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Volume 22/Issue 21/2004

Rip & Marsha



by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain 
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Halloween 21 Expected to Bring Out Thousands Oct. 28-31 in New Orleans

New Orleans - The giant circuit party weekend, Halloween 21 in New Orleans is expected to draw thousands to the Crescent City Thurs., Oct. 28th through Sun., Oct. 31st.

Freaks, Follies & Sideshows is this year's theme, and as always, the entire weekend benefits Project Lazarus, and is produced officially by Halloween's in New Orleans. The weekend is dedicated to Chris Maier and Jim McElgunn.

According to New Orleans City Life, "The annual event, which began in 1984 as a costume party for 800 people, has grown into a four-day spectacle that draws nearly 7,000 guests and has contributed more than $3.5 million to Project Lazarus, a residence for people living with AIDS."

This year more than 375 hosts, contributing $350 and up, and corporate sponsorship, will cover the costs of the event.

The extravaganza begins on Thurs., Oct. 28th, 7:30-11pm, with A Fantastical Menagerie Dinner & Silent Auction at the Ritz-Carlton, 921 Canal St., with open bar, $75 admission.

Fri., Oct. 29th, 10pm-3am, brings FunHouse Drinks, Dancing, Meet & Greet at Twi-Ro-Pa, 1544 Tchoupitoulas St., featuring DJ Reed McGowan, with open bar, $35 admission.

The big night is Sat., Oct. 30th, 10pm-4am, with Freaks, Follies & Sideshows Costume Dance Extravaganza at the Municipal Auditorium, Armstrong Park, adjacent to the French Quarter. The costume required event will feature DJ Warren Gluck, lighting by Bryan Holcombe, Magic and Illusions by Zakari and a performance by Gabrielle Porter & the DC Cowboys. Open bar, $60 admission.

Closing out the weekend is the Sun., Oct. 31st, 12noon-4pm, A Freakish Feast Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., with open bar, $35 admission.

The four day pass is $200 admitting one to the Thurs.-Sun. events and the three day pass is $125 admitting one to the Fri.-Sun. events. To purchase weekend passes, visit HalloweenNewOrleans.COM. Pick up passes on Fri., Oct. 29th from noon to 5pm at Oz, 800 Bourbon St., or at the door to any of the events. For other info call 504.945.5546.

Corporate sponsors include: Ambush Mag, Destination Management, Genre, Hibernia, House of Blues, Miller Lite, Oz, Rain Vodka, Regions Bank, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Twi-Ro-Pa.

Louisiana Ruling Highlights Underlying Intentions of Discriminatory Amendments

Washington - Human Rights Campaign President Cheryl Jacques made the following statement on the ruling by an elected Louisiana judge throwing out a constitutional amendment that denies marriage rights and all other legal protections to same-sex couples.

"This is an important ruling for fairness. Judge Morvant’s action today keeps discrimination out of the Louisiana Constitution. These amendments deny American families basic rights, responsibilities and protections. They are a political attempt to use some families as a wedge in the upcoming elections and would deny couples the most basic legal protections to care for one another. Americans don’t support discrimination, especially when it’s used for political purposes."

The amendment passed by a voter initiative on Sept. 18. The Louisiana Constitution provides that proposed amendments must be confined to one purpose. According to the Associated Press, Judge William Morvant ruled that the amendment, which was drawn up by the Legislature, was flawed because it would have banned civil unions in addition to marriage - and thus had two purposes in violation of the Louisiana Constitution.

Mab Segrest to Read at Loyola Oct. 13th

New Orleans - Loyola’s Women’s Resource Center is sponsoring a reading by Mab Segrest, with a book signing to follow on Wed., Oct. 13, from 7-8:30pm in the Audubon Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Mab Segrest is currently the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Tulane University, and the chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Connecticut College in New London. She has a long and distinguished career as a writer, activist, and academic. She received her doctorate degree in English from Duke University.

Her first book, My Mama’s Dead Squirrel, is considered the first book of feminist literary criticism of southern literature. Her second book, Memoir of a Race Traitor, was named an outstanding book on human rights. Her most recent book, Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice, is based on her travels in Africa, Asia, and the United States and reflects on the tremendous changes society is witnessing now and how it can envision more human and just alternatives to our current systems.

