Friday, June 01, 2007

Boston Pride Begins Amidst Controversy

Boston Pride week officially began today with the Flag Raising Ceremony at Boston City Hall. Mayor Menino's liaison to the LGBT community presented a declaration from the mayor proclaiming the start of Pride Week.


The Pride Marshals each had their turn at the microphone. This years Marshals are Representative Liz Malia, the openly lesbian legislator from Jamaica Plain; Jacob Smith Young, the executive director of Massachusetts Asian & Pacific Islanders for Health; and SpeakOut, the nation's first LGBT speakers bureau.

To the right of the stage that hosted the Pride Committee, Marshals, and Boston City Counselors was a group representing the Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition. During the ceremony they held a sign that read "Radical Queers Resist".

The President of the Boston Pride Board of Directors, Linda DeMarco, mentioned the controversy over this years pride theme. She welcomed the demonstrators, saying that they were being true to themselves and to their idea of Pride. While her message may have been sincere, it came off as patronizing.

Our favorite anti-gay crusaders from MassResistance were al
so at the event. Amy Contrada was wandering around with a video camera, filming the ceremony. Brian Camenker was also lurking around the crowd with a camera. He wrote on his website today that the mayor "has to raise the rainbow flag over Boston City Hall and keep it there for an entire week to rub it in, and embarrass us all in front of all the tourists who come to Boston at this time of year."

After the speeches, the rainbow flag was raised
over City Hall Plaza. The Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition demonstrators raised their own hot pink flag at the same time. The two flags; one rainbow flag being raised on the official city hall flagpole with full support from the mayor of the capital city, and one hot pink flag being raised on a make shift flagpole by queer radicals, seemed to represent the differences of the Pride celebrations of today and the Pride celebrations of the past.

As the controversy over this years Boston Pride military theme unfolds during this week, let's not forget where we came from. Boston Pride began in 1970 with "a few dozen lesbians and gay men marching as part of a Vietnam War protest". Members of the Gay Liberation Front carried signs that read "Send the Boys Home Now!"

The first Boston Pride Celebration was that June. The theme that year: "Love is All You Need".


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