we get to a stop sign, and then just gets off
the cart and walks away. That was the first time
I really felt anything big that was like, “Whoa!” Someone actually felt
a certain way about this that they felt compelled
to be removed from my presence. Right, left, dive forward. Push back. Left, right. I actually just came out
to my dad this past summer. We went to IHOP. We were able to talk,
and we just dished about all the questions
that a dad usually has. When I asked him to come
to the Pride festival, he just was like,
“No, I’m not ready for that.” He stereotyped a Pride festival
from what he’s seen on TV, like San Francisco Pride
or New York Pride where there’s a lot
of flamboyant gay men. He compared two men kissing to seeing two dead rats
in the street. That made me sad,
’cause I was like,
he’s never gonna be able to see the beauty
behind two men kissing. ( music playing ) I got my first girlfriend
when I was, like, 15. Straight from the bat,
I told her, “When I get old enough,
I’m getting a sex change.” She’s still my best friend. And she says, “I can’t believe
you’re actually doing this.” From the age of 15
to now I’m 28, and… I’m me. My mom constantly
calls me “she.” Like I said, it’s not something
you can just explain. It’s something that you feel, and you can’t
put that into words for somebody that has
that mindset of, “My kid’s gonna go to hell
if they act like this.” Now that I came out,
I feel ten times better than I think I ever have. I hadn’t even
started shots yet, and my officer said,
“Have a good night, Captain.” I’m like, “You, too.”
And he says, “Thank you, sir.” And I’m like… “I’m not crying.
You’re crying.” All I could do
was just hug him. That dude’s
my favorite officer. He still to this day says,
“It’s coming in nice.” I’ve only been to Pride
in Birmingham. And I’ve only been to Pride
in Pensacola. This is my first
Tuscaloosa Pride. It’ll be interesting.
I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know if it’s gonna
really feel like a fest and we’re just gonna
walk around and see people, or what kind of structure
there is to it. So we’re gonna be
totally new to this. – ( shouting )
– Hey! ( laughs ) Hey. – Come on, Braylin.
– ( chattering ) Don’t step on him.
Don’t hurt him. Put him down. Don’t kiss that dog. I love this picture right here
with me and my girls. Okay, this is when
we at the altar. Oh, that–
that’s my favorite picture. – Was it? Oh, look at you.
– Yeah. This is the moment
I caught true butterflies. The limo pulled up,
and I’m like, “Oh, my God. It’s happening. Oh, my God.” This is when we did
a silly face. You were feeling yourself. – I was.
– And I was saying something. I had to flex a little bit. Raymond:
Are there places around here where you can feel a sense of
community, like a gay bar or– Tenisha:
There’s a gay bar
in Montgomery. I can’t tell my friends,
“Oh, I wanna go to Pride.” And they’re like,
“Girl, I ain’t going to
a damn Pride.” They’re so afraid
of somebody hitting on them. Everybody that’s gay
does not want you. So this is
your first ever Pride. You’re driving two hours to go. – Okay.
– You are, right? I mean, you’re driving
two hours to get to Pride. Yeah, but that’s why
it’s so exciting. Y’all actually having
a Pride out here in Alabama where I’m from? I’m a “Roll tide” fan. Alabama, okay! So, yes! I can remember when I was
recently on a job and I was fired because
I was this black transwoman. And people, you know,
looked at me different. The whispers,
the mis-gendering. They stare.
They laugh behind your back. They make jokes. The world is ever-changing, the world is ever-evolving, and everyone should
just get with the program. We know that
sex work is critical and is support of how most
of us make our living. How do you feel, of course,
in Birmingham, Alabama, where you felt like
you haven’t been safe or not welcome? One guy watched me
the whole night, um, while I worked
and as I made my money. And as I came to a closure
of the end of the night, the guy entered into my home
with a gun to kill me. Um, I called the police, and it was just
a joke to them. Even if somebody did you wrong,
they always look at trans people
as always the bad person. The data is there.
