BY DAVID CRARY, AP NATIONAL WRITER
Initiated as small, defiant, sexually daring protests, gay pride parades have become mainstream spectacles patronized by corporate sponsors and straight politicians as they spread nationwide. For many gays, who prize the events' edginess, the shift is unwelcome — as evidenced by bitter debate preceding Sunday's parade in Dallas.
At issue was a warning from police and organizers that rules related to nudity and sexual behavior would be enforced more strictly than in past years. Police said anyone violating indecency laws in front of children could be charged with a felony.
The warnings outraged some local activists, whose reactions swiftly echoed through gay-oriented social media nationwide.
"To make the parade more 'family friendly' and to accommodate comfort for the increasing number of attending heterosexuals and corporate sponsorship, participants are being asked to cover up!" activist Daniel Scott Cates wrote on his Facebook page. "The 'queer' is effectively being erased from our pride celebration."
Another activist, Hardy Haderman, wrote an aggrieved column for the Dallas Voice, a weekly serving the gay community.
"The assimilationists insist we tone down and throw away all our joyous sexiness," he wrote. "Why? To do that turns the Pride Parade into a We-Are-Ashamed parade, and I refuse to be part of that."