“Exceptional” hardly comes close to describing my experience in the LA Pride Parade. For me, representing EA at the Pride Parade was something far more meaningful.
Throughout much of my life (and I’m sure many can relate to this), I’ve been ostracized for not abiding conventional standards. I am a woman, but my style is androgynous. I struggled to find my identity while subjected to ubiquitous social pressure to subscribe to something distinctly “male” or “female”.
After much hardship, I matured enough to accept myself for who I am and what I am, but I still occasionally confronted discrimination from the public. I have walked down the streets while cars drove by heckling me with derogatory terms. I’m mistaken for a man at the check-out counter just because my hair is short and my voice is deep. I’m not ashamed of being different, and I recognize that American culture has come far to accept diversity, but there are still more minds that need to open. That’s why I took charge to institute the EA Los Angeles marching team for the LA Pride Parade and gathered colleagues to celebrate diversity.
Our LA studio had never hosted a marching team before. Once we assembled volunteers, it gained momentum and started taking off. We collaborated to paint the EA Pride banner, and even created an amazing Morrigan costume from Dragon Age for one of the marchers.
When we arrived, there were over a hundred groups participating. It was inspiring to see so many in a marvelous array of costumes and floats. We were queued behind the Grand Marshal—the choicest spot in the line-up, and while we waited to disembark, we were mobbed by dozens of other organizers that welcomed us to the parade. I don’t think any of us realized the magnitude of what we were about to take part in.
Finally it was our turn to make our way along the parade route with our marching team. We were fueled by the excitement, the energy of thousands of supporters lining the flanks of Santa Monica Blvd. Eager photographers clicked away on the sidelines while others cheered, thrilled to see our EA Pride banner and video game costumes. We were even broadcasted on television! Ultimately, we had a fantastic time and definitely made an impact.
This concerted effort, and our EALA marching team’s first debut actually kicked off the series of Pride Parades that EA will sponsor in 2013. We couldn’t be more proud.
The EALA Pride group poses with their handmade banner.
Marcher dressed as Morrigan from Dragon Age.
Excited to march!