Philly Pride Presents executive director Franny Price has announced that Pride 2019 will be her last.
Price planned on retiring after this year’s OutFest, the largest National Coming Out Day event in the world on Oct. 7, but then she changed her mind.
“I put my retirement on hold because a lot of the big leaders in the city’s LGBT community met with me and discussed how important it would be for me to take on the Pride celebration in honor of Stonewall’s 50th anniversary,” Price told PGN.
“Every city will be going all out next year for that and it wouldn’t be fair for a Pride beginner to tackle such a monumental celebration,” said Price.
Price began coordinating Philadelphia’s Pride celebrations in 1978, when the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Taskforce, now known as Philly Pride Presents, organized the city’s first Pride to honor the twentieth anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. PPP, a group of volunteer coordinators, organizes the city’s annual Pride festival and parade as well as the annual OutFest block party.
Price anticipates next year’s festival to be the city’s biggest-ever Pride event and said she plans to provide an appropriate send-off to her 30-year career.
“It’s been great to watch the festival grow over the years from a small parade to now being the largest Pride celebration in the region,” Price said. “I want to go out with a bang and celebrate the biggest Pride that this city’s ever seen.”
Philadelphia Pride, along with the more than 300 Pride celebrations that happen throughout the country, began as a way to honor the Stonewall riots, which served as a catalyst for the gay-rights movement in the United States and around the world.
On June 28, 1969, New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village. The raid incited a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police forced employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and clashes with law enforcement outside the bar not only on Christopher Street, but in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park.
At this year’s Pride parade, a transgender woman, ReeAnna Segin, was arrested after attempting to set fire to a flag supporting law enforcement — the first arrest in PPP history.
“I’m sorry that the young woman was incarcerated and housed at a men’s correctional facility, which is unfortunate, but our goal is to always have a safe event.” Price said. “I’m fearful that there’s going to be a copy cat.”
Talks of finding Price’s successor are currently in the works but, so far, no one has been confirmed as a replacement. Price said that once she retires, she’ll be working fulltime at her video store, Spruce Street Video — the oldest operating LGBT video store in the country.