Hundreds lined North St. Mary’s Street Saturday night for the 13th annual Pride “Bigger Than Texas” Parade, put on by PRIDE San Antonio.

Each year, residents of all ages and backgrounds come out in force to the event on The Main Strip, a.k.a. “The (Gay) Strip,” to demonstrate their pride as members or allies of the LGBTQIA – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, queer/questioning, intersex, and asexual – community.

The mood was electric and celebratory, with rainbow flags, shirts, shorts, wristbands, sunglasses, glitter and hats plentiful. Attendees cheered and danced as the cars and floats holding costumed representatives of local bars and organizations passed by. District 7 County Court Judge Genie Wright and District 379 Court Judge Ron Rangel were this year’s parade grand marshalls. John Nunez, community activist, was this year’s Spirit Marshall.

The festival and parade theme, “Peace. Love. Pride.,” served as a reminder of the need for acceptance and the end of violence in our world. 

“(The PRIDE Parade) is a great place for fellowship,” said Exus Marshall, a parade attendee. “You meet other people who are just like you. Pride is family.”

Many came on Saturday to stand in solidarity with those who lost their lives in the tragic Orlando shooting where 49 died and 53 were wounded. The event is known as the worst mass shooting in United States history. 

While the PRIDE parade and the festival held earlier in the day are celebrations complete with food, drinks, and music, they’re also a call to action to continue pushing for equal rights for the LGBTQIA community.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic ruling last year granted same-sex couples the right to marry in all 50 states. Just a week after, a number of same-sex couples exercised that right at a mass wedding ceremony at the 2015 PRIDE Festival, held each year at Crockett Park. Rangel performed the mass wedding ceremony for same-sex and opposite sex couples last year, along with Rev. Audrie Henry.

Many of those couples who participated returned to this year’s parade and festival to celebrate their one-year anniversary.

(Read more: Photo Gallery: Celebrating the LGBTQIA Community at PRIDE Festival)

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Top image: Hundreds participated in and attended the 13th annual PRIDE Parade.  Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

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Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com