Before rejoining the academy in 1998 as a visiting professor at Duke, Segrest was instrumental in the feminist small press movement and a founding member of Feminary: A Lesbian Feminist Journal for the South. She is the founder of North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence, served on the Board of the Center for Democratic Renewal, and served as the coordinator of the Urban-Rural Mission, a program of the World Council of Churches. For more information, please contact Jen Brackett in the Women’s Resource Center at 504.864.7880 or jabracke@loyno.edu.

Natl. Feral Cat Day Oct. 15th

Jefferson, LA - In celebration of National Feral Cat Day, the Ark Animal Hospital, 4025 Jefferson Hwy., in Jefferson is offering to neuter 200 male cats, at $10 each by appointment only on Fri., Oct. 15th.

The event is sponsored by SpayMart and Petco Foundation. New Orleans has one of the largest feral cat populations in the United States, contributing greatly to animal overpopulation and high euthanasia rates. The solution is spay/neuter.

For information or an appointment call 504.838.9167, or visit www.SpayMart.ORG for more info.

Atlanta Town Hall Meeting on Blacks & AIDS Oct. 15th

Atlanta, GA - The Black AIDS Mobilization Initiative will host a town hall meeting Fri., Oct. 15th from 7:30pm until 9pm on the State of AIDS in Black America at Morehouse College School of Medicine located at 720 Westview Dr. in Atlanta. Targeted towards students of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the meeting will feature Congressman John Lewis, MTV Real World Philadelphia’s Karamo, George Curry of the National Newspaper Publishers Association as well as other invited guests. Also included during this event will be the launch of LEDGE, a new publication from the Black AIDS Institute exclusively produced by and distributed to students at HBCUs. This event is free of charge and open to the public. For more information, please call 213.353.3610.

Seeded by a $50,000 planning grant from Levi Strauss & Co., the Black AIDS Mobilization Initiative is led by five organizations including The Balm In Gilead, the Magic Johnson Foundation, the National Black Commission on AIDS, Outreach Inc. and the Black AIDS Institute, which serves as the fiscal sponsor and program manager for the Initiative. These organizations have developed a strategic action plan to reduce the number of Black Americans living with HIV and cultivate a centralized cadre of groups to resource people for mobilization throughout the country to provide technical support and assistance.

LEDGE, the nation’s first and only HIV/AIDS awareness magazine written by and for students at HBCUs will premiere its first issue during the town hall meeting. The free publication will feature stories on the impact of HIV on young Black women, the role R&B music plays in prevention, sexuality and important up-to-date facts and information on HIV/AIDS. It also features an exclusive contribution from Hidden Beach recording artist Jill Scott. Writers for LEDGE hail from Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central University, Grambling State University, Jackson State University and Johnson C. Smith University. Howard University journalism major Freddie Allen serves as the magazine’s student editor.

The Black AIDS Institute is the first Black HIV/AIDS policy center dedicated to reducing HIV/AIDS health disparities by mobilizing Black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront the epidemic in their communities. Its motto describes a commitment to self-preservation: "Our People, Our Problem, Our Solution." Visit www.BlackAIDS.ORG for more info.

NO/AIDS Task Force AIDS Awareness & Volunteer Training Seminar Oct. 16th

New Orleans - NO/AIDS Task Force is hosting a free AIDS Awareness Seminar and Volunteer Training Workshop from 8am to 5pm on Sat., Oct. 16 at the NO/AIDS Task Force office, 2601 Tulane Avenue, Suite 500.

The workshop will cover such topics as medical and psychosocial aspects of HIV/AIDS, risk reduction, syphilis, infected and affected dynamics, volunteering and other issues related to HIV/AIDS. Prior knowledge or experience is not required to participate in the training program.

Upon completion of the workshop, participants may opt to participate in a variety of volunteer placements including the Statewide HIV/AIDS Hotline, Community Awareness Network, Food For Friends and a host of other community service agencies. Help is also needed for community education and fundraising events. Additional training is also available for individuals interested in working in Testing and Counseling.

Free parking and a lite breakfast will be provided. To reserve a seat or get additional information, contact Doreen Keeler-Tollerson at 504.821.2601, ext. 205 or volunteer1@noaidstaskforce.org. Space is limited.

Women & Men Take Back the Night March Oct. 27th

New Orleans - Loyola University New Orleans announces the 14th Annual Women and Men Take Back the Night March on Wed., Oct. 27th, at 6pm. The march will begin in the Marquette Hall horseshoe, on the Loyola University main campus, 6363 St. Charles Ave.