It’s no secret that black transwomen
are being murdered at a very high rate. We need to value our self more and stop allowing men
to control us and say, “Hey, I’m just gonna hide you. You’re just gonna be my sexual
object behind the scenes. Just let me get this nut off
and keep quiet.” Where does it come in
to where we value ourselves as women to stand up and say, “No more you treat me
like a sex slave. No more will you treat me
behind the scenes just like I’m this
creature or this fetish that you just wanna,
you know, explore.” And stand up for
ourselves and just say, “No, I’m not gonna do it.” Raymond: I wanted to ask you
about whether you think that Pride, particularly
small-town Prides in the South, are inclusive of transwomen? No, and not only small-town. I don’t think no Pride
is inclusive of transwoman. And I think
due to the fact that, of course, we created this. When I say we created it–
back over 49 years ago when the Stonewall
riot happened in creating the liberation
for community as transwomen of color
and queer people of color, but we don’t get our just due. You know, most of the time you see white gay men
jumping around. “Ooh, Pride.” You know? It’s just like we are erased and we’re not in existence. And it’s very critical
that we get the attention
that we need because we are the most
vulnerable community. We have been done so wrong
as black and brown folks, and it keeps me motivated and it gives me
the courage that I need and keeps me inspired to do what I need to do
to take of my community. And that’s
what keeps me connected. Raymond:
Growing up in a rural community
that is really small– I mean, my hometown in Ohio
is less than 900 people, and I didn’t see anything close
to what would resemble Pride. The first time
that I remembered seeing gay visibility in media
or on television was I was doing homework
at the kitchen table and my parents were
watching the news and there was a report
about Matthew Shepard, about him being murdered. And when I saw the image and
when I heard about his story, I identified with him. And so here I had
the word “gay” being used to put me down
and make me feel less than and not measuring up
to the other guys
that I’m in school with. And then when I see this word being reflected back
to me on television, it’s literally someone
who’s been murdered
for that reason. So, that fucks up a kid. Knowing how much
having a Pride in my town in Ohio
would’ve meant to me, it makes me
so genuinely happy when I can see other people
having that experience and finding that community, particularly in places
like here in Tuscaloosa where a lot of kids I don’t
think would’ve ever imagined that their town
could have a Pride. Tenisha:
Down here in the South,
if you would’ve walked with hands in hands,
you got bullied. I used to write in my diary,
“I hate my life. I just wanna kill myself.”
I used to say, like, little hurtful stuff
to myself because I wasn’t happy
with myself ’cause I kept suppressing
the issue. That’s why it’s so exciting
for us to have a Pride. – That is cute. Look.
– Oh! – Which one–
– Aww, it is! – Roll Pride.
– Your first little Pride. We’ve been to a lot
of smaller Prides this year. I think Prides in smaller towns
and Prides in the deep South are still serving
the same function that Prides originally did. Like, Christopher Street Pride
in New York in 1970, that was a visibility
at any cost event. I’ve been to Prides
since I was 21. I’m 35 now, so I’m just hoping that
she gets a lot out of it. Jaye:
I knew nothing about Pride. My first thought of Pride was
just kind of like a huge party. You know, everybody got
together and they celebrated. And then once
I did my history, you know, it’s like–
no, it’s like, they fought for us
to be able to stand out
and be who we are, and I want to be
a part of that. Hope you can hear me
way out in the back. My name is Meredith Bagley. I’m the assistant director
of Druid City Pride. Nick: I’m stoked.
There’s not many chances
you get to be who you are around people
who are just like you. ( crowd chattering ) Woman: Tell ’em
what you really think. Man:
Is everybody registered? Woman:
Yes, girl, you know. Everyone in this tent
better be registered. Amen. My name’s Clark West. This is my husband
Elliott Mitchell. We met here
at Alabama in 1972. I was a freshman at age 18. Elliott had been in college. He was drafted by the Marines and went to Vietnam
for three years. And we were celebrating
46 years together. So I’m very,
very happy with that. It’s really important
that you support each other. It’s really important that
you support Pride, because this is how people
in your community find out who we are
and what our needs are. ( cheers and applause ) I just wanted to say hello! – Hi.
– How are you? I saw your guys
dancing over here. I thought I’d come over and… Show us how it’s done. Even with a hip, honey.
Got a new hip. I can’t believe I was as young
as you were at one time. Oh, my God. – Anyway, love you guys.
