Philly Pride Presents director to retire after 2019 event

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,” she added.

PFP is a group of volunteer coordinators that 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,” she 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 she illegally attempted to set fire to a flag supporting law enforcement — the first arrest in PFP 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 copycat.”

Talks of finding Price’s successor are currently in the works but, so far, no one has been confirmed as a replacement. She said that once she retires, she’ll be working full-time at her business, Spruce Street Video — the oldest operating LGBT video store in the country.

Price’s retirement announcement sparked online debate about her replacement. Mansa Jaiye, a home-care aide, became embroiled in a debate after expressing hope on PGN’s Facebook page that PPP’s next executive director would be a person of color.

“I believe that a person of color in this position would open new opportunities for everyone to be included in future events,” Jaiye told PGN in a phone interview. “For 15 years, I’ve been going down to the Gayborhood. Back then, I could see myself represented throughout the entire community, especially in its nightlife. Over time, I noticed certain changes and policies implemented where only people of color seemed to be affected. That eventually showed up in Pride and other events done by our ‘community’. I no longer felt included.”

Antar Bush, a public-health advocate, said Pride Day is in need of change. Bush organized the first-ever parade at this year’s Philly Black Pride — an event specifically for LGBTQ people of color and their allies — because he felt like PBP needed something new. When asked, he said that he’s “never felt welcomed” at the city’s Pride celebration.

“I don’t know if it’s intentional,” he said, “but Philly Black Pride is catered towards the community that I’m heavily involved in, and that’s where I feel more welcomed to celebrate my culture and my identity.”