Human Rights in Pride – for Boston Pride Week and beyond

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By: Linda DeMarco/President of Boston Pride–

Pride Week is finally almost upon us and 2012 is already promising to be an important year for an emerging consensus around rights for our community.  President Barack Obama’s recent statement affirming his support for marriage equality – the first sitting president to do so – is an important step in achieving the goal that so many of us have looked for – equal rights and protections under the law in a whole host of matters, especially related to families.

But the truth is that we know we still have a long, long way to go to achieve the kind of equality, regardless of identity and orientation, which we are seeking.  As a movement, we continue to strongly believe that providing education and information is an important part of what we do.  In the past year, we have embarked on a human rights listening tour around the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and we’ve learned a lot from members of the community from Northampton to the South Shore to Boston about what social issues continue to concern you.

During Pride Week, the Boston Pride Human Rights and Education committee will host a forum on the question of teaching LGBT history in Massachusetts schools.  Last year, the state of California passed legislation that seeks to add to the California public school social science curriculum information on the contributions and roles of various groups (including LGBT individuals) in California and throughout the country.  Our event will include representatives from The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth (BAGLY), MassEquality, Fenway Health, and others discussing the question of adding such a provision to Massachusetts’s educational curriculum.  We invite you to join us at this forum on the evening of Wednesday, June 6th, so please be on the lookout for more information on it as you are celebrating Pride Week.

Once the Pride Parade floats are broken down and the Festival and block party performers are heading home, there is still much to be done to keep the Pride movement vibrant and pertinent to the times, which is part of the reason why we are so excited to be hosting the education forum during Pride Week.  As soon as Pride Week concludes, we will be turning our attention to the annual InterPride conference, which we are sponsoring this year.  To be held in Boston in the fall, the conference brings many of the world’s Pride committees together in one place to share ideas and inspiration.

InterPride is an organization created to promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride on an international level.  It works to increase networking and communication among Pride organizations, to encourage diverse communities to hold and attend Pride events and to serve as an educational resource.  Additionally, InterPride aims to be an international voice for the global LGBT community throughout the world, standing up for equality and justice in every region and collaborating with each other.  It is because of InterPride conference that we decided our theme for this year’s Pride Week celebrations will be “Celebrating 30 Years of Worldwide Pride Movement.”  InterPride gives us another opportunity to educate each other on the issues we all face.

We believe strongly that there is a lot of opportunity to educate, inform, and advocate for our community in the months after Pride Week – and we’re hoping you’ll be a part of it.  We’ll be working on an human rights agenda, based on our listening sessions, and we’ll be hearing from Pride committees from around the world at the InterPride meeting.  We know that while we are seeing some progress here in the United States (and lots of resistance to that progress, too), members of worldwide community face the threat of bodily harm and limitations to their rights.  But working together, we believe that we’ll see even more progress.  So we hope that in addition to joining us at our Pride Week events, you’ll be inspired to volunteer or work with us in other ways.  For more information on how you can get involved in Boston Pride and InterPride, please go to www.Bostonpride.org  and www.interpride2012.org.

Enjoy the Pride Kick off, Parade, Festival, and Block Parties, and we hope you join us with our mission after Pride Week!