Philly Pride has a lot of people to thank

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Are You Connected? was our rhetorical question/slogan for the 2016 PrideDay celebration.  When we go through the list of people to thank, we can see just how much we rely on each other and that connectedness to bring off our event.

Our Volunteers, PrideDay just couldn’t happen without them!

Congressman Bob Brady, Mayor James Kenney, Rep.Brian Sims, Rep. Dwight Evens, Councilman Mark Squilla, Councilman Bill Greenlee & Councilwoman Helen Gym

Our Parade Judges & Announcers, Jim Donovan, Rudy Flesher, Jim O’Toole, Tami Sortman, Rue Landau, Tara Lessard, John Loesch, Samantha Giusti,

Jen Victor, Deborah Johnson, Marc Coleman, Anne Fadullon, Gary Hines, Landis Osbourne, Rep. Brian Sims & Joan Manuel Rivera and our parade security “Ingage”

Our Grand Marshals, Mayor Jim Kenney, Paige Cortez, Vincent Taylor,City of Philadelphia employees, Honored Guest Stonewall Veteran Nance Lomax

 

A whole lot of other people to thank: Out Entertainment performers and stage crew, Deborah Cox, Jessica Kirson, BETTY, Prancing Elites, Jade Starling, Pure Dance Fusion, Queer Tango, Steve Cohen, Dan Callahan, Henri David, Greg Giovanni, Manny aka Alexis Cartier, Timmy Lynch, DJ June Rodriquez, Dale Varga, Jennifer Alvarez, Rainere Hale Martin, Jay Gates, Lisa Thompson, Kimberly Bonner, Deaf Interpretors, Les Price, Ken Gardner & Erik Jefferson, Paul Struck, Jen, Larry, Prab of PGN, Jimmy Masiak, Royal Bank Tellers, Stephanie Love, Monica Burns, John McNeill, John Fluehr, Justin Schneider, Denise Giannascoli Blum, Tammi Coleman, Linda Martin, Kevin Turner, John Brady, Nic Greiner, Bill Hunt, Alex Lewis, Jay Pugh, Allen Harris, Aaron Morgan, Sal Loggia, Jamie Roberts, Tracy Buchholz, Jason Campbell, Kris Foreman, Robert & Carmela Pinto, Bill Wood, Steve Carlino, Randall (UBAR) Darryl DiPriano, Jeff Sotland, Philadelphia Freedom Band, Liberty Tennis Association, PNC, Christopher Hendricks, Carrie Jacobs, Rich Lee, Philadelphia Family Pride, Bob & Barbara’s, Mazzoni Center, Chuck Volz, Franny Price, Denise & Mike Amoroso, Zach Blum, Sarah Reice, Chris Bartlett, Avis Albuladejo, Eric Bunting, Dannielle & Jimmy Archambault, Albert Fernandez, Philadelphia Gay Mens Chorus, Earl Driscoll, Alex Davis, Phyllis Ehrlich, Sharon Tice DelCotto, Gabby Worthington, Mark Segal, Marlo Clarke, Steve Getzo, John McMinn, Scot Gansl, Steve McCann, Melissa Donovan, PhillyGayCalendar.com, Josh Schonewolf, Jo Mason, Kathy Ochs, Rocco Gallelli, Innovative Catering, William Way LGBT Center, Justin Ackerman, Shelvia Williams, Joe Forkin, David Moore, Jody Milkman, Poncho, David Moore, Michael Peabody, Domenic Gallelli, Tami Sortman, the Reps from our sponsors, Penn’s Landing Staff, Dori Shields. 

Thanks as well to the lovers, partners, wives, husbands, children of our Pride Committee.

We have to thank our volunteers again.

Sorry if we forgot to thank you, please email us and we will make sure we thank you on our website.

Philly Pride Reflects on Orlando Tragedy

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On Sunday Philly Pride was aware of the unfolding of events in Orlando, but certainly none of the specifics.  Our volunteers and coordinators were on the street as early as 5:30 a.m. and continued our PrideDay parade and festival with an overwhelming presence from the Philadelphia Police Department, unaware of the grisly details that would emerge over the next several days.

When Philly Pride was formed in 1989, its specific task was to continue the parade and festival that had occurred spontaneously that year and proved so successful.  Philly Pride also organizes OutFest in October, which, although a National Coming Out Day event and not specifically a gay pride event, serves a similar purpose.  We have remained true to our directive from the community over the years, and our events have grown ever larger and more successful as we endeavor to showcase our community and its various permutations.

