For us queers of the great plains, pride used to be simple… Go to Minneapolis. Then came Sioux Falls, Fargo, Duluth, St.Cloud, Rochester, and Mankato prides. Times were so simple, now we got pride celebrations in Brookings, Yankton, Watertown, and even in Orange City this fall!
Now you’d think with all these competing prides that attendance at each would fall. Was planning on making Brooking’s first pride celebration friday night despite being tired from liberating and replacing the struts on a rust belt VW. Checked Facebook while eating supper and they’d already filled the venue to capacity. So saturday morn I arrive early at Sioux Falls Pride, and noted pride goers already parked a half mile away! Fortunately being a pro at this parking stuff and armed with the aforementioned newly resprung VW I managed a spot two blocks away without resorting to the handicapped parking permit or some obscure clause of the TIR international transportation treaty to justify quasilegal parking. The line for the womens room was already well out the door, and this being South Dakota where the GOP government still mandates strict gender discrimination even while taking a dump in private stalls, the women dared not utilize any surplus capacity in the mens room.
And I ain’t complainin’ a bit- When thousands of queer folks and friends get out and organized in a state with only a half million voters, the GOP has reason for worry. Especially since the GOP over the last few decades forgot all about building roads and their other traditional strengths and got all preoccupied with who slept with who in the privacy of their homes and which private toilet we should use. The GOP is safe in their wealthy enclaves of the Black Hills and tax havens like Dakota Dunes, but the thousands who attended pride will turn many a rural swing district blue in 2020- And the South Dakota Democratic Party, Pete for President campaigners, and a bunch of other activist groups were there to make it happen!