This community event, sponsored by Loyola and Tulane universities, is a call to end sexual violence against women, men, and children. It is also a powerful healing ritual for survivors of violence and for the men and women who care about them. The evening is designed primarily to heighten awareness of sexual violence against women and to empower female survivors.

The emotionally powerful evening includes speakers from Loyola, Tulane and the New Orleans community who share their personal stories of abuse and healing. Following the speeches beginning at 6pm, a candlelight march will proceed at 6:45pm to Roger’s Chapel at Tulane. There will be an open microphone at 7pm, during the closing ceremonies.

T-shirts and buttons will be on sale the night of the event. The Take Back the Night march is open to the entire community—women, men, survivors and supporters. For more information, please contact Susanne Dietzel or Jen Brackett at 504.864.7880.

Jefferson SPCA presents From Wags to Witches Halloween Dance Oct. 29th

Kenner, LA - Come to the Halloween costume party that also benefits your pet charity, Jefferson SPCA. From Wags to Witches features dinner, open bar, music, dancing, costume contest and a silent auction on Fri., Oct. 29th, 8-11pm at the Crystal Plantation, 2716 Indiana Ave. in Kenner. Admission is $35 per person.

Tickets are on sale now. Call Jefferson SPCA at 504.733.7387 for information or to purchase tickets.

Jefferson SPCA's mission statement is: "Through education and spay/neuter programs, we strive to prevent animal homelessness, abuse, abandonment, neglect and death."

Proceeds from this event benefit Jefferson SPCA’s community programs and services to further this mission. Support your local humane society, Jefferson SPCA.

MCCGNO Seek Spirit Awards Nominees

New Orleans - The purpose of the Spirit Awards is to recognize those who demonstrate extraordinary goodness within the community. Awards are given annually at a gala produced by Metropolitan Community Church of Greater New Orleans (MCCGNO).

Awards to be presented include the Spirit of Care Award for providing or facilitating outstanding care to members of our community, The Larry Potts Spirit of Celebration Award for outstanding visual or performing arts, the Robert Udick Spirit of Community Award for extraordinary leadership or community building, and the Spirit of Education Award for excellent teaching or consciousness raising.

Don’t miss your opportunity to help recognize someone you know who does good things for the community! Please submit the name and contact information for the person you would like to nominate as well as the award you would like to nominate them for, along with a brief description of why, plus your name and contact infomation to Pastor Dexter by fax at 504.945.5390 or by mail to PO Box 71024, NOLA 70172.

The Spirit Awards presentation will be made on Nov, 20th, 7:30pm, at the Musee de Conti Wax Museum, 971 Conti Street. For more information or tickets call 504.945.5390.

15th Annual NO/AIDS Walk Expected to Generate $145,000

New Orleans - The 15th Annual NO/AIDS Walk, held in uptown New Orleans, is expected to generate at least $145,000. Walk Day brought in $104,000 and another $24,000 has arrived since Walk Day. The remaining funds are expected from corporate sponsors and donations made following the Walk.

Top individual fund-raisers this year include Toby Lefort, $9,525; Rip Naquin-Delain, $7,830; Cindy Catanese, $2,400; Brian Sands, $1,528; and Joseph E. Brooks, $1,500.

The top teams this year included: High School, St. Martin’s, $2,415; College, LSU, $4968.34; under 10 people, Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge, $1,935; and over 10 people, Harrah’s Casino- $3944.

The NO/AIDS Task Force mission is to reduce the spread of HIV infection, provide services, advocate empowerment,safeguard the rights and dignity of HIV-affected individuals, and provide for an enlightened public.

To join in this great fund-raising effort please send your donation to NO/AIDS Task Force, 2601 Tulane Ave., Suite 500, New Orleans, LA 70119. For additional information call 504.821.2601 or visit noaidstaskforce.org.

New Orleans Gay Easter Parade raises $700 for Food For Friends

New Orleans - The New Orleans Gay Easter Parade raised $700 for Food For Friends, Sept. 30th at the
Golden Lantern
, 1239 Royal St.

Godfrey Thompson and Jim Heffernan, the owners of the Golden Lantern and Marcy Marcell, the entertainment director, turned over their establishment and stage to Easter Grand Marchal (EGM) V, Princesse Stephaney, who presented a night of first class entertainment.

