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News :: GLBT/Queer
Marching for Gay Rights and Sexual Freedom - Pride Abounds at 2014 New England Pride Celebrations
10 Jun 2014
Defend Gay Rights!
From Rhode Island to Maine, New England Pride season is full of celebrations throughout Massachusetts and other states in the region. Each year, LGBTQ people and allies come together not only in solidarity and support for equality, but also to showcase the diverse and unique facets of their communities.

The first of this year’s events, Northampton (Noho) Pride, will be held May 3. J.M. Sorrell, spokesperson for the event, shared the meaning behind this year’s theme.

“The theme ‘Unity in Diversity’ was chosen for all participants—LGBT people and allies—to recognize and support our multiple identities. When we gather once a year, we open our hearts to each other in empathy to honor our similarities and differences.”

Noho Pride originally began as the “Northampton Lesbian and Gay Liberation March in 1982. Historically held the first Saturday in May, Sorrell said it set a trend for other events throughout the region.

“Northampton has the distinction of being ‘Lesbianville,’ and as such has a higher than usual proportion of lesbians in the LGBT communities in the surrounding areas,” Sorrell said. “Every LGBT pride event in the region, the country and the world is unique and important to all of us.”

For a full schedule or performers and the day’s activities, visit www.nohopride.org.

Boston Pride is the largest of New England’s annual Pride celebrations and one of the largest in the United States. This year will mark the 44th anniversary of the Boston Pride Parade, the second longest running LGBTQ parade next to New York.

“We celebrate the LGBT community, but we are also inclusive of the community at large and embrace the support everyone has given us over the years,” said Sylvain Bruni, Boston Pride’s new president.

With the celebration kicking off June 6 and running through June 15, the theme for Boston Pride 2014 is “Be Yourself, Change the World.”

“The theme encourages the LGBT community to embrace what makes each individual unique and to use those qualities to change the world for the better,” Bruni said.

Bruni shared several differences to this year’s festivities, including that the parade will start an hour earlier than in past years, beginning at 11 a.m. on June 14, due to the ongoing construction at the Government Center MBTA station at City Hall Plaza, where the festival will take place. The construction in the area will reduce entry space into the festival, making it necessary to allow for additional time for participants and spectators to enter. Additionally, Bruni said their entertainment line-up is more diverse than it has ever been, and so far includes Mary Lambert, A Great Big World, Alex Newell, JD Samson and Jeanie Tracy, with more to be announced soon.

Other events include the Flag Raising ceremony June 6, Pride Day @ Faneuil Hall, Pride Queeraoke, Pride Night at Fenway Park, the Pride Youth Dance, the LGBT Senior Pride Tea Dance, the Boston Dyke March, the Back Bay Block Party and the JP Block Party. For a full schedule, visit www.bostonpride.com.

Following Boston Pride, North Shore Pride will be celebrated June 21 with an ecumenical interfaith service, followed by a festival with vendors at the Salem Common, a parade, and other events through the day.

“Since inception, the motto of North Shore Pride has been unity in our community,” said Hope Watt-Bucci, founder and president of North Shore Pride Inc. “As such, North Shore Pride, Inc. emphasizes our organization as a vehicle for understanding, education and equality. While our annual event is a day long celebration with a Parade, Festival and After Party, the Board of North Shore Pride, Inc. hopes to provide an opportunity for our community to unite, to have open discussions, have access to education on issues particular to the LGBTQ community, and most importantly, to have an opportunity to share with their families this day of unity.”

Bucci went on to explain that this year’s theme of “How do you show your North Shore Pride?” was chosen in response to feedback that people and organizations were incorrectly referring to the event as Salem Pride. Bucci said she founded North Shore Pride, Inc. in 2012 after several anti-gay hate crimes occurred in the area.

“The primary purpose of the organization is to reach those LGBTQ persons, families and allies throughout the North Shore area who may be struggling or having difficulty and need assistance or want to connect with supports and resources on the North Shore,” said Bucci. “Although the event has been held in Salem, MA to date each year, we wanted to use our theme to bring persons and families from around the North Shore together and to let everyone in the North Shore know this is your event.”

Performer applications are still under review, but will include television and recording artist Alex Newell (also performing at Boston Pride), who is perhaps best known for playing Wade “Unique” Adams on Glee. Newell, who is from the North Shore, will also appear at a VIP reception with fans at the After Party at Murphy’s Pub.

Bucci added that North Shore Pride, Inc. will highlight the achievements of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on behalf of the LGBTQ community, including the 10th anniversary of the right for same-sex couples to marry in Massachusetts and the fact that Salem became the fifth city in the Commonwealth to include public accommodations for transgender people in their anti-discrimination ordinance. In addition, North Shore Pride, Inc. will present monetary awards to community organizations that promote the mission of North Shore Pride, Inc., and will offer more family friendly activities at this year’s Festival.

For more information on North Shore Pride, visit www.northshorepride.org.

