Rainbow-colored balloons, costumes, and signs decorated the streets in honor of Pride at the Honolulu Pride Parade through Waikīkī. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

The Honolulu Pride Parade brought out supporters of the LGBTQ+ community in its first in-person celebration in three years. With more than 120 groups in the parade, the turnout was expected to be over 8,000 people, according to Hawaiʻi News Now. People of all ages celebrated and attended the Pride festival held at the Waikīkī Shell following the parade.

A woman who participated in the parade wore a sash that said “Miss Gay” and wished parade goers a happy Pride. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

Jason Zhi, a 22-year-old student at UH Mānoa, attended the Pride parade to support his LGBTQ+ friends.

“Even though I’m not part of the [LGBTQ+] community, I think it’s important to uplift their voices because often people overlook what they have to say,” Zhi said. “I want my friends to know that their happiness matters to me and regardless of who they choose to love I will always be there for them.”

Zhi is from Kaupō, a remote town on the southeast side of Maui.

“Back home, there aren’t many opportunities for people to celebrate pride,” Zhi said. “Just being here today is so empowering and everyone is filled with aloha.”

Mandy Williams, a 68-year-old Honolulu resident, also joined in the Pride celebrations with her son who is gay.

“To me, Pride means being proud of who you are and living every day with no regrets,” Williams said. “When I was younger, gay people were always viewed differently and I hated that. Why would you treat someone horribly if they love someone who’s the same sex as them? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Her son, Robert Williams, shared his experiences after coming out as gay.

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being who you are,” the 37-year-old Honolulu resident said. “After I told my family I was gay, it was like there was this pressure lifted off of me. I was one of the fortunate ones who had a supportive group, but some people don’t have that. Gay rights still matter, and we need to take care of the little ones who are struggling with their identities.”

Supporters of legal abortions held signs with the faces of Supreme Court justices that said “fascist.” (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

The parade also had a group supporting legalized abortions. Many of the participants in that group could be heard chanting, “Down with the fascist Supreme Court.” Parade watchers cheered in agreement and took pictures of the signs attached to the vehicle.

“I’m so glad that they added this to the parade,” said Rika Tanimoto, a 31-year-old tourist from Osaka, Japan. “I see all in the news about banning abortions in the United States, and it makes me sad because women should decide for themselves. I think that this basic right is a good topic with pride.”

KCC will be celebrating Pride with a movie night on Thursday, Oct. 20. “Love, Simon” will be playing at 5 p.m. in ʻŌhiʻa Cafeteria. There is also a virtual Pride parade where students and staff can share an Instagram post about why they have pride or why they’re proud to be an ally. QR codes for the virtual parade can be found on the bulletin boards around campus. For additional information, contact BOSA at kccbosa@hawaii.edu.