– Love you. Raymond:
I have these grandiose visions
of what Pride should be, and I want it to be
experience for everyone. But Jaye said,
“I just wanna dance
and be around some people.” And even if it’s ten people
and a picnic table and a flag, being able to
be with other folks like me and have a fun day together,
that’s enough. And that was actually
really powerful to me because I thought maybe I’m overthinking this
a little bit too much. Maybe it is more simple. Maybe it is just about planting your flag
in the ground, calling it Pride
whether there’s ten people or ten thousand people, and feeling that spirit
of connectedness. MJ: To be myself around people
that have the same struggles, to not be alone in
this feeling… You can hold
your girlfriend’s hand. You can kiss her. Just be you. It’s awesome. Whoo! ( chattering ) Welcome. Okay, so,
don’t be afraid. Um, it’s going to hurt. Voguing is pretty,
but it hurts. Woman:
It hurts good. It hurts real good, actually. Catch that beat.
♪ One and a two ♪ ♪ and a three and four,
I came to slay the floor ♪ ♪ Then the first line
to catch the beat ♪ ♪ Yes, they got it,
so move your feet ♪ ♪ Then the second line,
two, three, and a four ♪ ♪ Catch that beat
and slay my floor ♪ – Ow! Work, work.
– Yes! Yes! Woman: I was born
in Buffalo, New York. I don’t know if you noticed
that I’m black. – I might’ve noticed that.
– I’m so black. I’m kind of chocolaty. I would love for Prides
throughout the United States and beyond to start looking
at leadership from the margins. Because when you’re sitting
underneath the table, you have a view of
what’s happening everywhere. You could still see
the people up above, but you can also see below. But if you’re seated
at the table, you never notice the stuff
that’s happening beneath. I want a leader who can see
multiple perspectives. I just want us to walk. European runway. We walk out. Raymond: Pride is still
pretty segregated. – Mm-hmm.
– When we go to the deep South they have Black Pride. A lot of major cities
that have a general Pride, if you wanna call it that,
also have a separate
Trans Pride. What I love about SF Pride is that we have
the Trans March on Friday, we have the Dyke March
on Saturday, and then we have Pride – for everybody on Sunday.
– Mm-hmm. It’s important to do that. It’s important
for the world to know that there are certain
experiences that are particular
to people in one community. Pride is both the party
and the protest. You don’t have to have one
and not the other. You should actually have both. There’s narratives
about who we are and roles we’re supposed
to play in life and we buy into those
narratives a lot. That all kind of fell apart
in my mind when I started to let in
the idea of being trans. And so you have to kind of
rebuild your idea of yourself. Makeup looks good. I came out
in August last year, so this will be my first
Trans Pride. In every way,
I’m extremely lucky. Family-wise, economically,
I’ve had the resources and the support I’ve needed
to transition and to maintain
my mental health and to have a support network
and everything. I mean, most trans people
don’t have all of those things, so I feel really lucky. – Jackie, this is Lady J.
– Hi. I’m Lady J. – It’s so nice to meet you.
– So nice to meet you. Happy Pride, happy Trans. Thank you.
Happy Trans Pride. You’re giving me grand marshal
realness couture. I’m giving you–
this is J.Lo in ice. If I were an ice skater who
wanted to be Jennifer Lopez, this is what I would wear. Raymond:
One thing I’ve been
thinking about a lot are the different types
of Prides that exist. Particularly in the South
and in the deep South, they have Black Pride,
which is separate from the other Pride
that’s happening in the city. And more and more,
we’re seeing cities
adopt Trans Prides. And a part of me feels like don’t we want Pride,
the one event, to feel inclusive of everyone? Trans Pride feels more
like a protest than a celebration, and I think it’s because
we still have so far to go. It’s true,
it does feel like a protest. And I love that
about it so much. I feel like that’s integral
to the trans community. I think it’s actually good
that there are so many people who are able to live out
and proud and shout that we can have many permits
for taking up the streets during Pride month. Probably the darker side
of that is that, um, cis-white gay men
have centered themselves
in Pride events, and it creates
a bit of hostility that we feel like we need
to have our own Pride. – Well…
– Thank you. I love you. – Mmm. So good to see you.
– Happy Pride. – Happy Pride.
– So great to meet you. Happy Pride,
and congratulations. Congratulations to you.
Welcome to the family. Have you gone to
the Trans March before? – This is my first one.
