Madison celebrates LGBT pride with a parade on State Street and around the state Capitol on Aug. 9.
“It should be a really fun time, and we think we’re going to have an even bigger parade this year,” said Steve Starkey, executive director of the Madison-based OutReach LGBT Community Center, which is organizing the event. More than 2,000 marched in 2014.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve done it on State Street,” he added.
Plans are still coming together, but the Madison Police and Fire departments may participate, as well as a variety of floats and the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.
“At noon, people with floats will convene in the 500 and 600 block of State and, at 1 p.m., we will kick off and march up to the Capitol Square,” Starkey said. “We’ll circle the square and, when we get back to the top of State Street, we will stop. And then there will be a rally on the Capitol steps.”
The grand marshal of the parade is Christina Kahrl, Chicago ESPN Sports reporter and a board member of Equality Illinois.
The rally’s master of ceremonies will be former state Rep. David Clarenbach.
While serving in the Wisconsin Assembly in 1982, Clarenbach wrote and helped pass the nation’s first law prohibiting discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation.
The theme of this year’s parade and rally is, “The ‘T’ is not silent. Respect transgender lives!”
“Now that marriage equality has been achieved — even though there’s still a lot of opponents and it’s still probably an uphill battle to get married in a lot of places — we feel like transgender rights is the really important next step in terms of gaining acceptance,” Starkey said. “In the LGBT umbrella, they’re still the least accepted and the most oppressed of the LGBT — the most at risk.”
OutReach does a lot of work with the Madison Transgender Association. “We realized that our transgender clients suffer the most depression,” Starkey said. “They’re harassed on the buses, they’re harassed on the street. They often get fired from jobs. Unemployment in that community is very high. Suicide is much higher than in the general population.”
The first Madison Pride Parade took place in 1989. It’s been held nearly every year since. Care was taken to avoid scheduling the parade during similar events in other cities, so that as many people as possible could participate.
All are welcome to join the parade.
“Most people (who) march will march with a particular contingent, but I think a lot of times the contingents are happy to just have people join with them,” Starkey said.
Related events include:
• At 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, Woof’s nightclub, 114 King St., launches its eighth annual “Spit-n-Seamen” boat cruise on Lake Monona. Tickets are $50 and are available at the club.
• Woof’s King Street Pride Block Party takes place 4 p.m–midnight on Aug. 15. The fundraiser last year raised $3,000. Woof’s is just off the Capitol Square.
• At 9 p.m. on Aug. 15, Plan B nightclub, 924 Williamson St., holds its sixth anniversary party. The event features Katya from the television series RuPaul’s Drag Race.
• From 10 a.m–5 p.m. on Aug. 15 and Aug. 16, the fifth annual Madison Pride Volleyball Tournament takes place at Callahan’s Sports Pub, 1902 Bartillon Drive, on the city’s west side.
The 2015 OutReach Pride Parade marches rain or shine.
For more information
Visit www.lgbtoutreach.com. Donations are accepted at the event and anytime online.
To volunteer or help sponsor the parade, contact