The showgirls who donated their time, talent and tips to this very needy cause were (in no particular order): Lisa Beaumann, ZaaZaa, Anita Rich Goodman, Tammy Tarmac, Madame Adam, Tanisha "TT" Thompson, Eva Las Vegas, Ms. Billy (who also supplied the sound), Miss Pride Fest 2005 Savanna DeLorean, Marcy Marcell; Pride Grand Marshal 25 Regina Adams, Sandy Phillips and EGM V Princesse Stephaney.

Also, filling in as emcee was Tony Leggio. Stephen Patrick served as stage manager.

Carl Ford, the producer of the parade introduced Wally Sherwood as the Easter Bunny for Gay Easter Parade VI. Sherwood informed the audience that he will be hosting a benefit for the Gay Easter Parade/Food For Friends. Date, time and place has not been set yet.

Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain, Ambush Mag, the New Orleans Gay Easter Parade’s first Grand Marshals and now Media Sponsor of the event were acknowledged for their unwaivering support. It was pointed out that the parade could not have grown to it’s present size without thier help.

Lance V. Ford, Founder; Carl J. Ford, Producer and Rip and Marsha Naquin-Delain, EGMs I, Media Sponsors and Public Relations Directors are elated to present a check for $700 to Food For Friends. Their heartfelt gratitude is extended to all who made this possible.

The success of this benefit was due to the generosity of the audience and two wonderful contributors: Gene Adams of the Club New Orleans and DB Carnes of Krystal on Bourbon, who each contributed $250.

For additional information on the Gay Easter Parade, visit GayEasterParade.COM.

House of Blues Hosts Holiday Fundraiser for Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists Dec. 23rd

New Orleans - This December, the House of Blues is hosting an event to commemorate Daniel Price, who was murdered in San Francisco in 2003 defending his young wife. Daniel, a native New Orleanian and NOCCA alumnus, was a gifted artist.

Proceeds will benefit the Daniel Price Memorial Fund for Aspiring Artists, which awards an annual scholarship to NOCCA fine arts graduates in remembrance of Daniel.

Set for Thurs., Dec. 23rd, 9pm, at the House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., convenient parking is available at Canal Place and along Decatur Street. Entertainment by some of New Orleans’ hottest musicians will include Kermit Ruffins, Rebirth Brass Band and Rich Vogel, Stanton Moore of the Galactic All-Stars and special friends.

The event will also feature a silent auction, which will include artwork by local artists, including those Daniel worked closely with. Auction items will also include donations from area businesses. Daniel’s art will be on display at the House of Blues and prints will be sold to benefit the NOCCA scholarship fund. General admission is $30.

Patron are $100 and limited. The patron party, 7-9pm, at the House of Blues Parish Room will include entertainment by jazz legend Pete Fountain. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Tickets are available at www.hob.com or www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at the door. For more information call 504.529.BLUE

For more information about the Daniel Price Memorial Fund, please visit www.danielpricememorial.org.

Lambda Legal Launches 1st Natl. Education Campaign Aimed at Making Schools Safer for LGBTQ Youth

New York - Lambda Legal, the nation’s oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legal rights advocacy organization, launches its first national youth education campaign in an effort to make the nation’s schools safer for LGBT and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.

A national survey of LGBTQ students found that 77.9% heard remarks such as "faggot" or "dyke" frequently at school and that 39.1% had been physically assaulted at school because of their sexual orientation. Of those same students, 64.3% felt unsafe in their school because of their sexual orientation.

"Many of our nation’s schools simply aren’t safe for gay students — we know that from the research but mostly from calls we get every day from young people all across the country," said Kevin Cathcart, Lambda Legal’s Executive Director. "We’ve won powerful court rulings in recent years that make it absolutely clear that schools have to protect gay youth and treat them equally. This campaign is putting those court victories to work in schools nationwide by telling students what their rights are and what to do to make sure those rights are enforced."

LGBTQ students having knowledge of their legal rights has proven to be a key factor in creating safer schools. Lambda Legal’s new campaign, Out, Safe and Respected, provides in-depth information on a range of rights, along with specific steps to take to make sure those rights are respected. Areas covered include:

* Tips to ensure basic safety at school,

* Legal and practical help for gay-straight alliance groups,

* Tips for heterosexual students or adults to be allies for LGBTQ youth,

* Negotiation tactics to use with adults in schools,

* Concrete steps for making schools LGBTQ-friendly, and

* Background on laws protecting LGBTQ students

Several recent court rulings resulting from Lambda Legal’s efforts have set precedents and created tangible rights for students to engage in activities - most notably establishing gay-straight alliance groups - that proactively promote tolerance and combat antigay harassment in schools.

