New Addition to Old Tradition

Gay and Lesbian groups greeted with cheers and a few boos

By Greg Bledsoe
|  Saturday, Jul 3, 2010  |  Updated 3:16 PM PDT
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New Addition to Old Tradition

Every year, thousands of people line the streets of Oceanside for the annual Freedom Parade, a patriotic procession with a strong military presence.

"We have had parades (in Oceanside) back as far as 1892," said one of the parades organizers, Jan Gardner.

But this is the first time for one group in particular. 

The North County Lesbian, Gay, Trans-gender, and Bisexual Coalition marched about 70 members and supporters through the parade holding rainbow colored flags, and banners stating their support for the troops.

"We just want to show our support to all our troops," said LGBT North County Chairman Max Disposti. "And we want to remind our community that supporting our troops means supporting every single one of them."

This is a significant year for the group, not just because it's their first time in the parade, but because they are hoping the president will repeal the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.

"They just want to be serving the community in the open," says Disposti.

"I hope they'll be received with respect.  I mean they're friends.  They're neighbors.  They're brothers.  They're sisters." said Gardner, "I think it's important for every group to be included."

The group was greeted well by the crowd, with waves and cheers.  There were, however a few boos heard.  Disposti had instructed his group not to engage any critics, and to keep the march peaceful.

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