They came by the hundreds, waving flags and wearing rainbow clothing—dresses, hats, socks.
Under a warm sun, revelers lined up along the route of this year’s Pride Parade in Boston, whooping and cheering lesbian bikers in leather vests and burly male bikers with large teddy bears on the backs of their motorcycles.
Some onlookers on Clarendon Street said they came to stamp out fear and discrimination and to show their proud resolve in who they are as Americans.
“There’s a lot of polarization toward the gay community from people who are afraid of giving equality and who are afraid of what it means for them,” said Susan Altman of Medford who came to the fete with her spouse, Becky Hemperly.
Jennifer Stephens, a 57-year-old teacher from Concord, said the annual parade plays a critical role in showing society, particularly young people, that gay, lesbian, and transgendered people are proud of who they are.
Stephens and others said discrimination toward gays often comes from people who are afraid of something they do not understand.
“A lot of people in the transgendered community want to disappear in society, and because of that no one wants to talk about it,” Stephens said. “I’m the opposite. I speak out.”
The parade, which began at noon in Copley Square, wound through Clarendon, Tremont, and Berkeley streets, and ended at City Hall Plaza.
Hundreds turned out to join the revelry, including Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who sat perched on a beige convertible as it drove slowly down the route.
Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane, followed close behind on foot.
The parade featured marching bands, bike riding clubs, and moving sound systems blasting reggae and pop music.
Meghan Irons can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @meghanirons.