Therefore, our raison d’etre is to conduct the most public expression of our community’s pride, which, unfortunately, exposes us to disruption by those with anti-LGBT feelings and beliefs, and, in the case of what transpired in Orlando, exposes us to hatred and harm as well.   As we mourn the victims and try to make sense out of the incomprehensible we remain resolute and uncowed in doing our events the way we have done so the last 28 years.   We believe the victims in Orlando are best served by our commitment.

We applaud the other pride organizations throughout the United States and the rest of the world who will bravely continue their celebrations and put themselves at risk.  Pride events like Philadelphia’s are not done frivolously and in derogation or denial of the horrors in Orlando.  Our events simply must be continued because to not do so would give the perpetrators of hatred and violence exactly what they desire.

Parade Winners 2016

Best Float:  Urban Outfitters
Best Non-Profit Group:  William Way LGBT Community Center
Best Business (Non Bar):  Comcast
Best Vehicle:  Comcast
Best Bar:  Boxers
Best Female Impersonator:  ONeals Lucky Charms
Beast Twosome or Small Group:  P.U.R.E. Philadelphia
Best Individual:  Miss Gay New Jersey
Best Pet or Animal Group: “PAWS” Phila. Animal Welfare Society
Best Theme:  TD Bank
Best Performance:  Flaggots
Best Public Statement:  Metropolitan Community Church Phila.
Best Marching Group with Music:  Phila. Freedom Band
Best Marching Group without Music:  PECO
The Gayest in the Parade:  Phila. Gay Men’s Chorus
Spectators Favorite:  Philadelphians MC
Best Visiting Non-Profit:  Penn Jersey Roller Derby
Best Visiting Bar/Business:  Mary McGraths: Blazes 2nd Story
Best Visiting Float:  Congreso DeLatinos Brothers United
GRAND PRIZE “FRUIT BOWL” AWARD:  PHILA. GAY MEN’S CHORUS

PrideDay Reflections

Our 28th PrideDay parade and festival was our biggest and best ever, and, although we worked ceaselessly to minimize lines, they were long because of the sheer number trying to participate (a new record to be sure).  Some of our coordinators were on the street as early as 5:30 a.m., and some had not gotten to sleep the night before, so although there might have been some knowledge of events in Orlando, no one had time to reflect on them or understand their cause or extent.  There have always been those who express anti-gay sentiment and we have learned to deal with various manifestations of that over the years, but this was a mass murder event which put an LGBT face on the victims of the violence such had occurred in San Bernardine and Bataclan.  The presence of the Philadelphia Police Department to protect our event and participants was simply overwhelming — police vehicles and personnel were omnipresent.   The thin blue line protected us, which was somewhat ironic and bittersweet after the Philadelphia Gay Officers Activist League declined our grand marshal award in the face of criticism.

28th Annual PrideDay Celebration

Our 28th PrideDay LGBT Pride Parade and Festival is this Sunday, June 12.  We have the most parade contingents EVER in our history.  We have the most festival vendors/participants EVER in our history.  The entertainment, headlined by Deborah Cox, is just stellar and will keep you entertained for hours.  The parade starts in the heart of the gayborhood at 12th and Locust Streets at 11:30.  The parade route is on our webpage.  It ends at the Festival location at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, the largest single day event at this location.   The festival gates open at noon and the festival closes at 6 p.m.  Wristbands are $15 at parade formation, along the route, and at the ticket booths at Penn’s Landing.  Wristbands can be purchased at the Friday Night opening kickoff party, 12th and Locust, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., for $10.  The Dyke March and William Way homecoming are Saturday.  Weather looks to be just beautiful on Sunday.  Come and enjoy yourself.  All community organizations are present and this is one of the largest networking days for the entire community.  Under 12 are admitted only with their parents.  Are you connected to your community?  Sunday is the day to find out!

G.O.A.L. Declines Grand Marshal Award

Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League (GOAL) was chosen by Philly Pride as one of our Grand Marshals for the 2016 LGBT Pride Parade on June 12, 2016.   After opposition was voiced by disparate individuals and groups, the executive director and several coordinators from Philly Pride met with “Philadelphia Against Police as Pride Grand Marshals 2016” (whose statement can be read here on a Change.Org petition along with GOAL members, State Representative Brian Sims, and the director of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, Nellie Fitzpatrick.   Philly Pride coordinators then discussed this matter in a regularly scheduled working meeting held immediately thereafter and was prepared to make its decision public Friday, 5/27/16 as it had previously announced.  On Friday morning, Philly GOAL then posted a statement on its facebook page declining the award and making any decision by Philly Pride moot.  We applaud the actions of Philly GOAL because this certainly avoided the tumult that would have resulted by the threatened actions to “shut down” the 2016 parade.     Both Liberty City Democrats and ACT-Up Philadelphia were community groups opposing the GOAL award.  Misrepresentations, both intended and inadvertent, have compelled Philly Pride to post this statement.

