By: Chris Gilmore/TRT Reporter—
GREENFIELD, Mass.—Last Spring, two Greenfield residents unified by love and a dream decided to create the first Greenfield Pride Celebration in this Massachusetts mill town.
“Sometime this past spring, my husband Trystan and I had a chance encounter with Cindy Foster at a thrift store,” said Arjuna Griest, Upper Valley Pride Committee member.
Discussing several topics, the trio came to the realization that they did not want to wait any longer for Greenfield Pride to happen.
“We stood in the pants aisle discussing queer reproduction, wacky politicians, and pride festivals,” she said via e-interview. “Somehow, a decision was made: we weren’t going to just stand around waiting for Greenfield to have a Pride fest; we would make it happen, this year.”
Organized and with a sense of building a stronger LGBTQ community, they reached out to others in town.
“We brought the idea to All Souls Unitarian Universalist Society, where Trystan is a member, and they were enthusiastic about sponsoring the event as part of their journey to become a Welcoming Congregation (an official designation for UU congregations which have done the work to be specifically open to QUILTBAG* folks and educated about our needs and issues),” Greist said.
According to her, a “small but dedicated group of volunteers met over the summer and into the fall,” and decided on the mid-October date for a few reasons. [pullquote]“It is crucial for us to celebrate our lives, our activists, our artists, our organizations, and our youth. It is important to show (to ourselves and to the greater community) that we are here, in this old mill town, not just in Northampton or big cities,” Greist said.[/pullquote]
“It’s QUILTBAG* History month; it’s beautiful here in prime leaf-peeping season; it’s good to have a fun, positive, supportive event heading into the wintertime, which can be especially hard for some folks in our community,” Greist added.
The idea behind the Pride event goes beyond just celebrating, said Greist.
“It is crucial for us to celebrate our lives, our activists, our artists, our organizations, and our youth. It is important to show (to ourselves and to the greater community) that we are here, in this old mill town, not just in Northampton or big cities,” Greist said. “We need rights, youth and elder services, and allies in our struggles. We also want to showcase how utterly fabulous we all are, and our kick-butt lineup of world-class musicians & speakers will do that quite well!”
And, this weekend Greenfield will do just that and will set the precedent for more Pride Fests to come and perhaps more.
“It is our hope that the Upper Valley Pride committee will grow & thrive, and that this weekend’s event will set the stage not only for bigger Pride Fests in the future, but for events year-round such as workshops, films, concerts, and community potlucks,” Greist explained. “See you on Sunday!”
The Pride Fest will take place on Sunday Oct. 18 on the Greenfield Town Common (corner of Federal & Main) from noon-4pm. For more information, visit their Facebook Page or e-mail Arjuna Greist. A schedule of events can be found here.
*QUILTBAG, according to the Urban Dictionary, is an acronym that stands for Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Transgender/Transsexual, Bisexual, Allied/Asexual, Gay/Genderqueer. It is meant to be a more inclusive term than GLBT/LGBT and to be more pronounceable (and memorable) than some of the other variations or extensions on the GLBT/LGBT abbreviation.