Tulsa Holds First Gay Pride Parade

Tuesday, July 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Members of Tulsa's gay community say they took a giant leap toward awareness Saturday. The first-ever Gay Pride Parade marched through central Tulsa. Organizers say turnout was better than expected. The sounds of people cheering outweighed the sound from about 20 protesters when Tulsa's first annual Gay Pride Parade kicked off. Parade organizers say as many as 1,000 people turned out for the parade. "We're making history here today folks,"says one parade goer. Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts was the parade's grand marshal. He is the only openly gay member of congress. Frank says he's helping Tulsa's gay community because it's harder to break down stereotypes in middle America than in bigger U.S. cities. "It is so so irrational, so not based on reality. So when people learn that friends, relatives, people they work with, people they do business with are gay or lesbian, it really diminishes prejudice," says Frank. "We are your mothers, your brothers, your sisters, your workers, your friends," says parade goer Meriellen Montgomery. Many of the protesters, for the most part, stood by quietly , holding signs. "There are a lot of false messages today," says protester Greg Solomon. Every so often one of them would read from scripture. Overall organizers and participants say the event went rather well without any major incidents.