Pride Preview 2018: LGBTQ Celebrations Planned Across New England

pride onRhode Island Pride's Illuminated Parade; Photo: Rhode Island Pride

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By: Jenna Spinelle/TRT Reporter—

Although it has not felt like spring lately, Pride season is upon us and organizers across New England are working hard to prepare for this year’s celebrations.

The Rainbow Times caught up with festival organizers about what’s in store for their events.

Northampton Pride: May 5, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization.

A: I am J.M. Sorrell, spokesperson.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: Our theme is “Unbreakable.” We have beautiful t-shirts for sale that will read Unbreakable:  spirit. voice. passion. commitment. strength. pride. This theme notes that LGBTQ people are unbreakable in our personal and political lives.

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: We do not have marshals in our parade.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

A: See our website for the complete list of events: www.nohopride.org. This year, we will have both pre- and post-Pride events as well.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride season?

A:  We will have a joint Skype event with Northampton, England this year. Also, I interviewed Senator Elizabeth Warren for our pride guide. She last attended in 2012 during her first run for U.S. Senate. We hope she is able to come this year, too.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so?

A: Our event is totally inclusive. First, [the event] is free with free parking and accessible space at the Three County Fairgrounds, so it is open to everyone. We count on people from all backgrounds to attend. Allies are incredibly important. At Noho Pride, people will march for various social justice causes and we can appreciate each other and join together in mutual support.

This year’s march/parade begins at 11 a.m.—an hour earlier than in past years. We have a full lineup onstage, so we are getting an earlier start to accommodate all that is happening. We will march from downtown along Main Street to the Three County Fairgrounds. There is something for everyone on Pride Day!

Boston Pride: June 1-6, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization.

A: Sylvain Bruni, President, Boston Pride.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: “Rainbow Resistance.”

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: Grand Marshal: Freedom for All Massachusetts; Parade Marshal: Jo Trigilio: Honorary Parade Marshals: awarded posthumously to the late Gordon Burns and Edie Windsor.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

A: The calendar of Pride Events will be posted on the bostonpride.org website.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride Season?

A: We anticipate this year’s celebration to be even bigger than last year, which was a record-breaking year.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so?

A: Boston Pride continues to produce events that provide visibility and support to all components of our very diverse community. During the month of February, Black History Month, Black Pride hosted a variety of activities ranging from educational events to social events including Drag Bingo Brunch, Taste of Tuesday, Flow Yoga, and Drag Paint Night. Boston Pride also hosted the Youth Valentine’s Day Dance in February where youth in attendance designed duffle bags for LGBT youth at the Waltham House.

Pride Portland: June 8-17, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization.

A: I’m Joey Brunelle, marketing & outreach chair for Pride Portland 2018. My pronouns are he, him, his.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: This year’s theme is “RISE UP: Loud and Proud,” with RISE standing for “racial equity, intersectionality, solidarity and mutual empowerment.”

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: We don’t usually announce our marshals until later in the season, probably May.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

A: We don’t have a finalized list of events yet, but that should be coming in the next few weeks. We do know that Pride week will be from June 8-17, with a Parade down Congress Street on June 16 ending at Deering Oaks Park, where there will be an afternoon festival. There will be a variety of activities throughout the week, ranging from film screenings of LGBTQ films to rallies to support LGBTQ issues to dance parties to other events for seniors, families, and even LGBTQ folks with pets.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride season?

A: I’m personally very excited that we have an all-new steering committee this year, the most diverse steering committee ever to run Pride Portland, so we’re trying to highlight those in our LGBTQ community who are still suffering injustices, who are still marginalized—namely trans folks, people of color, indigenous people, and those who are differently abled.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so?

A: We are trying to make it as inclusive as possible, by simultaneously acknowledging and honoring the successes that we’ve achieved already and highlighting the challenges that we still face. We may have won our right to get married, but we still have a lot of work left to do. We’re only as free as the least free among us.

Rhode Island Pride: June 16, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization._

A: Joe Lazzerini, President, Rhode Island Pride.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: For 2018, our theme is “Louder & Prouder.” To us and the LGBTQ+ community across Rhode Island, this theme is personal and means speaking out when we see injustices in our communities. It also means being proud of who we are, who we love and where we come from. We have accomplished a lot over the years as a community, but we still need to speak up and be loud. Speak up for those who can’t and be proud and celebrate who we are and our diversity as a community.

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: Our grand and honorary marshals haven’t yet been announced. But this year we know they will reflect the leadership and diversity that has made our local LGBTQ+ community what it is today.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

A: From our annual Goddess Show, RI Pride Pageant, Providence City Hall Flag Raising, theater events, live entertainment and art shows to name a few, we have a wide range of events during the months leading up to the RI Pride celebration on June 16.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride season? 