– This to me, with the signs and the vibe feels more “resist”
and activist. That’s why I was
looking forward to this. I think the Trans March
is a really great space for trans people to celebrate
our trans identities, which should be celebrated more, ’cause every other day is make trans people feel shitty
about being trans day. So this is our day to feel good
about being trans. Man:
Thank you, marchers! Thank you! Thank you! Gracias! Thank you! Arigato! Jackie: Compton’s Cafeteria
was a place in San Francisco, it was Tenderloin
neighborhood, where a lot of drag queens and transwomen
would all hang out. But they would also
be harassed by the people
who worked there, ’cause at the time
it was illegal to so much
as wear clothes that didn’t match
with your biologically
assigned gender. One night, the owners
called the police
and the police showed up. They started rioting, starting
throwing dishes and food, and it actually extended
for two days. So I think that was a really
important tipping point. I think a lot people
also don’t know that Compton’s happened
before Stonewall. I came out to people
for the first time last year. My ex-girlfriend, my mom. Subsequently,
I had her come out to a lot of people
in my family for me. And that began the process
of me telling the world, essentially, who I am. For people to understand me
as a man in the world, and then see me now
as a woman, it seems like I’m a completely
different person to them. But I don’t feel
like a different person
on the inside. ( crowd cheering ) I’m so honored
and humbled to be here with the beautiful, powerful,
and resilient transgender and non-binary community. ( cheers and applause ) Transwomen of color
have been at the front lines of our fight for justice, and it is time
that you recognize all that we have done. It’s hard for me to understand
what it is like to just kind of blithely go
through Pride weekend and think of it
as this big party, and just, you know,
looking for a hookup or looking to get high or to stay up all night
or whatever. But that is what some people do,
and that is what is becoming in a way a stereotype
for younger people. But it bothers me
when people don’t care more, or when people don’t
take the time to really learn and understand and respect
and appreciate our history, and to thank the people
who are with us still
who were there. ( doorbell ringing ) – Oh!
– The legend! – Hello.
– Hi. How are you? – I’m Raymond.
– Hi, Raymond. – You’re a legend.
– Thank you so much. I mean, I know
who Heklina is. – Legend means I’m old.
– ( laughing ) – I wanna give you a tour
of the rest of the place.
– Please, yeah. Here it is,
the rest of the place. No, I’m just kidding. So, this is– – This–
– Raymond: Oh, my gosh,
look at this. What are you
gonna wear tonight? – The green wig right there.
– Oh, my gosh. It’s gonna look so good
under the lights. You better turn. Raymond: Well, I wanna hear
about your drag. Tell me about the first time that you ever got in drag. Heklina: When I moved
to San Francisco, there were all these
kind of colorful people, and I wanted to be
part of that world and drag was part of it. When I came out,
I was disappointed
with gay culture because I would go to bars,
I would go to nightclubs, and they were all trying
to look the same. They looked at me
like I’m a freak. “You’re holding us back
by putting on that dress.” And then they forget
that those are the people who were the ones
who rioted at Stonewall
in the first place– the drag queens
and the freaks. They had been fucked over
so many times, they couldn’t gather
at these bars without getting busted
by the cops. And the cops busted in
on the Stonewall, and they were like,
“Not today,” and they just started a riot. When I started doing drag, there were no nontraditional
drag venues in San Francisco. I started Tranny Shack
as a lark– you know, back when
you could say “tranny”. Well, I wanna
ask you about that. – I’m scared to even say it.
– Uh-huh. I think
it’s a generational thing – or maybe I’m just
– Oh. But tell me about
the decision to rename it, ’cause I’m seeing a lot
of Tranny Shack signs. Well, I mean,
it was not a slur for
a really long time, you know, back when I–
and then I understood that it was becoming
more of a slur, and I felt it when
performers at Tranny Shack would be wanting
to promote their appearance
at Tranny Shack, but they didn’t
want to say the name. – What it was called.
– What it was called. And I was like,
“Oh, this is terrible. I don’t wanna hurt people’s
feelings or anything.” But I think
it’s so interesting how
it became this slur. Like, it’s more–
you can’t even say it. It’s like the N-word. – Yeah.
– Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re even whispering
a little bit. Everyone’s so worried
about words right now, and people are losing
any context. You know, if somebody
calls me “faggot” who’s also gay,
I don’t care. But if it’s said with hate
or whatever, then I care. – But I know the difference.
