An ad hoc group representing a broad spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community in Philadelphia has begun organizing a Pride event, in the wake of the suddenly canceled Philly Pride Parade that had been scheduled for September.
On Thursday, about 50 people came together – both individuals and people associated with groups like ACT UP Philly, Disrupt Philly, and Philly Trans March — for a Zoom call, which resulted in a series of 18 statements that will dictate a future Pride event. The “points of unity” stated that it must be a “Black and Brown LGBTQI-led event,” that it will not involve police in any way, and that Pride should be “explicitly inclusive of Trans people, Fat people, immigrants, Muslim folks, people who are HIV+, Black women/femmes.”
Activist and writer Abdul-Aliy Muhammad presented the list of agreements outside City Hall the next day, Friday, and announced that a preliminary planning stage has begun for a future Pride event, although they could not provide a vision of what such an event would look like.
“I can’t speak on that right now. We haven’t talked about it,” said Muhammad. “I envision and hope that it involves a march, because we didn’t have one during Pride Month. Also somewhere stationary, where folks can gather. So I think it will be a combination of both.”
Muhammad rallied stakeholders after the organization that had been running the Pride Parade for 33 years, Philly Pride Presents suddenly pulled the plug not only on this year’s event but on the entire organization, itself. Pride Presents dissolved for undisclosed reasons. It had come under fire from the LGBTQ community after Pride Presents made statements on Facebook that were read as anti-trans and pro-police.
The meeting on Thursday was intended to be the first of many as the group seeks more input from the community and more members who can take active roles in creating an organization able to put on a major event. If the still-unnamed group achieves a legally recognized structure, it may be able to assume resources leftover from Pride Presents.
“In their bylaws it states that if they dissolve as an organization, they have to give those resources that they have to a comparable organization,” said Muhammad. “I feel like we are that. We’re trying to figure that out.”
Many members of the group, including Muhammad and ACT UP Philly, had intentionally not been involved with the Pride Parade in the past, because they felt the organization did not adequately represent Black and Latino communities, and were too close to the police. The group hopes to hold some kind of event in October, when Pride Presents typically held OutFest.
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