The past and present of Philly Pride

The start of the 2013 Philly Pride parade.

Something last week that appeared in PGN was a little unusual and might actually pave a path to solving the LGBT Pride decision in our community. Our community at this time on this issue is like the U.S. Senate: polarized. And neither end of that issue has gained the trust of the greater community. 

Here’s what I saw from the exclusive PGN had on the release of Philly Pride Presents’ (PPP) tax forms. As we wrote in the article, no LGBT non-profit wished to be quoted on the subject. They didn’t wish to comment on either Philly Pride Presents or the new Pride group. When posted online and social media, it became clear that people were truly divided.

The Issue of PPP is synonymous by one name: Franny Price. The social media post by individuals regarding PGN’s story found a split among those who supported her 30 years of hard work and those who saw something in the filings that they somehow thought was illegal and then attacked her actions. From the forms we have seen, there is nothing there that shows anything illegal. If the organization paid rent at her store, that is similar to the condo that was once owned by the executive director of Equality Forum and that the organization paid in some form for its occupancy. If she was taken off payroll and became a consultant, that as well is legal. What is left is that some did not like the way she ran the organization, or did not like her for personal reasons. Some comments were downright ageist.

Likewise, we have those who are skeptical of the new Pride group, specifically their lack of traditional experience, organization and transparency, but in this time of social and racial justice, a non-traditional approach might be the way to go. However, one might question the form to be a part of the organization, where it asks your race and ethnicity. In that regard, one has to ask, who reviews these forms and makes decisions on who is welcome to join?  If they wish to limit the organization to one or more groups, they as a private organization have the right to do so, but they should be transparent that they will be limiting those who can contribute based on specific factors. Pride should be inclusive. We made sure of that at the first Pride in 1970. Can you imagine the uproar if PPP had those same questions about race and ethnicity on its forms to volunteer or assist the organization? 

While you may not agree with the way PPP was run, for 30 years it gave us a Pride, and the work was mostly on the shoulders of Franny. That needs to be noted. At the same time we need to see if the new Pride group can be different then PPP and make an honest effort to take community input and make changes.