From the inbox this morning…
In response to the current political environment and in the interest of unifying the work of LGBT Organizations around the country, Take Back Pride is a new campaign aimed towards educating our community and the citizens of the United States on the many inequalities we currently face.
Over the past forty years, since the very first Pride March, we feel that some of the aspects of protest have disappeared from many Pride celebrations. While it remains alive and well in some places, we believe that through education and inclusion of ALL members of our community, we can work to actually use our incredibly diverse and beautiful marches to advance our civil rights.
The website, which will continue to be updated as we move ahead, will serve as a resource to those willing to participate in the campaign. While we are based in New York and are in communication with Heritage of Pride NYC in the hopes of working together on this project, we hope to include citizens in every part of the US in Taking Back Pride.
Please consider the attached letter and endorsements as an open letter to our community and allies.
Click here for the aforementioned letter (PDF) with signatories/endorsements (including the likes of Dan Choi, GetEqual’s Robin McGehee, GoodAsYou.org’s Jeremy Hooper, Towleroad.com’s Corey Johnson and veteran activist David Mixner).
The “Take Back Pride” concept is interesting, and a long overdue message to Pride organizers across the nation. In particular, it’s, perhaps, a much needed message for organizers of Pride Charlotte who in 2009 downplayed the historic political/protest nature of Pride.
‚ÄúWe aren‚Äôt necessarily making a political statement. We are putting on a festival to celebrate who we are,” 2009 festival co-chair Clay Smith said at the time.
A little background: The City of Charlotte had been involved in a lawsuit with anti-gay street preacher Flip Benham and his group Operation Save America. In his court filings, Benham claimed the city had participated in “viewpoint discrimination” when it denied him a festival permit. He cited Pride Charlotte, which does receive festival permitting, as an example of a “political” event approved for festival licensing by the city.
Regardless of the city’s unfortunate involvement in a lawsuit (which a federal district court dismissed), is it the role of Pride organizers, whether in Charlotte or elsewhere, to neglect the history of Pride? I believe our community and its leaders would do well to remember Pride’s roots in the Stonewall Riots and the oppression our community faced then and continues to face today.
Is Pride a political statement? Pride Charlotte says no. History says yes. In order for us to know where we are going, we have to know where we’ve been. Our community’s leadership and Pride organizers everywhere would do well to remember our history and tie in their festivities with events which mark and commemorate the very reason we have Prides to begin with.
[Ed. Note ‚ÄĒ The original version of this blog post mentioned Pride events from 2008. That's incorrect. The events occurred in 2009. We regret the error.]