Thousands of people participated in this year’s Gay Pride procession in the Dominican Republic on 13 July.
The Gay Pride festivities in the Caribbean island (between Haiti and Puerto Rico) re-launched in 2007 with just three cars in the procession.
This year an estimated 300 cars joined the caravan through some of the island’s main avenues as well as residential areas ‘for greater impact’ said photographer Carlos Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who has been photographing Gay Pride in the Dominican Republic since 2009, was on the streets this year again whizzing back and forth on his motorcycle capturing the pride goers.
‘We live in a society, in a macho and Latino culture, where you imagine people’s reactions are going to go one way. People were and have been more welcoming, as one might expect them not to be,’ Rodriguez told Gay Star News.
‘This year I saw people more excited, more receptive. You could see it was something not to be mocked, but to be enjoyed.
‘Everyone seemed really happy that it was happening.’
Police, among members of the public and politicians, have been less than pleased in previous years with the Gay Pride procession.
Last year the police stopped the caravan on numerous occasions, claiming a Dominican flag fashioned into a rainbow banner was a crime: Defacing a patriotic symbol.
This year Rodriguez didn’t notice any Dominican flags in the procession.
‘The police has offered support for the procession for the past few years. Having them accompany us makes a difference.’
While same-sex unions are not legally recognized in the Dominican Republic, Gay Pride and related events help raise visibility of LGBTI issues.