Pride Month Begins with 39th Street Celebration

To showcase support for Pride Month, Bobbie Six twirls a flag rainbow down 39th.

Gabi Merchen, Senior Writer

If you didn’t find yourself on 39th street this weekend, you might catch yourself thinking that the sun is the only thing that’s out and proud in early June. It only takes one glance down 39th to find that this is most definitely not the case.

Despite the at times extreme heat and sparse presence of any wind chill, the LGBTQ+ population of Oklahoma came out in droves to celebrate the beginning of Pride Month. The Pride on 39th Festival boasted many brightly colored booths where festival attendees could purchase face painting from local artists, pride flags of all varieties, as well as refreshing beverages and snow cones to keep cool in the hot summer sun.

This lively mix of food, fun, and community engagement provided a mecca of understanding and support for the LGBTQ+ community of OKC. The streets were adorned with rainbow colored pride flags and balloons of all shapes and sizes. An infectious sense of pride permeated the entire atmosphere during one of the most anticipated pride events of the year.

The mainstage of the festival featured an exceptional lineup of performances, showcasing talent from the members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike. From dynamic drag queens and mesmerizing dancers to soul-stirring musical acts the stage served as a platform for the self-expression, empowerment, and solidarity that the festival itself represents. The crowd was enveloped in the spirit of the community, clapping and cheering along for every theatrical offering.

One of the many events put on by the festival was a singing competition Saturday, June 3 called “Pride Idol.” The competitive singing extravaganza featured a host wearing a tank top that read “I’m not just gay. I’m super gay,” which he proudly read aloud to the audience whose outfits were no less than a sight to behold. There were several sparkly dresses, glittery hats, and T-shirts that read all sorts of things that I’m not certain are publishable in a newspaper.

In short, the fashion did not disappoint, and neither did the singers in “Pride Idol.” Each of the nine contestants in the competition took to the stage to perform the song of their choice. A panel of three qualified judges sat before them, doing their best to discern who had the best performance of the day. The host dramatically eliminated the contestants one by one, with a victor being crowned at the end.

This year’s highly anticipated annual festival brought out a wave of colorful support and inclusivity right to the heart of OKC. The events were a resounding success, spreading the messages of love, acceptance, and equality all throughout the vibrant neighborhood. Attended by members of the LGBTQ+ community, their families, allies, and local vendors, the festival was the perfect place to celebrate the journey towards being one’s most authentic self.

While the event is primarily focused on promoting LGBTQ+ awareness and acceptance, the health and welfare of the community takes a front seat during Pride Month as well. In addition to the sparkling entertainment, delicious food, and fun vendors, there were also many health and wellness resources that were available during the event as the festivities continued all around. Free HIV testing as well as screenings for common sexually transmitted diseases were available on 39th street throughout the day, and many festival goers took advantage of the opportunity.

Nonprofit groups and advocacy groups were also present, providing vital information, support, and networking opportunities for attendees. The event fostered a sense of unity and provided a safe space for individuals to connect, learn, and gain access to resources that can empower their journey. As Pride-goer Stephanie Preston said, “To me, Pride is about being able to be myself with my family, and that’s priceless.”


Gabi Merchen is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.