The first phase of Lambda Legal’s Out, Safe and Respected campaign will run through the end of the year and will feature broadcast and print PSAs, a website with in-depth information and action tips, a kit with information you and adults alike can use to make schools safer and outreach to organizations nationwide. This effort marks the beginning of Lambda Legal’s increased focus on using the internet as channel to reach LGBTQ youth — a group with a higher-than-average percentage of online users.

NGLTF Unveils Satirical Voter Education Campaign - Welcome to the United States of Gaymerica

Washington - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) unveiled a controversial new e-marketing voter education campaign satirizing the hateful and divisive rhetoric being used by anti-gay forces to incite irrational fears in the American people. The Welcome to the United States of Gaymerica campaign illustrates the absurdity of these divisive, fear-mongering, and false assertions by way of an "over-the-top" view at what America would look like if their assertions were carried to their expected conclusions. The three part Internet film begins with an introductory black screen message, followed by the satirical Gaymerica Web page, and concludes with a get-out-the-vote message and resources.

Modeled after other Internet-based education campaigns and donated to the Task Force, the Gaymerica campaign is designed to reach lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and those in allied communities who may not have otherwise been reached with Task Force and others’ analyses of key issues facing the LGBT community this election cycle and the positions of candidates on those issues.

"Gaymerica.ORG is specifically meant to reach those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied communities who may not be planning to vote this year," explains Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman. "Perhaps they are younger, or cynical, or turned off by the process, or simply don’t pay attention to elections at all. Research shows, to catch their attention, we have to cut through all of the Web and e-mail clutter that is out there, do something edgy, controversial and different than our typical ‘mainstream’ messages - which are often humorless and always very serious."

Foreman continued, "The reasons being given by opponents to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are absurd and based on irrational fears. These fears are being used to divide the nation - and to justify the discrimination and injustices our people face in the workplace, in health care benefits, in hospital visitation rights, in taxation, and in many other areas. All of this must be rejected and voting is a way to do that."

Gaymerica contains the anti-gay myths and slanders seen and heard everyday on the Internet, in the mainstream media, and even on the floor of the U.S. Congress. For example, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) said "if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery." Taking off on this, the Gaymerica site has a satirical article about the U.S. Senate passing a Bovine Love Amendment legalizing bovine/human marriage. The story states that opponents are challenging the law "on the grounds that ‘I moo’ does not sufficiently express the will of the betrothed."

The Task Force said it was aware that some people may find the material on Gaymerica controversial, or perhaps, even offensive.

"What is truly offensive is the ugly, divisive, and false information anti-gay forces have been purveying for more than 30 years. Instead of diminishing over time, these attacks are escalating. This past Sunday, for example, Dr. James Dobson, head of the $125 million behemoth Focus on the Family said ‘...but we profoundly disagree with what [homosexuals] want to accomplish with children.’ We need to expose the absurdity of their claims, particularly since they are almost never challenged by the media or by non-gay political or faith leaders. Satire is a good way to do that."

The Task Force said it hoped people would forward the site on to others, and that it would spark thought and discussions about the lies, distortions, and myths told about LGBT people, that people would visit the Task Force Web site to learn more about the issues, and above all, be encouraged and energized to vote.

For more information about our opponents, check out the reports in the Task Force Marriage Information Resource Center, online at www.thetaskforce.org/marriagecenter.

For more outrageous anti-LGBT quotes, download the free quote compilation PDF, "Know Thy Enemy" online in the Task Force Resource Library at: www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/KnowThyEnemy.pdf.

QTV News Launches Natl. Expansion for G & L News Magazine Programming

San Francisco - QTV News has selected Key West based UplinkUSA as a strategic partner to provide gay news, articles and film at www.qtvnews.tv. QTV News magazine has been broadcasting in San Francisco since 1995, providing quality news programming for the gay and lesbian community.

Comprised of media professionals producing engaging television content to the LGBT community, QTV News is now expanding nationwide. "We have broadcasters contributing gay news and film footage to us for national exposure."

Reporting on the impact of Hurricane’s Charley, Frances, and Ivan on LGBT communities in Florida, for example. "Our goal is to build on the success of our years of work in San Francisco. We will feature news from gay communities in the USA and beyond", said Rahn Fudge, Founder and CEO.