Also on June 21, Rhode Island PrideFest will take place in Providence. According to Rhode Island Pride Office Manager Jennifer Stevens, the 2014 theme “Triumph & Transformation” was chosen to celebrate Rhode Island’s marriage equality victory.

“‘Transformation’ draws attention not only to the struggle for trans inclusivity, but also to the changing nature of our community’s plight,” said Stevens. “Victory is sweet, but we must adapt to the changing times and remember that the struggle continues toward achieving equality and acceptance.”

While the full schedule has not yet been confirmed, the event will include the 38th annual Rhode Island PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade, as well as other events leading up to these. Performers scheduled to entertain at this year’s event include Comedian Poppy Champlin, Heather Rose in Clover, Aiden James, local bands, comedians and drag queens.

For more information, visit www.prideri.com.

Later in the Pride season, Worcester Pride will be held September 4-6, kicking off with a flag raising and wrapping up with a festival, parade and block party. Joslyn Fox of RuPaul’s Drag Race will be among the entertainers for the event, the theme of which is “Just As I Am.”

“The theme and art work were chosen by Pride supporters, mostly through social media,” said John Trobaugh, Worcester Pride President. “We had hundreds of people suggest, then vote on the winner. We have always used public feedback, but this year the entire process was driven by our supporters”

Trobaugh spoke to what makes Worcester Pride special, including being known as “the Family regional Pride of New England;” having an intense focus on local talent; including many college students and groups; engaging the community; and having a political voice.

“Every year we have had more and more participation from all stripes of local politicians,” said Trobaugh. “We contact them all and let them know our community want to hear from them and we want them to hear from us. In fact, we recently met with the city manager to improve Worcester’s city score on the HRC index. The meeting was a success and the city announced its first LGBT Police liaison. In addition, we have made recommendations for legislation that would allow the city to shine on paper as much as it does in person. We love Worcester and it shows.”

For more information, visit www.worcesterpride.org.

Pride Vermont will hold its festivities September 7-14, with their Pride March and Festival on September 14. Other events will include the Annual High Heel Race, discounted prices at shops and restaurants during Out on Church Street, and the annual Women’s Tea Dance. Randy Violette, Chair of Pride Vermont; Willie Docto, Director of Vermont Gay Tourism Association; and Kim Fountain, Executive Director of RU12? Community Center, explained the theme chosen for this year’s celebration, which will be held in Burlington.

“This year’s theme is Generations of Pride,” the group shared. “The community chose this theme for its dual message to encompass Pride across the decades and pride across the lifespan. We felt that it was a great way to celebrate diversity and to honor our community members of all ages. We also wanted to honor our history as a movement.”

The group also noted that Pride Vermont stands out due to its date in September, which is chosen, among other reasons, based on the weather and to be inclusive of Vermont students. Pride Vermont also stands out due to the Vermont Northern Decadence Food and Travel Expo put on by Vermont Gay Tourism Association, which will showcase LGBT-friendly businesses from across Vermont and include food and wine samples, a silent auction, and the Decadent Cupcake Competition.

“This is a festival within a festival,” said Docto. “Vermont’s is the tastiest Pride festival in the country.”

For the first time, Pride Vermont will also include a Gender Fun Tent to not only celebrate Pride, but also educate the public about the various gender identities in the LGBTQIAA community.

For more information on Pride Vermont, visit pridevt.wordpress.com
See also:
http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2014/05/01/pride-abounds-2014-new-england-pride-celebrations/

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Re: Marching for Gay Rights and Sexual Freedom -
10 Jun 2014
Click on image for a larger version

syracuse_0627.jpg
Pride marchers demand transgender rights

By Minnie Bruce Pratt on June 18, 2013

Syracuse, N.Y — CNY Solidarity marched loud and proud at Central New York Pride on June 15. Youth activists organized and led the contingent. The number of marchers participating in the group doubled from the 2012 march.

They held signs high that argued the need to link anti-racist struggle and the fight against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and related oppressions, particularly transphobia. One sign pointed out that 87 percent of LGBTQ hate crime victims are people of color. Another sign stated that almost half the murder victims of hate crimes are transwomen.

As the contingent marched the short parade route, they passed right-wing bigots using bullhorns to preach hate against LGBTQ people.

The unified powerful voice of the contingent drowned out the bigots with their thundering chant: “Stop the hate! Stop the hate!”

http://www.workers.org/articles/2013/06/18/pride-marchers-demand-transge/
Re: Marching for Gay Rights and Sexual Freedom - Pride Abounds at 2014 New England Pride Celebrations
10 Jun 2014
Click on image for a larger version

buffalo_0612.jpg
The annual Pride Parade in Buffalo is huge, raucous and wonderfully well-attended, but for many years it has been depoliticized by corporate sponsorship, becoming a party rather than a rallying point for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For the parade on June 1 this year, the Buffalo/Western New York International Action Center called activists out to bring a radical political edge back to Pride.

