1. Log Cabin Republicans
In anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court voting to overturn Prop 8 later this month, the Los Angeles chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans (the gay Republican group) offered people the opportunity to pose for mock wedding photos at the LA Pride 2013 festival. They provided a bouquet of flowers and a wedding veil for people to wear while standing under a flowery arch.
Jonathan Fitzgarrald reported that 100 percent of the lesbian couples who stopped by the booth took the opportunity to pose. Among gay men, 50 percent of Latino and/or Black couples posed but only 1 percent of white couples posed.
Fitzgarrald had no explanation for such sex differences except to suggest that women are more commitment-minded than men.
The group, which also offered a mock wedding license to go with the photo, took more than 200 wedding photos on Saturday in this PR effort.
“We just want people to see that we’re fun and cool,” said Ben Coleman, the group’s events chairman. “We believe in marriage equality and gay rights, even if we have different political beliefs.”
Despite that, many people walked away as soon as they realized they were talking to a group of Republicans.
“I don’t run away if someone says they’re a Democrat,” said Coleman, “especially if they’re cute.”
2. Agency For Surrogacy Solutions – India
Among the throng of booths handing out condoms and lube was something completely different: the Agency For Surrogacy Solutions, which was promoting both its domestic surrogacy services and its connections in the Ukraine and India.
At the booth, Lauri Berger De Brito and Kathryn Kaycoff-Manos, co-founders of what they say is the country’s first fertility consulting company, provided information and options for “intended parents,” including a surrogacy comparison by country price sheet. In India, the approximate cost of surrogacy with a Caucasian egg donor is $58,750, more than $60,000 cheaper than the cost in the United States, according Berger De Brito.
Recently, Berger De Brito visited 20 surrogacy clinics in four cities in India and came away impressed. There are misconceptions that the women hired to carry children in India, who are quite poor, are being exploited, according to Berger De Brito. She said the women she visited in clinics and surrogate housing were taken care of and healthy. Unlike in America, they view surrogacy as a “business arrangement,” De Brito said.
Between the two of them, Berger De Brito and Kaycoff-Manos have gone through more than 186 embryos, 20 IVF cycles, 12 miscarriages and three egg donors. Their struggles led them to start the agency.
3. Payasos-LA – Philanthropic clowns
While you were dancing at the Latino entertainment area, a unique take on promoting gay Latino culture was greeting festival-goers nearby.
Payasos-LA is a group of gay Latino “philanthropic clowns” who won the Berman/Schaffer Service Award at this year’s Pride event. The clowns visit gay bars and nightclubs to dance at events and raise money to help children with such conditions as autism and HIV. The group, founded in 2010, also promotes self-acceptance for gay and bi Latino men while giving them a platform on which to demonstrate leadership in the arts and LGBT community.
Founder Leo Iriate, who goes by the clown name “Stinky Foo,” says he was the first Latino immigrant honored with the Mr. Leather title (2011) and another Payasos won in 2012.
“We’re helping gay Latino men come out of their shell,” said Iriate.