March 20, 2013 | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
New Pride parade route to include 14th Street
Capital Pride Parade, gay news, Washington Blade

Capital Pride Parade (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Logan Circle Advisory Neighborhood Commission voted unanimously on March 14 to approve plans to allow the city’s Capital Pride Parade to complete its 1.5-mile route on 14th Street, N.W., between R and S Streets.

The decision to bring the parade to the rapidly developing commercial and entertainment corridor along 14th Street, where many LGBT people are moving, represents a change from past years, when the parade ended about a half mile south of the new location, at 14th and N Streets near Thomas Circle.

“The change represents Capital Pride’s interest in acknowledging the revitalization of 14th Street and the many businesses there that support the community,” according to a statement released by Capital Pride on Wednesday.

Capital Pride is the non-profit group that organizes the city’s annual LGBT Pride parade and festival, which are scheduled to take place this year on June 8 and 9 respectively. The parade is expected to include more than 170 contingents, including floats, vehicles, marching bands and people walking, according to the Capital Pride statement.

In its statement released on Wednesday, Capital Pride announced that Whitman-Walker Health, which provides medical services to the LGBT community and people with HIV, would be the main sponsor of the Capital Pride Parade and of Trans Pride. Trans Pride, an annual celebration of the D.C. area’s transgender community, scheduled for May 18, is one of several Pride-related events organized by Capital Pride.

The group’s executive director, Ryan Bos, told the Blade that with the exception of the new location for the Capital Pride Parade’s end point, the rest of the route will be identical to that followed in previous years. Bos noted that the parade will begin at 23rd and P Streets, N.W., next to P Street Beach, and will travel east on P Street to Dupont Circle.

It will travel partially around the circle to New Hampshire Avenue, where it turns right on R Street and then right again on 17th Street, in the heart of that street’s commercial strip that includes three gay bars and a gay restaurant.

The parade will travel south on 17th Street to P Street, where it turns left and heads to 14th Street. At that point, according to Bos, it will turn left and head north on 14th Street where it will pass the Whitman-Walker Heath headquarters at 14th and R Streets and the Washington Blade’s offices across the street from Whitman-Walker.

David Perruzza, vice president of the 17th Street gay bars Colbalt and JR.’s, said he doesn’t expect the changed parade route to have an impact on the 17th Street businesses, including bars and restaurants.

“There is no other street like 17th Street when it comes to Pride,” he said. “If you just walk down 17th Street you’ve got rainbows everywhere. It’s just a gorgeous street to be on.”

But Perruzza said the decision by Capital Pride to kick off the parade at 4:30 p.m. this year, as was the case for the first time last year instead of 6 p.m. in previous years, appeared to result in fewer people going out to the bars and clubs after the parade on Saturday night.

“Because people are out in the sun for hours and sometimes people are drinking on balconies and patios, a lot of people just don’t go out that night anymore,” he said. “But I think the more places the parade goes, the better. Being observed in more and different places can only help the cause.”

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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