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Celebrating ABQ’s LGBT community

[photoshelter-gallery g_id=”G0000QKwJ2QLtaAM” g_name=”Albuquerque-Pride-Parade-2015″ width=”600″ f_fullscreen=”t” bgtrans=”t” pho_credit=”iptc” twoup=”f” f_bbar=”t” f_bbarbig=”f” fsvis=”f” f_show_caption=”t” crop=”f” f_enable_embed_btn=”t” f_htmllinks=”t” f_l=”t” f_send_to_friend_btn=”f” f_show_slidenum=”t” f_topbar=”f” f_show_watermark=”t” img_title=”casc” linkdest=”c” trans=”xfade” target=”_self” tbs=”5000″ f_link=”t” f_smooth=”f” f_mtrx=”t” f_ap=”t” f_up=”f” height=”400″ btype=”old” bcolor=”#CCCCCC” ]Dozens of fancy floats, some with passengers tossing Mardi Gras-style beads showing all the colors of the rainbow, passed hundreds of supporters shouting words of encouragement to Albuquerque’s gay community on Saturday.

The Pride Parade, a staple of Albuquerque Pride – a week of events celebrating the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community – took over Central Avenue in the morning. Stretching from Girard to San Pedro, spectators filled the sidewalks on both sides of the street, and the restaurants and bars along the way.

Organizers said the event is one of the largest parades in the state and thousands were expected to take part.

Miss Youth New Mexico Pride 2015 Serket Vane smiles at the crowd while riding on the Central Avenue parade route during Saturday’s Albuquerque Pride Parade. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Miss Youth New Mexico Pride 2015 Serket Vane smiles at the crowd while riding on the Central Avenue parade route during Saturday’s Albuquerque Pride Parade. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

“Everything revolves around support in my eyes,” said 51-year-old Ray Dominguez, who was at the parade with HyPride, a LGBT group affiliated with Hyatt Hotels. “We’re trying hard to let people know New Mexico is gay-friendly and a great place to live.”

Sher Latiner, 23, said that she has attended the parade for the past five years and that it gets bigger every year. The lively crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder in places and the floats received a chorus of cheers as they rolled up the street. Business, social groups, politicians and churches all made floats for the parade, some of which blared music as dancers trailed behind.

“I want everyone to know you are all welcome at my company,” said 26-year-old Vanessa Blanchette, the owner of Peace Medical Marijuana, which had a float.

Rising Sun Christian Community, a church that welcomes people in the LGBT community, also had a display.

Wearing balloon costumes, people from Axis Salon and Spa and AIM Properties, including Ken Whitehat, left, dance on Central Avenue. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

Wearing balloon costumes, people from Axis Salon and Spa and AIM Properties, including Ken Whitehat, left, dance on Central Avenue. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s brave to watch everyone come out here and be who they want to be,” said Ashley Muniz, a 25-year-old, who was in the parade.

This year’s procession had numerous displays and signs advocating for transgender people. Donald Gallegos, 22, was on one of the floats for the trans community.

“Even in the gay community, trans people are pushed aside,” Gallegos said. “Sometimes, they feel excluded not only from the rest of society, but from gay culture as well.”

The parade went all the way to Expo New Mexico – the fairgrounds – where a day full of activities was planned as part of PrideFest.

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