– Right. I totally get that,
but I also– if it inflicts pain on someone,
I don’t want to do that either. So I try to be as sensitive
as possible, but… I see your point, too. You wanna be able
to distinguish and recognize the nuance, and also just
keep that subversion, or that kind of punk in drag. But how could we–
how can I as a drag queen using the word “faggot”
hurt anybody? Well, if someone has
associations with that word that it’s really negative
or reminds them
of traumatizing time, they don’t want to
hear it, period. – I’m just not that way.
– Yeah. Like, to me, humor is
a huge coping mechanism– how I coped with AIDS
and how I coped with a lot
of tragedy in my life. And so if a topic is taboo
or a word is taboo, I feel like you should
hold it up and poke at it. You know, hold it up,
make it a thing, and poke at it
and take the power out of it. I’ve had to battle a lot
of internalized homophobia and fem-shaming,
just ’cause that was
the number one thing – I was bullied about
when I was a kid…
– Yeah. …was that I was,
like, a little sissy,
I was effeminate. People could clock
I was gay from, you know, as early
as I could walk on the– Well, God,
I mean, look at you. If aliens landed from Mars, they’d look at you and
be like, “Who’s that fag?” – Stop.
– But I’m not bitter. As a gay man,
you can work really hard
to be perfect and stuff, but I think maybe
there’s always that
thing deep inside of you that’s like,
“I’m not good enough.” You know? So… – I have that.
– Yeah, yeah. It’s velvet rage, dear. ♪ When I hear this melody ♪ ♪ This strange illusion
takes over me ♪ ♪ Pyramidal locomotion ♪ ♪ From this mystic
unknown zone ♪ ♪ Hearin’ the twilight ♪ ♪ Hearin’ the twilight ♪ ♪ Twilight tone ♪ Man: Happy Pride! Happy Pride. This is amazing.
I’ve never seen
Dolores Park so crowded. – I’ve been here for three
years, so it’s been new.
– Okay. – Everything’s new.
– Everything’s still new. Man: Actually, my first
Pride was in Istanbul. I’d seen a Pride before, and there were few
hundred thousand. There were a lot of people,
a lot of police, a lot of haters, as well– people cracking bottles
and shouting. The government was
not protecting us, so it didn’t feel like
it was something legal or something
that you would be happy that you participated in because you might end up
in prison. I grew up in
a very small town in Syria. I learned from
really early age that it’s not okay
for me to be different. I didn’t know
that I was called gay
or homosexual. I was called “faggot”, or “shadh” is what
they call it in Arabic, which means irregular
or abnormal. I couldn’t seek help. My father was very,
very aggressive. He almost killed me
a few times. I still have a scar
under my chin from his abuse. We don’t choose
our families, so… One day, when I was trying
to go to university, the bus was stopped. And they said, “All the men,
please step down.” They picked up on me because
I was walking differently and my jeans were
a bit more tighter than
the other people. They put me in a place alone. There was bloodstains,
apparently torture. I was afraid at that moment
that this is the end. This is where I get,
you know, raped, killed. I stayed there
for 30 to 40 minutes, and then they just let me go. That was the last straw. I had to make a decision
to leave Syria. We took off really early
in the morning. It took us almost
eight hours. There were tanks,
troops, airstrikes– like, airplanes up above you. You don’t know
where they’re gonna hit and if they’re gonna hit you. Until we came to Lebanon, and then I saw my friend, and then I realized that
this is actually happening. I’m out. I can start thinking
about a future. Woman:
Hi, everybody! Happy Pride! Coming to San Francisco, I actually think
it was my first ever gay community culture
that I’ve ever interacted with. It’s shocking. It’s an experience. It’s overwhelming, because there’s
so much to learn. – Hello.
– Hey. – Happy Pride.
– Happy Pride. How are you? – How’s your day been so far?
– Good. – Great.
– Just trying to, you know, – navigate and see
what’s going on.
– Yeah. – Staying a little bit
outside from the crowd.
– Yes. It’s a lot. A lot of new things.
A lot of new habits. A lot of new traditions,
language, terminology. Like, “Did you see that?
Did you hear that music?
