On Sunday, Philly Pride was aware of the unfolding of events in Orlando, but certainly none of the specifics. Our volunteers and coordinators were on the street as early as 5:30 a.m. and continued our PrideDay parade and festival with an overwhelming presence from the Philadelphia Police Department, unaware of the grisly details that would emerge over the next several days.
When Philly Pride was formed in 1989, its specific task was to continue the parade and festival that had occurred spontaneously that year and proved so successful. Philly Pride also organizes OutFest in October, which, although a National Coming Out Day event and not specifically a gay pride event, serves a similar purpose. We have remained true to our directive from the community over the years, and our events have grown ever larger and more successful as we endeavor to showcase our community and its various permutations.
Therefore, our raison d’etre is to conduct the most public expression of our community’s pride, which, unfortunately, exposes us to disruption by those with anti-LGBT feelings and beliefs, and, in the case of what transpired in Orlando, exposes us to hatred and harm as well. As we mourn the victims and try to make sense out of the incomprehensible, we remain resolute and uncowed in doing our events the way we have done so the last 28 years. We believe the victims in Orlando are best served by our commitment.
We applaud the other pride organizations throughout the United States and the rest of the world who will bravely continue their celebrations and put themselves at risk. Pride events like Philadelphia’s are not done frivolously and in derogation or denial of the horrors in Orlando. Our events simply must be continued because to not do so would give the perpetrators of hatred and violence exactly what they desire.