(1)  Philly Pride coordinators and community members interested in PrideDay or OutFest activities meet at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at the William Way LGBT Community Center in open meetings where all things are discussed, including awards for both events.  These are freely displayed on our webpage and there is nothing furtive or secretive about the process as alleged.  None of the groups or individuals voicing opposition to GOAL attended any of these meetings.

(2)  Pressure was placed on the executive director of Philly Pride and its senior advisor to advocate for the rescinding of the GOAL grand marshal award and persuade the Philly Pride coordinators to follow suit.  The executive director is the sole employee and staff person of Philly Pride Presents and the senior advisor is merely the longest serving coordinator.  There are no executive positions and no officers at Philly Pride Presents concomitant with our desire remain a grassroots organization of equals.  Anyone familiar with our operating procedures would know how we operate.

(3)  Many allegations were made that this award was somehow insensitive to the position of the Philadelphia Trans community vis-à-vis the Phila. Police Department which is palpably ridiculous.  Philly Pride is the only gay pride organization to withdraw from Interpride because of the trans exclusion in its bylaws.  Philly Pride showcased our Trans community in our 2015 PrideDay celebration.  Our senior advisor sits as a commissioner on the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission, the civilian oversight agency for the police department, caused the Nizah Morris matter to be reopened, and wrote the opinion which was highly critical of the PPD.  There is no stronger champion for the trans community than Philly Pride and its members.

(4)  Assertions were made that this award to the LGBT police officers of Philadelphia was inconsistent with Stonewall, which was primarily a clash between police and the trans community of color.  GOAL chapters march in gay pride parades in almost every major metropolitan area of the United States.  The New York City GOAL chapter served as grand marshal of New York City’s pride parade and has marched in their parade for at least the last 15 years.  Stonewall, for the historically challenged, occurred in New York City.  Every gay pride organization readily understands the historical antecedent for our existence.

(5)  Make no mistake about the vociferous opposition to the police department expressed by those opposed to the award as expressed by this following tweet from Asa Khalif.  The Philadelphia Police Department has long been in the forefront of LGBT sensitivity training and just last year Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel was honored for formulating Police Directive 152, the most enlightened trans police directive in the United States.

(6)  Philly Pride remains committed to represent all elements of our diverse LGBT community and all are welcomed to our events.  This includes the groups opposed to the GOAL award and most certainly also includes the LGBT members of law enforcement.  We thank GOAL for exercising its discretion and therefore avoiding the conflict which could have prevented parade formation, which, after all, has been the desire of anti-LGBT activists who attend our events yearly. Isn’t that ironic?

Headliner Deborah Cox

Deborah Cox, R&B singer, songwriter, Broadway star will be headlining a stellar cast of entertainment for the Gay Pride Festival, June 12, 2016. She has 11 #1 hits, including “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here.” Cox provided vocals for the 2015 Whitney Houston biopic, “Whitney,” which was directed by Angela Basset.  Beginning in the fall of 2016, Cox will be starring as Rachel Marron in the North American Tour of the musical The Bodyguard playing in cities all across North America.

Our 2016 Festival Headliner

Our entertainment lineup is finished and you can access it through the blue button.  Our headliner is a wonderful singer, songwriter, and Broadway star who will be revealed by PGN — Philadelphia Gay News — so stay tuned to http://epgn.com.  As soon as PGN publishes its interview, we will post the headliner’s name and brief bio.

Keystone Pride Calendar

Following on the success of our Keystone Conference, March 20, 2016, Philly Pride has listed all the various gay pride events in Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley area on our webpage.  It is listed under “Events” and then as “Keystone Pride Calendar.”  A significant number of Philadelphians travel to New York for its gay pride event, but there are several smaller events happening all over the area which you should check out independently or add them to your vacation calendar.  None of them will be as big as New York, but there is always local charm and distinctiveness in each of these events.  Check them out.  Add them to your calendar.  And then visit and support your gay brethren!

Gov. Wolf to Address Keystone Conference

Because of a scheduling conflict, State Representative Brian Sims will not be able to attend the Keystone Conference on Sunday.  However, Representative Sims was able to get a remarkable substitute, and Hon. Tom Wolf, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will be stopping by to talk to the assembled pride coordinators and will do a meet and greet in the afternoon.  The schedule/agenda for the conference has been posted under “Keystone Pride” on the Philly Pride webpage.