The Beat

Pride_Banner_723x250-2.jpg POSTED BY EA Staff ON Aug 13, 2013

Pride in Stockholm

By Jose Caban, EA

When I was a kid, the idea of treating people differently simply due to arbitrary traits, skin color, gender, whatever, was foreign to me, so I've always been a strong supporter of the LBGT rights movement, among others.  Through sheer dumb luck, my last Saturday in Stockholm during my two month DICE trip happened to be the day of the Pride parade.  Far be it from me to pass up a chance to join a good party, I signed up to take part as soon as I found out how.  The DICE team got together the week beforehand to discuss the day's itinerary: where to meet, what to wear, how many Chuzzles and soap bubble guns we would get, and to plan out how much food and drink we'd need.

The day arrived, and it was my job to help decorate and setup our contingent on the parade route once our decorations and props arrived.  When my alarm went off, I donned some Zebra pants and a Viking helmet (only seemed appropriate) then headed to the metro.  Being new to Stockholm and not a permanent resident like my DICE colleagues, I got lost on the way there, but luckily ran into DICE people I knew, so we were able to find our truck together.

After a little bit of waiting and a few false alarms, everyone stood up, the hula hoop started spinning, the photographers took their lens covers off and we were ready to go.  The Chuzzles were being carried and the soap guns were loaded. I had extra waters and beers in my backpack, and we all began the cheering.  The DJ turned up the music and we started the party.  The entire parade route was full of people carousing, and enjoying the event.  Heck, there were numerous people waving flags from their windows in support.  As bubbles floated off the truck and from those of us on foot, kids ran up to pop and play with them, laughing and having the kind of fun kids have.  I don't know the numbers, but it seemed like at least a third of Stockholm was out to support the event.

I'd do this every Saturday if I could, but these parades aren't just about fun – they're about fighting for freedom of expression. Someday, we'll be able to hand Chuzzles out to the kids for no other reason than it's Saturday and there won't be any more pride parades.