Do you know this artist?” And I was like,
“No, I have no idea what
you’re talking about.” He’s like,
“You’re not gay enough.” So I was like,
“I was almost killed for
being gay. Thank you.” That’s what you feel
in the community here? – Sometimes.
– Yeah. Or to be honest,
a lot of times. ( dance music playing ) I think that
I’m not yet comfortable with my sexuality
and others’ sexuality. As much as I want to believe
that I am over it and I’m openly out and gay and I talk about it
to everyone, there’s still this thing. It’s like, “You’re gay.” There’s something missing. You’re not enough. I feel guilty every time
that I do anything, going to a party, dancing, to know that
this is available for me and not available for anybody
that I know back home. When I came here,
the Pride March was not as political
as a symbol. But the police, firefighters, every part of the community
participated in it, which means that there is
a future for me here. And not just for me,
but for everyone else. Happy Pride, y’all!
Happy Pride, y’all! Happy, happy,
happy Pride, y’all. What are you
most looking forward to
at Pride this year? I am looking forward to my family being there. I would love for my family to leave Pride
literally feeling proud. I want them to think,
“If we could go back and choose this whether Carson
were straight or gay, we would choose gay Carson
a thousand times.” You know,
this is his best self. This is his best Carson, the one that we want
in our lives. Man: A lot of Mormons
have gotten into the big money political fight
over gay marriage. Woman: They are major backers
of Proposition 8. That’s a ballot initiative
that would eliminate the right to get married
for same sex couples. Crowd:
Equal rights, equal rights! Woman 2: That’s why
the LDS contributed over 45% of the total
financial support for Prop 8, which would reinstate
on gay marriage. I think what surprised every one
of us out here in California, I mean, truly,
actually shocked us, was the amount of money coming
from the Mormon church. – Is this the main temple
– Woman: Yes. I think I read that, what,
50% of Salt Lake City is Mormon? – Woman: Yeah.
– Ooh, I see my first
rainbow flag. Woman:
So that’s where Pride is. You can see they’re
actually already set up, which makes me so excited. Raymond:
I’m about to meet Carson. Finally traveled all this way
to Salt Lake City. I am beyond excited. Hello! How are you? Oh, my God! It’s so nice
to finally meet you. – Happy Pride. It’s your first.
– Thank you. Happy Pride. I know, I know. How are you feeling
about the weekend? Um, I’m feeling… …a little overwhelmed,
but ready. It’s a lot happening. This is not just
a LGBTQ Mormon thing. This is, like–
these are the kind of divisions we’re seeing in our country. My family, everyone,
would murder for me. You know what I mean?
I cannot and I would never, could never question
their loyalty to me. And they’re active
tithe-paying members of the Mormon church,
you know? Which was such a force against Prop 8 and used funding. You know what I mean? I know where these dollars
can potentially be going. One thing I’ve learned,
we cannot change people. We can try
and we can push and pull, but you can’t change someone.
That has to come from within. But sometimes I’m like,
“I’m just Pollyanna – and this is a pipe dream.”
– No. No! – A big dream and I’m–
– I mean, we have to. As a community,
you have to vision
for the future, even if it is overly saccharine
or simplistic or Pollyanna. ‘Cause if not,
you can get sucked
into the realities, – and that can take you
to a really dark place.
– Yeah. Yeah. Pollyanna had a spinal cord
injury. Did you know that? No! No, she did not. She broke her back
when she fell out
of that tree. – ( Carson murmuring )
– You got it. – Eight.
– Good job. In spinal cord injury,
we’re always talking, like, getting the function back. Have I already vented
to you about this? About making sure that
people know you’re virile? Well, yeah,
that I’m a sexual creature
like any other human. ‘Cause with disability, there’s
this social narrative around, – you know.
– Yeah. It’s kind of like
an asexual narrative. – Right?
– They expect that? Yeah, or there’s just always
a lot of questioning – around sexual function.
– Uh-huh. I get asked probably
every other day whether or not
I can get it up
or if it even works. – Are you serious? Wow.
– Yeah, yeah. And so having that
always questioned as a single person dating
is not the funnest thing. Oh, boy. – Ten.
