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Tomorrow, as per tradition, hundreds of drag queens will race down 17th Street between R and Church Streets NW. According to Metro Weekly, the 24th annual Dupont High Heel Race will see a couple of changes this year: One, you won’t be able to drink beer outside anymore. And two, it’s political this time.

Metro Weekly delivers the bad news: This go-around, the “traditional beer garden adjacent JR.’s” will be closed due to inclement weather. In place of beer, however, this year’s High Heel Race will provide racers and on-lookers with a sense of purpose! Will O’Bryan reports:

the event is now being run under a First Amendment permit rather than a parade permit, reflective of the event’s gay identity. That distinction clears the way for street closures and a police presence. Loosely speaking, it’s the difference between a political rally and a block party.

“Until we have complete equality and people want to show up at gay events, they need to realize we don’t have the same rights,” says [Dave]  Perruzza [vice president of JR.’s]. “The [volunteers’] shirts will probably say, ‘Equality for Everyone.’ It’s the High Heel March for Equality. It’s a gay event, put on by gay people.”

It’s unclear why the permit switcheroo was necessary—-the parade has run for years with street closures and a police presence. Whatever the rationale, the designation may help drum up support for a pending bill that would recognize same-sex marriages in the District of Columbia. So, who’s running for domestic partnerships?

Photo by Darrow Montgomery