Philly’s new Pride set for first weekend in June

Philadelphia’s new organization PHL Pride Collective (PPC) has set June 3-5 for its first Pride weekend, which will include a march in place of the traditional parade. The date was scheduled to avoid conflict with other regional events, including the city’s Odunde Festival, the African American street market rooted in the traditions of Nigeria’s Yoruba people. Previously, Philly Pride and Odunde had been on the same day.

During a two-day retreat this past October hosted by the QTBIPOC social justice organization GALAEI, PPC members decided to hold a march in June to pay homage to the Stonewall Riots and the legacy of Pride. GALAEI has partnered with PPC for its first year of operation to provide a physical location and administrative support for the collective’s planning initiatives.  

“A decision was made to have a march in June to be in alignment with the historical roots of pride events, which was not only to celebrate our existence as LGBTQ+ people, but also to bring attention to the lack of civil rights and other oppressive forces impacting our communities,” PPC General Body and Finance Committee Member Lee F. Carson said in an email on behalf of the collective. “The first Pride celebration in Philadelphia was 1972, so the celebration next year will be of historical significance as the 50th anniversary of Philadelphia’s LGBTQ+ Pride.” 

PPC is also planning to hold a parade in October to mark National Coming Out Day, a celebratory time of year for the LGBTQ community, PPC members told PGN in an email. “When most people ‘come out’, they celebrate this event as a mark of freedom from the burden of hiding their sexual and/or gender identity,” Carson said in an email. 

PPC formed midway through 2021, shortly after the abrupt dissolution of Philly Pride Presents, which was in charge of planning local Pride events for the last 30 years. Philly Pride Presents faced backlash earlier this year for posting transphobic remarks on its Facebook page and failing to make its events inclusive of all members of the LGBTQ community, including Black and Brown people, people with disabilities and other more marginalized queer people. 

The members of PPC, “envision year-round programming that celebrates LGBTQ+ communities, and creates spaces for LGBTQ+ people to meet, engage in collective healing, educate each other, and support the well-being of our communities throughout Philadelphia,” according to the collective’s website. 

In order to facilitate planning, PPC established several organizational committees to divide duties related to finance, marketing, logistics and entertainment, accessibility, medical resources, safety, youth and volunteering, the collective said. PPC is still accepting volunteers to help with planning. 

“This is a wonderful way for people to get involved in something that will have a positive impact for tens of thousands of Philadelphians who have not been able to attend a major Pride event in two years due to Covid and the disbanding of Philly Pride Presents earlier this year,” Carson added.  

As part of its fundraising initiatives, PPC set up a Go Fund Me page entitled “Reimagine Philly Pride,” from which the collective hopes to raise $50,000.

Upon establishing itself as the new Pride entity in Philly, the members of PPC created “Points of Unity,” a list of tenets and terms that they will uphold when producing Pride events going forward. 

Some of those points include: avoiding collaboration or communication with the police; upholding the history of Pride by centering the experiences of those who fought on the front line; putting the community at the center of Pride rather than corporations; having Black and Brown LGBTQ people be at the helm of Pride events; making Pride accessible to people with disabilities; making Pride accessible to those who speak languages other than English or whose main language is not English; promoting a zero tolerance policy for consent violations; and making clear that Pride organizers have no tolerance for transantagonism, fatphobia, xenophobia, islamophobia, HIV-phobia, misogyny, or any other perpetuation of white supremacy or oppressive ideals.  More information about PPC events can be found on the collective’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Those interested in volunteering can get in touch with the group members at [email protected].