– Good. Nice. Carson:
It was December 30th, 2013, and my family decided to go
to a trampoline park. Carson is a great gymnast, had taught gymnastics, and was really comfortable doing all sorts of moves
and flips. Carson:
I jumped into the pit, did a couple of rotations, bottomed out on the back
of my head, broke my neck. Holy shit. You’d think
that breaking your neck was really obvious,
but it wasn’t for me. And so I tried
to jump out of the pit, and it was like someone
just had unplugged me. So, my dad got
into the pit with me, and I said, “Dad, I think
I’m paralyzed.” The paramedics came.
They put me on the stretcher. And I turned to my mom
and I said, “It’s okay. This is the next step for me.” And then I started
the long process to recovery. ( chattering ) Being Mormon permeates
every aspect of your life. My dad has tended to be
slightly less orthodox in his practice of Mormonism and my mom has maybe been
a little more traditional. Camille: Carson asked us
to go to the Pride Parade. And I felt like,
“I’m supporting you
in every way I can. I don’t need to go
to a Pride Parade to show you
that I support you.” Man:
Oh, Heavenly Father,
we’re grateful that we could be together
with family. And we’re grateful for
the food that’s before us, and ask Thou might
please bless it. It will give us health
and strength that we can serve each other
and others better. In the name
of Jesus Christ, amen. – All: Amen.
– Okay. ( chattering ) – Kate, do you wanna go?
– To where? – To march in Pride.
– We’ll be there. – I’ll be there in spirit…
– No, you won’t. …while I’m sleeping
on my couch. – ( muttering )
– I have a new baby. I really don’t want you to take me
not walking the parade as being a sign
that I don’t support you. I never felt like
there was any kind of– that there was anything
but acceptance. It’s a little more complex
with mom and dad. It’s a little, like,
more desperate to be
on the same page and to know that we’re
on the same page. I just wish that people
didn’t have to chose between an existential crisis
and supporting their kids. Because when you stop
and think about it, LGBT issues
and the theology of the church are really incompatible. If people really want to
step into the world
of their queer kid, they have to adjust something
in their belief system – to accommodate that.
– Right. – You have to choose.
– Carson: It’s so scary. – Or you feel like
you have to choose.
– It’s so scary. But I distinctly remember you
at one point saying like, “Being gay is harder
than being paralyzed.” It’s not being gay,
obviously. – Being gay is not hard.
– Well, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s, um, you know, the fear that
you lose your community, you lose connection,
you lose belonging. Because I could be paralyzed
and still have family. I could be paralyzed
and still have acceptance and love and community
and a place in the world. But that was all in question
when I was coming out. I was just a 14-year-old when I started having
a sexual attraction for one of my guy friends. My hope was that
if I just kept my covenants that we make
in the Mormon church, that I could be healed. “Healed.” And so I just thought,
maybe I’ll just kill myself so that I can just skip the whole miserable part
of living this life. And I just talked
with my parents, and I was like,
you know what? I am not gonna get
into this dark place where I’m a threat to myself. I mean, in essence,
I was like, I think it’s better
that I’m alive and dating men than if I’m dead
and not dating men. Like, I think that’s
what God would want, too. Several members of our family
would say our faith was tested. I didn’t question my belief
that there was a God, or even whether
I believed that the church or the faith was in
was true. But I felt that I was on, um, what I would call
a slippery slope. Okay,
I’ve asked every year, and I wanna know
if I can fly the gay flag,
the rainbow flag… Oh, man, you are pushing it. …on our flag pole! ( laughing ) If you have a 3×5, I’ll hoist
the rainbow flag on Sunday. I mean, the house
will be burned down by the time we get back
from church, but, you know– ( laughing ) Is this your first time
vlogging? First time vlogging, yeah. – What do you think?
– I feel… – ( laughs )
– Weird? – I don’t know.
– It’s weird. Raymond:
Okay, we’re ready. Let’s go. Cross these. There you go,
and then give me
the hand on the hip. – Work!
– How do I look? Gorgeous.
We still have to come up with your drag name, though. – Yeah, we do.
– Yeah. Carson:
It was a very gradual decision to leave the church, for me. I eventually just believed that the church
was flat out wrong about LGBTQ issues. So, I called up my bishop
and I told him– I was like,
“I’m leaving. It’s time.” And I told him, “This is not me
giving up my values. This is not me leaving
my prior life. This is me moving forward.” Whoo! I’ve been president
of Affirmation for the last six months. Affirmation is a LGBTQ
resource organization for Mormons and ex-Mormons. Wow. Here come these guys. – Hello. Hi!
