Leesburg 4th of July Parade

From the Why Didn’t I Think of That Department.

Per request, a place to comment on our third year in the Leesburg 4th of July Parade. We are very pleased to report that Equality Loudoun won Best Float in the “Most Creative – 15 & over” category. Woot! Thank you, volunteers, and thank you, Leesburg! See more pictures here.

And what was so creative about it, you may ask? Our working theory is that actual reference to the Declaration of Independence is a very creative approach to the holiday these days. As I was just asked by one of our participants, what’s so patriotic about a rolling advertisement for a retail store shouting to the crowd “40% off”?

The presence of commercial promotions as part of the parade could be a legitimate gripe for parade purists. After all, some people object to the political campaigning that has become a fixture at these events – and that, at least, pertains to the democratic process.

Curiously, though, we have a serial complainer who doesn’t care about any of that, probably because she is too fixated on the GLBT community to notice it. In yet another drive-by post attacking Equality Loudoun, local Focus on the Family** writer Barbara Curtis accuses us of being “inappropriate” and (somewhat comically, considering that we are talking about a PARADE) of “calling attention to ourselves.” Among other things, she complains about a sign from two years ago that said “I love my two Daddies,” and claims that we “whined” about being “ill-received” in some letters to the editor in some previous year.

I submitted the following comment correcting some of her misrepresentations, and followed up with a note the next day, pointing out that it’s considered dishonorable to “make remarks about another person by name and then refuse to post a polite reply from that person.” My hope was that, as a member of the local community that we both live in, she would do the right thing. She has let me know, via email, that she has no intention of posting my comment.

Hi Barbara,

You’re talking about Equality Loudoun again? I admit, that’s a little surprising. Actually, we have pictures on our website from the 2005, 2006 and 2007 Leesburg parades, so you can always do fact-checking and not have to rely on your memory.

In 2006 there was a measure on the ballot that our organization was working to defeat, so our float was more focused on protecting our Bill of Rights. I did receive one letter from a gentleman who very politely objected to that kind of political content in the parade. He was also careful to point out that he equally objected to the float in favor of the amendment, as well as to all the candidates for public office who used the parade as a campaign venue – and told them so. I can certainly understand where he’s coming from. The reality, though, like it or not, is that political campaigning in 4th of July parades has become a tradition that’s probably here to stay.

Your memory may also be playing tricks on you regarding the letters you mention. Those are also posted on our website, but none are from myself or Jonathan. They are by some of the straight friends from the churches and other civic groups that walked with Equality Loudoun, and described the positive reaction from the crowd. For example, this one from the Leesburg Today says in part:

“As we proceeded down the streets people were watching and reading. It was so heartening to see people rise to their feet and hear thunderous clapping and shouts of “Yeah, that’s right,” “Way to go,” and “Thank you.”

I cried.

I miss the old parades with the fire trucks and marching bands. Over the years I’ve watched the parades become more political with cars plastered with candidate’s signs. And it is nothing more than advertising. But, the float like the one Equality Loudoun put together, with its patriotic slogan “With Liberty and Justice for ALL,” was thoughtfully put together in keeping with the theme of the day and hopefully reminded people of the struggle that is still going on in this country for some people.”

It’s ok, I know that things can start to blur and run together over the years. If you’ve never been to the Leesburg parade before, it’s really a classic small town event. The standard for entries is always a patriotic theme, and we’re proud to have won Best Float in the “Most Creative” category this year. The organizers have told me each year how much they value our participation. Please stop by and enjoy the pictures – denuk has it right, but a picture is worth 1000 words, as they say.



**The behavior that Barbara is engaging in – misrepresenting our message, lying about our reception – and then refusing to allow any public dialogue or correction – is standard operating procedure for Focus (more on that later). They, like other instruments of the AGI, rely on their ability to make things up about our community and then insulate their audience from the information that would expose their fabrications.

Unlike Barbara, we don’t need to censor comments on our blog; we don’t have any misrepresentations to hide. We are ready and willing to have this conversation.

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13 Responses to Leesburg 4th of July Parade

  1. Jack says:

    Thanks, but you still didn’t answer the question — “15 and over WHAT?” (Age, people, beers…?)

  2. Jack says:

    If your pictures are inclusive, I see nothing “inappropriate” about your float or signs, except maybe the We The People part, which is the Preamble of the Constitution (1787), not the Declaration of Independence.

    I guess she just thinks YOU are inappropriate.

    For crying out loud, unless you’re out there smooching each other in public, little 8-year-olds that don’t know about Equality Loudoun would, from what I can see, have no idea what your organization is about, and none could take offense. Meanwhile, those who do know what you are about would immediately get the point, even if they do not agree with it.

    Nicely done, and, from that standpoint, the award is deserved.

  3. Russell says:

    Thanks Jack … and yes, the pictures are fairly inclusive. I do not see a couple represented, but you got the idea.

    … 15 years of age.

  4. David says:

    Beers. No, I don’t know – I looked at the application for further clues, but it doesn’t say anything more. I assumed it meant “over age 15.” They are giving the winners certificates tomorrow night, so I will probably be able to figure it out then.

    I think you have it exactly right – she just thinks we are inappropriate, period. It’s revealing that she chooses something from 2005 to complain about – the infamous “two Daddies” sign (which was “carried” by a dog, incidentally). Some guy wrote a letter to the editor about how he had to explain to his five year old why he didn’t have two Daddies, which doesn’t really seem like a difficult thing to explain. Some people feel the need to go into way too much detail, when a simple “because your Mom and I love each other and you, and that’s our family” would suffice.

    Thank you very much for the kind words.

  5. David says:

    What? I see a few obvious couples (the smoochiest of whom are straight, I can’t help pointing out. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!).

    Which is kind of interesting in itself. Although many of us were there as couples, that isn’t immediately evident. If I may be so bold, I offer the theory that rumours of our obsession with sexuality are vastly exaggerated.

  6. eileen says:

    Congrats! This looks like quite a success! I miss you guys big time!

  7. Gretchen says:

    I also wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped with decorating and un-decorating the float it looked fabulous!!!
    And I also wanted to give big thanks to our host for this year BQ after the parade.
    Sorry to have had to eat and run but had a really great time. (Joy next time bring a swimsuit :0)

  8. David says:

    Did anyone actually witness Joy being pushed? Maybe she fell in. D. was framed!! Exonerate D.!!

    I think that Russell is out there somewhere being puzzled by my “couples” comment, but is too nice to say anything. A couple of what? (Signs, people, beers…?)

    The rumors are true, I’m a dork.

    Hi Eileen, miss you too!

  9. Russell says:


  10. David says:

    Age, as it turns out. Our counterpart is a (very adorable) Brownie Troop.

    Here is the certificate they presented to us.

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