In Guatemala City, we had the incredible experience of seeing the twentieth annual pride parade. We were one of the first groups to go to Guate in many years and the first group to witness the pride parade. We left our hostel with mixed expectations and ideas of what we were about to experience. Our group decided that it would to better to observe the parade instead of marching or participating. We walked down the main street while people anxiously waited for the start of the parade and stopped in a small cafe to order drinks and snacks.
The festivities began with two people on a motorcycle blowing a horn. Behind them followed drag queens in ballroom dresses and runway makeup, banners of organizations that support LGBTQ+ rights, floats and trucks playing music with colorful balloons and confetti, and people who were just walking in the parade to support a friend or stand up for themselves. The group stood watching all these incredible people walk by for about an hour. We heard crazy loud music, were handed condoms, and smiled at every person who was participating.
Eventually, it was time to leave. We walked back down the busy street, walking over colorful confetti and popped balloons. We arrived in the town spare, or “parque central”, for the parade after-celebrations. There was a big stage with four or five people giving speeches or getting people excited, and a large fountain surrounded by vendors of various types. On the right side of the square, a large orange colonial style building took up most of the view. Above the building, arching over the billowing white clouds, was a perfect rainbow. It was visible to everyone in the square and people were shouting and taking pictures because of how perfect the situation was. Here we were, having just watched a pride parade in one of the most conservative countries in Central America, and there was a genuine rainbow to cap off the day and make everything feel magical and otherworldly.
We got to experience a new and exciting event in a city that has a bad reputation of crime. Everyone was so happy and proud to be able to stand up for their rights and what they believed in. Everyone in the group was pleasantly surprised by how everything went as a whole, and we had a good conversation about American pride parades versus Guatemala. This was a new and amazing way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and everyone has stories to tell and new ideas about pride in general.
We are in Puerto Barrios for the last few days of our time here in Guatemala and it is so beautiful. We are excited to see all of our families very soon.