Amid fan-favorite traditions like the Gayborhood block party and the City Hall flag-raising, Philadelphia’s 30th annual Pride celebration featured even more inclusive, diverse events than ever before.
Pride weekend June 8-10 featured nearly 20 events by a variety of organizations spanning three days. The Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs jumpstarted Pride with the flag-raising ceremony, followed by the “Pride in the Plaza” kickoff party in the City Hall courtyard June 7, a new addition to the celebration. Dancers, musical artists and drag queens performed in the courtyard as an introduction to the weekend.
The William Way homecoming and the block party followed June 8. The Dyke March celebrated 20 years June 9. The festivities wrapped up Sunday with a rainy Pride parade and festival headlined by Margaret Cho at Penn’s Landing.
New additions to the lineup included more events for people of color, families, women and any combination thereof. JUICE, a summertime music, arts and film festival, invited LGBTQ women of color to celebrate Pride on June 9. Selina Carrera, a JUICE performer, saidthe event was a welcome addition to a Pride weekend that lacked celebratory spaces for people of color.
“I need spaces like this to exist and to see reflections of myself,” Carrera said. I didn’t even know that there were this many black and brown LGBTQ women in this city until JUICE. That says a lot about who’s being represented during Pride. We’re a part of this community so there should be more representation of that.”
Jenn Anderson, co-lead of this year’s Dyke March, said the inclusion of more diverse events mirrors why the march started 20 years ago.
“We’ve been a part of Philly Pride for the last 20 years. So much has changed but so much more change is on the horizon. To see the self-identified dykes of all shapes and colors marching with us at the Dyke March reminded us of just how far we’ve come, not just as a community, but as a celebration in general,” she said. “We’ve always been a protest, and to see more people join us each year lets me know that we’re headed in the right direction.”
LGBTQ families were also included in this year’s Pride, with Please Touch Museum’s inaugural Pride Family Festival on June 9. Adam Podowitz, board member of Philadelphia Family Pride, said it was reaffirming to see families that resemble his own being openly celebrated.
“Please Touch took a major step towards showing a family structure that many people are still trying to ignore. We live, love and create families just like everyone else and we want to see that reflected regularly,” said Podowitz. “Pride should be celebrated past June, past celebrations where the LGBT community is at the center. It must be a conscious effort every single day for every organization.”
Controversy surrounded Please Touch’s Pride Family Festival with the announcement of a storytime segment hosted by drag queens. Parents who were against Drag Queen Storytime left negative comments on the museum’s Facebook page. Miss Aurora, one of the drag-queen readers, said the support outweighed the negativity.
“Parents set aside time to thank us for being there and for sharing what we do with their children. Some parents have a lot of queer friends and are able to introduce their children into the community, but that’s not a reality for a lot of people,” she said. “A lot of parents are looking for ways to help their children see more of the diversity of human experience and the amazing things that the people in our community can do. We want to encourage them to have open imaginations, to be able to play openly and freely without any constraints or boundaries.”