– Hi, Mom, Dad. – I’m Raymond.
– This is Raymond. It’s so nice
to finally meet you. – How are you?
– Very good. – Happy Pride.
– Oh, thank you. My family and nearly all
my friends are Mormon, so I was a little nervous
to come out and tell them. While I was in the closet,
I was extremely depressed. I was suicidal
at that point. I believed in God,
so I just asked the wind if this would just
please go away. “I just wanna be normal
and I don’t wanna be hated.” This organization
means so much to me, and it’s helped me
try to stay positive about the Mormon community, and I couldn’t be
more grateful. Thank you. I am so grateful
to be with you tonight. I was talking with one
of my former bishops today. And I told him
that spinal cord injury, which I have, is sometimes
a really beautiful gift. And what it gives me
is a constant reminder that as human beings one of the most beautiful
things that connects us is actually our suffering. During this Pride weekend,
I can sit before you and say that
I am a proud member of the LGBTQ community, and I look forward
to continuing the work that we’re doing
in Affirmation to make the world
a safer place. the church a safer place. The work that we’re doing
is literally saving lives. Thank you. There we go. We just love our son and could see
the goodness in him, and knew that
he was born this way. So how does this work
into our ultimate belief? Raymond:
So, I’ve literally
walked one block, and I already see
some protest signs. These are the typical,
garden variety signs that you see at Pride. I actually haven’t been
to pretty much any Pride where there aren’t
some protesters. But Salt Lake City tends
to bring out more protesters than at average parades. ( crowd cheering ) ( music playing ) ( cheering ) Man: Carson! ( music continues ) Oh, nice. Oh, I feel like–
I feel like– – I know.
– I just feel… – I feel emotional.
– …renewed. ( grunts ) Hey, we’re gonna join you. Okay. Oh, I love this! – I was really moved.
– Yeah. And all of a sudden,
just to have the cheering and the different comments
that were coming out, – I felt so loved.
– You can see all
the people’s faces. Yeah, really sincere.
Really accepted. Carson:
This is just a moment that I’ll never forget
ever, so… – Yeah.
– Thanks. Thanks. ( music playing ) – Whoo!
– Perfect. Perfect. Right where it should be. ( music continues ) Raymond:
In the beginning, Pride was called
“Gay Freedom Day.” And as long as LGBTQ people are facing any form
of discrimination, Pride is still relevant. And even if in some utopia we do have full true acceptance
and visibility, I still think
we should have a Pride, because it’s a celebration and it’s a tradition
that honors our roots. – ( music playing )
– ( cheers and applause ) ♪ The truth runs wild ♪ ♪ Like kids on concrete ♪ ♪ Trying to sedate
my mind in its cage ♪ ♪ And numb what I see ♪ ♪ Awake, wide eyed ♪ ♪ Yeah, I’m screaming at me ♪ ♪ Trying to keep faith
and picture his face ♪ ♪ Staring up at me ♪ Sing! ♪ Without losing
a piece of me ♪ ♪ How do I get to heaven? ♪ ♪ Without changing
a part of me ♪ ♪ How do I get to heaven? ♪ ♪ All my time is wasted ♪ ♪ Feeling like
my heart’s mistaken ♪ ♪ So if I’m losing
a piece of me ♪ ♪ So I’m counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ Counting to fifteen,
counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ Hey, so I’m counting
to fifteen ♪ ♪ Counting to fifteen,
counting to fifteen ♪ Sing it! ♪ So I’m counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ Counting to fifteen,
counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ So I’m counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ Counting to fifteen,
counting to fifteen ♪ ♪ Without losing
a piece of me ♪ ♪ How do I get to heaven? ♪ ♪ Without changing
a part of me ♪ ♪ How do I get to heaven? ♪ ♪ All my time is wasted ♪ ♪ Feeling like
my heart’s mistaken ♪ ♪ So if I’m losing
a piece of me ♪ ♪ Maybe I don’t want heaven. ♪ ( cheers and applause ) Happy Pride, everybody! ( music playing ) ( music continues )