As gay pride parades go mainstream, activists debate whether their edgy character is at risk

Gay pride parades began more than 40 years ago as small, defiant, sexually daring protests. Now, as they spread nationwide, many have become mainstream spectacles patronized by corporate sponsors and straight politicians.

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. The parade unfolded with no reports of arrests, but the national debate is likely to persist.