Declaring that “All issues are LGBTQ issues!” the group carried a banner and drove a car plastered with placards, and urged activists to march in the contingent to unite against war, racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ bigotry. Throughout the length of the parade, the contingent was greeted with a huge roar of approval from the crowds.

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/06/06/issues-lgbtq-issues/
Re:
14 Jun 2014
pink wash.jpg
EVERY YEAR in June, the LGBTQ community comes together to celebrate Pride month; and every year, you're guaranteed to see advertisements marketing Israel as a hot, must-visit gay tourist destination. From Tel Aviv's supposed cultural acceptance of LGBTQ people to Israel's offer of endless partying and hot, chiseled men, it's a gaycation not to be missed.

But this PR blitz neglects to mention a fundamental truth: Israel is an apartheid state.

For starters, Israel, like all societies in the world, is rife with homophobia and transphobia. It has a highly organized, well-financed and politically influential Jewish right wing that advocates for socially reactionary, anti-LGBTQ, misogynistic policies. It is far from a queer paradise.

More importantly, Israel is a colonial-settler society based on racial apartheid. It's a country whose establishment in 1948 was based on the violent expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Arab population to clear the way for the creation of an exclusively Jewish state. It's a society where Palestinians live as second-class citizens, systematically subjected to racist discrimination, and as prisoners subjected to inhumane and brutal conditions in the Occupied Territories of the West Bank and Gaza--commonly referred to as the world's "largest open air prison" because of the current blockade imposed by Israel.

Israel's boosters seem to have realized that building an apartheid wall and bulldozing homes in the West Bank, or enacting a blockade that collectively punishes and starves the entire population of Gaza, aren't the best marketing schemes when it comes to promoting itself as a bastion of progress.

Instead of focusing on its shameful abuse of human rights and violation of international law, Israel has made a concerted effort to market its image as an LGBTQ-accepting, tolerant society in a sea of Arab reaction. While it's true that some LGBTQ people have been able to create cultural enclaves in select urban centers in Israel, these marketing efforts serve another purpose: to detract attention away from other, not-so-pretty facts about Israeli society, while demonizing those it colonizes in order to justify its crimes against them.

Activists like to call this blatant exploitation of LGBTQ rights for colonial purposes "pinkwashing."

Nothing illustrates the highly selective and hypocritical nature of Israel's supposed "progressive" character more clearly than the experiences of LGBTQ Palestinians themselves.

There is no special pink door for LGBTQ Palestinians to cross through the apartheid wall or get them around the daily humiliation of checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Identifying as LGBTQ does not allow Palestinians a free trip back to their homeland in historic Palestine (that only applies to Jews), and being LGBTQ most certainly does not grant protection to Palestinians when the Israel Defense Force decides to rain down missiles on their homes, schools and hospitals in Gaza.

Being queer or Jewish or both does not come with a pass to carry out systematic oppression, violence and dispossession against another group of people. Israel's partial and uneven acceptance of (some) LGBTQ people does not justify its horrific and obscene treatment of all Palestinians--queer and straight.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

WE CELEBRATE Pride every year in June to commemorate the Stonewall Rebellion of 1969 and the modern LGBTQ movement to which it gave birth. What most people probably don't know is that Stonewall took place in an era of radicalism, a time period when movements actively saw themselves in solidarity with liberation struggles taking place across the world against all systems of oppression, empire and occupation. The gay liberation movement of the '60s and '70s was no different.

Gay liberationists understood that sexual and gender freedom were impossible without confronting and dismantling the interlocking systems of exploitation and oppression that grind down and suffocate all of us--LGBTQ and straight. This meant then, as it does today, that solidarity and a willingness to confront all forms of oppression queer people experience--Palestinians included--need to be central to our movement.

The U.S. funds Israel to the tune of $3 billion a year, making it one of the largest recipients of U.S. foreign aid. As people in the U.S., not only do we have a particular responsibility to speak out against Israel's crimes, but if we are organized and effective enough, we also hold the potential power to bring them to a halt by cutting off U.S. funding.

Thankfully, there is already a growing movement on campuses and in communities pushing for this; it's called "boycott, divestment and sanctions." The BDS movement has three simple demands: 1) an end to the occupation and the dismantling of the Apartheid Wall, 2) equal rights for all Palestinians within Israel, and 3) the right to return for all Palestinian refugees.

As queer people, we have a political and moral obligation to speak out and not allow our collective identity, our history and our struggle against oppression to be used in the service of colonialism and occupation. If you haven't already, educate yourself about the Palestinian struggle, and join the global BDS movement.

There's no pride in pinkwashing apartheid.

For more information about Israeli apartheid and the occupation, check out itisapartheid.org and endtheoccupation.org. For more information about the BDS movement and how to get involved, check out bdsmovement.net

http://www.therainbowtimesmass.com/2014/06/07/theres-pride-apartheid-sto/