Gay pride parades are typically known for their flashy and sexually-overt content, but recent parades have toned it down to make it more “family-friendly” and adhere to the demands of corporate sponsors. The police have also enforced stricter rules regarding nudity and sexual behaviour to protect children - anyone caught violating indecency laws in front of children could be charged with a felony. The shift in the nature of gay pride parades have sparked debate within the LGBT community, as some homosexuals believe that the parades are too tame and obedient, whereas others claim that they can still celebrate their queer identities without the nudity or sexual content.
The change in the features of gay pride parades are unwelcomed by many gay activists, as they believe that the flamboyant and sexually daring content are essential in celebrating their queer identities. Without these key features, it would just be another boring old heterosexual parade. One of the activists believes that homosexuals should have complete freedom in expressing their out and proud sexual orientation, because toning it down for the sake of others is like “putting yourself back in a closet” and being ashamed of your identity. It is their time to shine as out and proud homosexuals, therefore they do not wish to abide by the rules of the heteroxual society during this time of celebration.
On the other hand, other gay participants of gay pride parades prefer to tone down the sexual and nudity content, as they believe this has become a stereotype for heteroseuxals to perceive homosexuals. The aim of these parades is to celebrate diversity, therefore some participants believe that they should break the gay stereotype and display different sides of homosexual identities.
The members of Family Equality (an international organisation that represents gay, lesban, bisexual and transgender families) also wish to create a family-friendly environment in gay pride parades, so that they can bring their children to the parades and protect their innocence at the same time. The group's executive director Gabriel Blau said that he marched in New York City’s parade earlier this year with his husband and their 5 year old son, but the risque content was deemed inappropriate for children.