Boston Pride Parade 2018 is around the corner and this year’s event marks the 48th anniversary of a Pride celebration here. It’s one of the largest public parades in New England, according to the organizers, and will feature 45,000 participants and more than 500,000 spectators.
Metro caught up with Sylvain Bruni, president of Boston Pride, to hear about what the 2018 event has in store, and why it’s still an important effort as the LGBTQ community continues to face threats.
This year's theme is "Rainbow Resistance," what does that mean to you?
Sylvain Bruni: Our 2018 theme, “Rainbow Resistance” is a call for every segment of the community to unite in the resistance against the oppression and backwards policies of the current administration in Washington, the systematic threats to communities of color and trans people in the country and the potential repeal of trans equality legislation in Massachusetts. “Rainbow Resistance” amplifies Boston Pride’s commitment to promote community engagement and inclusivity while striving for visibility and respect in unity. We want every community member and our allies to ask themselves how they can resist, during the Pride celebrations, and throughout the year.
Why is it important to take into account the current political climate in the Pride celebration?
The recent U.S. Supreme court decision on the Colorado baker, and the upcoming November ballot referendum that would repeal transgender rights in Massachusetts, are the latest examples of how our LGBTQ community continues to be threatened by those who wants to deny us full equality under the law. The Boston Pride celebrations are a way to maintain the visibility of the LGBTQ community to a larger population, and show that our struggles continue across the state and across the country, and to advocate for progress, equality and respect for LGBTQ people.
Boston Pride President Sylvain Bruni. Photo: Marilyn Humphries
How is this year’s event different than previous years, either because of that climate or otherwise?
The current political climate is certainly having a mobilizing impact on our Pride events and on our community. We have a record number of contingents marching this year in the parade – 360 compared to 330 last year (which was already a huge step up from 287 in 2016!) and we have more events this week than ever with 50+ events throughout the month of June. The parade itself will be ever more political with hundreds of Mayors from all over the country marching with Mayor Walsh (they are in Boston attending the Conference of Mayors), with a Trans Remembrance group that commemorates the victims of transphobia and violence, and a gigantic contingent led by Freedom For All Massachusetts, the organization rallying over 1,000 groups to ensure the protection of trans rights in the Commonwealth.
What’s your favorite part of Pride?
Putting on the Pride Parade and all the Pride events is a tall order. As an all-volunteer organization, we couldn't do it without the dedication of all our Pride team members who give their blood, sweat, and tears (and cash!) year round to make this happen. My favorite part of the celebration is pausing for a second amidst the parade and festival, taking a step back, and looking upon the crowd. Seeing that all of our hard work has an incredible impact on our community is delightful: we are creating spaces so that everyone in our community can be who they are, love who they love, and speak to their identity. It's all worth it because, after all, it's always someone's first Pride. So we need to be there for that new person joining the LGBTQ family during Pride.
What do you want to say to people ahead of the event, who are considering going and who maybe have never been to Pride before?
We know that for someone out there this will be their first Pride event and that makes us very happy that Boston Pride is able to provide a safe place for everyone to feel free to be their authentic self, to be who they are. So put on your rainbow and Pride gear, check out our Boston Pride Guide at bostonpride.org/guide for information about all our events and articles about topics relevant to our community, and jump in. Welcome to the Pride family!