This weekend I hung out in Quito so that I could go to the Marcha del Orgullo LGTBI Quito (Quito Pride Parade)! Only three of us decided to forego the chance to visit Baños with the rest of the group. I ended up spending most of the weekend with my family, which was a lot of fun. It was pretty significant for me that my older host brother even said he wanted to come to the march with us, even though he ended up having to drive my host mom to do her daily perfume deliveries.
On Saturday afternoon, KC and I set out to fun Quito Pride in La Mariscal, the part of the city that they call Gringolandia because there are so many tourists. We showed up a bit late, and decided to wait near the end of the route. After about an hour and a half we connected up with Gabe, who also stayed in Quito for the weekend, but the parade hadn’t arrived yet!
Finally we went looking for the parade. When we found it stopped in the road, blocks away from where we had been waiting, it was clear why there had been such a delay. I took a video of the whole thing, and even then, it was only eleven minutes! I expected the turn out to be small since Ecuador is a pretty conservative Catholic country, but I was still surprised how small the turn out was. For a city about four times the size of Seattle to have a Pride parade with less than a fourth of the people, gave me a greater appreciation of what it means to be openly gay in Ecuador.
After the march, everyone gathered in the Plaza Foch for some inspirational speakers and a few performances. We had a chance to see two performances before we left.
I have a deep respect for all the brave Ecuadorians who came out to show there pride and stand up for their rights. The culture here is not very open or educated on LGBTI issues or concerns. I know they might have a long way to go, but I know my people will get the respect and equality that they deserve!