UplinkUSA, www.uplinkusa.com, is an internationally recognized company specializing in website programming for enhanced media delivery. QTV News will make use of the internet’s first programmable, multi option Media Player. "Our player fits well for an online TV Station" said Paul Vizard, UplinkUSA President. "Websites with video can consolidate all their content into one place. The Media Player can rotate clips to full length movies, even serve advertisements and links in a pre set order, all managed from a simple administration area.

"This player is amazing, said Clarence Swiggins, for QTV News. "It takes media delivery to a whole new level. The superior technology suits our national expansion. ‘"We’re excited about their ability to assist us in delivering a web based solution that can bring the LGBT community together."

UplinkUSA’s network of Florida based websites boasts an E-Zine newsletter of 450,000 subscribers, fitting well with the expansion of QTV News. "The gay and lesbian community is a group with desirable demographics, and very active internet users. Our audience is approximately 20 million people, making QTV News a desirable advertising venue. Advertisers can use QTV News to reach a very active captive audience." said Swiggins. When MTV Viacom launch "LOGO" in Feb 2005 we will be ready to provide a catalog of news and entertainment for their audience." Advertising spots are available in the E-Zine and in the QTV News Media Player.

Month of November means PRIDE x 2! in Palm Springs w/8,000 Grand Marshals

Palm Springs, CA - While most folks around the country are bracing for their first brush with cold wintry weather (or in hurricane-recovery mode), the folks in Palm Springs, California, are preparing for their annual Pride celebration. And not just one Pride celebration either. Palm Springs celebrates LGBT Pride and Leather Pride each year in November.

For most folks from other parts of the country, and, for that matter, from other parts of the world, LGBT Pride is most often celebrated sometime during the month of June - close to the historic date of the Stonewall riots and rebellion (which is credited for having started the modern LGBT Pride movement). But in the Western United States, and particularly in California, Pride celebrations begin in May and continue right on through November, when the last of the annual celebrations wraps up in sunny Palm Springs.

"It’s actually a fun time to have Pride," said Stephen Boyd, owner of the Triangle Inn Palm Springs. "The weather’s great in Palm Springs in November, and it gives everybody an excuse to get away and have some fun in the sun before having to get geared up for the holiday season."

Greater Palm Springs Pride officially kicks off on Fri., Nov. 4th (although celebrations will have begun as early as the previous weekend with the annual Halloween Festival and celebration on Arenas Road), and will continue through Sun., Nov. 6th. The Pride Festival, which takes place in Angel Stadium, the city’s minor league baseball stadium, runs both Saturday and Sunday, and attracts over 60,000 people from all over the country and around the world. The Pride Parade itself is held on Sunday morning, and proceeds right down Palm Springs’ main drag (pun intended) -world-famous Palm Canyon Drive.

This year’s celebration, which is themed: World Pride: It Starts with You! is a particularly special event for several reasons. First and foremost is the fact that this year, the city’s openly gay Mayor Ron Oden, will be riding in the parade along with the entire Palm Springs City Council (two of whom are also openly gay). Mayors and city officials from other desert cities will also be participating.

The 8,000 Grand Marshals in this year’s Pride Parade will also make Palm Springs’ 2004 Pride celebration pretty special, if not unusual. That’s right. Not one. Not two. 8,000 Grand Marshals - all of the four thousand same sex couples who were married in San Francisco this Spring have been invited to participate in the parade as Grand Marshals. In explaining the rationale for the decision, Greater Palm Springs Pride President Jack Schloeder said, "These couples stand as a powerful symbol of the enduring determination of our community to achieve equal rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation."

Less than a week after Greater Palm Springs Pride, the Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert "turns up the heat" with its own Pride celebration-Palm Springs Leather Pride. Leather Pride starts on Thurs., Nov. 11th, and continues on through Sun., Nov. 14th. Planned events include the annual Mister Palm Springs Leather contest, the naming of Mister Palm Springs Leather 2005, and a Leather Vendor Market, which will take place all day Saturday and Sunday at the Desert Palms Inn in Cathedral City.

So if you’re suffering from Summer withdrawal, if you need a Pride fix (whether of the regular or leather variety), or if you’re just looking for a little fun in the "Gay" sun, you won’t find a better place than Palm Springs in November! It’s PRIDE x 2!

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