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Philly Pride Is Not Happy About the D.C. National Pride March

Remember that massive National Pride March scheduled to happen on June 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.? Yeah, umm … it just happens to be schedule on the exact same weekend as Phildelphia’s pride event, and the Philly Pride organizers are not happy.

Here’s a statement they posted yesterday on their site, phillygaypride.org:

Philly Gay Pride has heard about the proposed LGBT March on Washington scheduled for Sunday, June 11, which conflicts with our Gay Pride Parade and Festival. We are working studiously to avoid the impact this would have on our local events. We have our Kick-Off Block Party on Friday, June 9, and the Dyke March and William Way Homecoming on Saturday, June 10, so it is a busy local weekend. A loss in 15% to 25% of our attendance is likely catastrophic, putting both our June PrideDay and October OutFest in jeopardy. Not only does this threaten the viability of Philadelphia’s gay pride organization, it will have a profound negative effect on the myriad of community non-profits that depend on our events.

This event was proposed by a single individual without consultation with local Pride organizations, many of which have their events that weekend. Capital Pride (Washington D.C.) quickly moved to support this event because it would greatly increase the attendance at their festival. Logistically, it is difficult-to-impossible to move our event to another date given our Great Plaza location, entertainment, chair/table/tent rental, obtaining floats for the parade, etc., let alone disrupting neighboring Pride events by our moving to their dates….

Make no mistake about it, this event was spontaneously scheduled without any due consideration of those of us who work so hard to keep our local voices heard. It will be a one-and-done Washington D.C. event, and we will be left to deal with the devastating consequences in the future.

Philly Pride has urged people to ask the National Pride March to reschedule and to request that Capital Pride withdraw their support. So far, the National March Facebook event page has 28,000 RSVPs and more than 140,000 people invited. Comparatively, Philly Gay Pride says that their 2015 event drew 25,000 attendees.

In a January 30 column, Philly Voice writer Natalie Hope McDonald suggested that Philly Pride suspend their 2017 event and funnel their resources into transporting LGBTQ Philadelphians to the D.C. march to “send a critical message to the new Trump administration”:

… for the sake of LGBT rights nationwide, let’s think bigger than Philly, bigger than Penn’s Landing, and let’s pitch in to help the dedicated, hard-working people of Philly Pride Presents reimagine its role anew this year. Let’s offer to find ways to get even the most economically disenfranchised among us a ticket to march for their pride, for their rights.

A third idea would be to organize a local “sister march” through the streets of Philadelphia in solidarity with the D.C. marchers; many other cities will hold similar satellite marches as a way to keep LGBTQ issues public mind.

Philly Pride organizers have pledged to keep “working on this very difficult matter and … inform the community of any changes.”

(featured image via visitphilly.com)