Boston Pride Marches on, Rain or Shine

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Erica Kay-Webster addressing the big crowd at City Hall Plaza, to present Boston Pride's headliner Karmin.  Photo: TRT/Sean Sullivan

Erica Kay-Webster addressing the big crowd at City Hall Plaza, to present Boston Pride’s headliner Karmin. More photos via TRT’s Facebook Fan Page. Photos: TRT/Sean Sullivan

2013 Parade and Festival draws thousands from Copley to City Hall

By: Lauren Walleser/TRT Reporter—

The 2013 Boston Pride Parade and Festival brought thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and their allies to downtown Boston through rain and shine on Saturday, June 8 as organizations marched from Copley Square to Government Center.

“It’s good to have a whole day where people can feel really proud of themselves,” said Andy Hallal, volunteer with The Network/La Red, one of dozens of nonprofits who set up their tents in City Hall Plaza. [pullquote]“Tonight, be Boston strong and Boston proud, and tomorrow be the future of America,” Erica Kay-Webster said. “Be the leaders of the world.”[/pullquote]

Brandon Sides, a speaker for Greater Boston Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) echoed those sentiments.

“It provides a safe community for those actively involved in the community, and it creates visibility for those who are not so involved in the community, so that everybody can see what a successful gathering of LGBT individuals looks like and can work towards making this a community that other communities try to emulate,” said Sides. “It’s really great to go to an open LGBTQ area, especially for individuals who are just recently out.”

The theme this year — Moving Forward…Proud, Strong, United — resonated with people as they made their way through the crowd from the parade route to the festival.

“It’s important because our struggle is not over,” said Coco Alinsug of Fenway Health.

Many youth organizations showcased their services and spoke of the importance of pride specifically for LGBTQ youth.

“Pride is important because it gives young people hope for a happy life,” said Jeff Perrotti, director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBT students.

Cathy Cooper, a volunteer with East Coast Biker Chicks, said the group was founded 10 years ago and led the parade on their motorcycles this year.

“Pride is important because it’s who we are and what we stand for,” Cooper said. “Massachusetts was the first state to legalize marriage. We should all be here and celebrate. I think it’s a really good thing for all of us to be able to come out and show who we are and not hide like we had to do years ago.”

Braving the erratic weather, many political organizations, candidates and causes joined the festivities to campaign for continued change amid a sea of rainbow flags, beads, boas, angel wings, painted faces, cupcakes and more.

“Transgender people are a very diverse community, so we have trans people who are lesbian and gay and bisexual. Pride is for everyone in the queer community, and we are part of that,” said Mel Goldsipe, communications director at Massachusetts  Transgender Political Coalition. “This is a great group of open-minded people having a great time. Who wouldn’t want to be here?” [pullquote]Kay-Webster told the crowd that they are the next chapter in American history and charged them with the task of continuing the work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, and Harvey Milk. [/pullquote]

Erica Kay-Webster, who introduced herself as a proud transgender woman and Stonewall veteran as well as the international spokesperson for the LGBT Compassion Games, gave a speech on the history of pride before the 2013 headliner, musical duo Karmin, took the stage.

“We had no idea that we were about to become the lightning that would spark the modern movement for equality,” said Kay-Webster as she spoke of the June 28, 1969 Stonewall Rebellion. “We were just sick and tired of being brutalized and targeted as LGBT people.”

Kay-Webster told the crowd that they are the next chapter in American history and charged them with the task of continuing the work of civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John F. Kennedy, and Harvey Milk.

“Tonight, be Boston strong and Boston proud, and tomorrow be the future of America,” Kay-Webster said. “Be the leaders of the world.”

For more information on Boston Pride, including a list of events throughout Pride Week, visit www.bostonpride.org. To view more photos of the Parade and Festival visit: http://tiny.cc/s8efyw.

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