Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pride Week Recap

Boston Pride ended today after a week filled with celebration and controversy. This was the 37th Pride Celebration in Massachusetts.

The first official Pride Celebration w
as in 1970. It was a week-long series of events to mark the one year anniversary of Stonewall. The theme that year was "Love Is All You Need". The week culminated on June 28 with a Be-In on Cambridge Common with balloons, banners, dancing - a day of peace and love under the sun.

This years Pride theme, Ask. Tell. Proud to Serve Our Community, Our Country, Our World, created a lot of controversy with-in the LGBT community. The militaristic theme was opposed by many organizations and individuals in the community, including me. The Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition was formed in response "to encourage our community to think about the issues of militarism, corporitization, transphobia, sexism, and racism that are presented by the theme." Pride participants were encouraged to wear hot pink as a sign of opposition the the militaristic Pride theme.

Pride Week began Friday, June 1 with the Flag Raising at 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 were introduced and the rainbow flag was raised over City Hall Plaza. The Ask. Tell. Act. Coalition raised their own hot pink flag at the same time.

Tuesday, June 5 was
the 12th Annual Pridelights Tree Lighting. This event marked "the unofficial kick-off to Pride Week in Boston". Boston Mayor Tom Menino spoke to the crowd, encouraging people to get involved with the fast approaching constitution convention. City Counselor Sam Yoon also spoke to the crowd about the significance of pride in the community.

The best speech of the night was by Abe Rybeck, Artistic Director of The Theater Offensive. Abe spoke about embracing sex and sexuality in the LGBT community. The Theater Offensive's guerilla AIDS activist theater troupe, A Street Theater Named Desire, does shows and HIV prevention outreach in the heart of the Fens.

Wednesday, June 6 was the GLBT Holocaust Commemoration Service at the holocaust memorial. This service is always very powerful. Especially this year, after an anti-gay crusaders had just testified at the State House that homosexuals were not targeted by the Nazis.

Wednesday was also the Pride Idols Finals where Miss Kitty Litter stepped over the line from distasteful to racist. QueerToday has the full report. Rumor has it the Boston Pride Committee will be issuing a public apology.

Thursday, June 7 was the candlelight vigil in response to the hate crime in Lowell. Jenine Nickola was attacked over the weekend while walking home. The vigil was attended by over 100 people. Jenine identified herself as a trans woman to the press at the vigil. I have nothing but the utmost admiration for her honesty and her courage. She is recovering well and wants to tell her story.

Friday, June 8 was the Dyke March. This is my favorite event of Pride Week. This event is free from the corporate sponsorship that has branded the Pride Parade. The people are fun and the energy is amazing. It is what a Pride fest should be.

This years Dyke March had its own controversy when the transphobic performer, Bitch, was
scheduled to play. The Dyke March states that their top priority is, "to provide a dynamic and welcoming space for participants of all sexualities, genders, races, ages, ethnicities, sizes, economic backgrounds, and physical abilities." After much outcry from the community, the Dyke March Committee decided to cancel Bitch just in time. This years march was a blast.

Saturday, June 9 was the Pride Parade and Festival. Governor Patrick made history by becoming the first Governor in the Commonwealth to march in the Pride Parade. The opposition to this years militaristic Pride theme was apparent throughout the parade. There were hot pink shirts, hats, signs, and over 500 armbands worn by parade participants. QueerToday has the report with photos.

The Pride Parade is Boston's largest parade of the year. It is attended by hundreds of thousands of people. Think that's a lot? Check out this years Pride Parade in Brazil. It was attended by an estimated 3 million people. That's a lot of queers.


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