A: Every year we see record numbers of attendees come to the City of Providence from all over the country. We feel we have a pretty special community and pride celebration here and we are excited about welcoming thousands of people to our creative capital to celebrate love, diversity, and inclusion. Rhode Island Pride has a lot to offer from a great lineup of local and regional entertainment acts to great parties at our local bars and nightclubs, as well as our amazing Illuminated Night Time Parade.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so?

A: Rhode Island Pride is an inclusive event for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community along with our straight supporters and allies. Regardless of your gender, background, ethnicity, culture, race, religion or sexual orientation. We offer a diverse mix of events and activities for members of the LGBTQ+ communities and their families.

North Shore Pride: June 23, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization.

A: Hope Watt-Bucci, President, North Shore Pride, Inc.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: “#TrueSelf.”

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: TV actor and comedian Caroline Rhea

Q: Do you have a current list of events?

A: An event listing is available at https://goo.gl/aX8CWt.

Q: Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme?

A: Our theme of #TrueSelf is reflected in all of our events this year. For example, our kickoff event titled, Pride and History at the Beauport Museum, provides tours and readings from a historic gay architect from Gloucester who epitomized North Shore Pride’s #TrueSelf theme through his lifestyle.

Our interfaith service is a celebration of diverse faiths across the North Shore. By inviting all faiths, we celebrate all faiths equally. Participants are invited to participate and provide reflection, no matter who you are, how you identify or which faith you engage with. North Shore Pride’s parade this year encourages all marchers to encompass our #TrueSelf theme in their marching groups and floats. We offer parade prizes for those who show what #TrueSelf means to their group.

Our festival this year honors Shannon Daniels, the amazing Swampscott Elementary Principal who bravely announced their #TrueSelf earlier in the school year. Our rainbow flag raising on the common this year will be accompanied by a solo of the song, “This is Me” in keeping with our #TrueSelf theme.

Q: What are you hoping to achieve at these events? 

A: Our goal for all of our events has always been to bring unity to our community. North Shore Pride week is a week of events that provide opportunities to meet and engage with your North Shore community, to have access to community services and to feel comfortable and celebrate your #TrueSelf in an environment of acceptance.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride Season? 

A: This year North Shore Pride is excited to offer more programming and to expand our organization’s focus on the educational component of our mission. We look forward to announcing our new programming in the very near future.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so? 

A: Absolutely, North Shore Pride has a focus on inclusion. From the diversity in our Board to our deliberate choice of entertainment, honorees, and programming, we take great pride in meeting the needs of our North Shore community. So we hope you will join us this year as we celebrate #TrueSelf.

Worcester Pride: September 5-9, 2018

Q: Please state your name and title within your Pride organization.  

A: Michele Brown, Worcester Pride Secretary.

Q: What’s this year’s theme?

A: This year’s theme is, “Pride has no limits.”

Q: Who will be your grand and honorary marshals?

A: We are still gathering nominations for the 2018 grand and honorary marshals, and plan to vote at the April or May committee meeting.

Q: Do you have a current list of events? Can you explain why they are relevant in terms of your theme? What are you hoping to achieve at these events?

A: The calendar of Worcester Pride events is located on our website: https://goo.gl/fhTzu3. At every Worcester Pride event, we look to create advocacy and awareness for all parts of the community and our supporters, celebrate and recognize annual strides and achievements and create a safe place in the community for folks to come together and not be limited or restricted to being open, happy, and comfortable in their own skin. We always want to create advocacy, awareness, diversity, and inclusion in everything that we do.

Q: What are you excited about for the 2018 Pride season?

A: One new thing that we are doing this year that we are really excited about is participating in a new campaign called, “Love Your Labels.” Love Your Labels is a movement to embrace labels, eliminate stereotypes, and empower individuals. This campaign is uniting underrepresented communities while also engaging humanity in a conversation about equality. With the tagline “Unique & United,” we are elevating the dialogue about how labels like gay, black, trans, veteran, feminist, individuals with disabilities, etc. describe, but don’t define, people. Many [people as a result] of these labels have been historically and continue to be disadvantaged because of bias, racism, and a lack of knowledge. This campaign is encouraging uncomfortable conversation that leads to change.

Q: Do you consider your Pride to be inclusive? How so?

A: Yes, we consider all of our events to be diverse and inclusive. The participation of all, regardless of age, creed, gender, gender identity, HIV status, national origin, disability, race, religion, or sexual orientation is welcome. Worcester Pride strives to recognize, promote, and unite the Central Massachusetts LGBTQI+ community, allies, and supporters. We always have several LGBTQI+ flags all around the festival and included in the parade, among many other things that we do to make sure that everyone feels included and supported. We are an all-volunteer-based non-profit organization that relies solely on donations and sponsors to host our annual parade, festival, prom, and many other Pride week activities.

[Originally published on the May 3, 2018 issue of The Rainbow Times].

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