July 10, 2021
And Just Like That... Boston Pride Dissolves
READ TIME: 3 MIN.
While Boston Pride had been immersed in internal struggles over the past year, the announcement that the committee was dissolving yesterday caught many by surprise.
In a statement released late Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for Boston Pride wrote: "It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride. We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. There will be no further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization."
The organization's self-imposed dissolvement has put plans for a delayed 2021 Pride event (rescheduled from June to the fall) in question, if not cancelled altogether. The event was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Boston Pride, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.
Last month the organization's director Linda DeMarco announced that she planned on resigning this summer in response to criticism that the group "excluded people of color and trans people, which led some to boycott the group," reports the Boston Globe
Asked about the controversy by NECN commentator and publisher of the Boston LGBTQ publication Bay Windows Sue O'Connell in
The issues about representation had been simmering for some time, but came to a head last summer, EDGE reported when racial justice protests spread across the country after the death of George Floyd, an African American man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
"The Pride board rejected a statement drafted by its own communications team and issued a watered-down version without consulting its Black Pride subcommittee members," the Globe article added. 'That was the last straw for many activists who felt Pride's board was not taking their feedback and was out of touch with their concerns.'"
A mass exodus of volunteers soon followed – 80% to be exact, as per the outlet.
"Activists demanding change at Boston Pride went further still, which eventually sparked the boycott. Twenty-five organizations withheld their support in response. DeMarco told O'Connell that individuals had also stopped applying to be on Boston Pride's transformation advisory council."
The announcement that DeMarco was planning on resigning came at the same time there were pop-up-styled Pride events. On Saturday, June 12 Trans Resistance MA will hosted its�second annual vigil�for Black Trans Lives, which marched from Nubian Square to Franklin Park and ending with a rally and performances. This week, four groups, including Trans Resistance, staged a political power play by persuading every major candidate for mayor to abandon Boston Pride's scheduled political forum and instead attend their own, reported the Boston Globe.
What happens next is still to be determined. But Jo Trigilio, cofounder of Pride 4 the People and a former member of the Boston Pride communications team, told the Globe that: "There will be a new parade. I'm confident that there's going to be a new form of a parade, because Trans Resistance is already happening."
"Trigilio would like to see an event that combines the pageantry of a parade with the purpose of a political march," the Globe adds.
"Pride is both a celebration but also a political event, and I think that's the part of Pride that's been lost," Trigilio said. "That's what people want back, is the focus on the political aspects. To look at the ways in which LBGTQ people, especially those with intersecting oppressions, are still being affected by institutionalized racism, et cetera."
O'Connell told the Globe that the issues with Boston Pride have been growing for some time. "It doesn't represent everyone, and they certainly had serious and obviously grave challenges meeting the moment that we're in, and frankly this challenge has been not just the past year for them, but at least the past 10 to 15 years. Unfortunately they just were not up to the occasion that's calling for change, and it's a shame."