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PRIDE Weekend in New Haven

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(Photo by New Haven PRIDE)

(Photo by New Haven PRIDE)

(Photo by New Haven PRIDE)

Karina Krul

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Last Weekend, September 16-18, was PRIDE Weekend, hosted by Pride New Haven. The first pride event, just of a short rally on the New Haven Green, was in 1998 and continues to brighten New Haven annually in celebration.

“New Haven is an incredibly diverse community, and has historically been an important place for LGBT individuals,” says Joshua O’Connell, former co-president of the New Haven Pride Center and current committee chair of Pride New Haven. “When the committee decided to bring a pride event to New Haven in 1998, the goal was to celebrate the diversity of the state and of New Haven, a goal we maintain.”

After a two year hiatus where no pride events took place, Pride New Haven, with the help of Gotham Citi Café, came back strong in 2014 with the revival of this historic event. Now the event has become a multi-day experience that focuses on including anyone who wants to be part of it.

“The goal of the weekend is to bring the community together. As we’ve seen, we’ve made great progress, but there’s still a lot of work to be done, as we’ve seen from some of the state-level bills passed this year, as well as tragedies like the Orlando shootings,” says O’Connell. He continues saying, “We’re stronger together, we can support each other and fight for what’s right, but we can also come together and celebrate both our connectedness as a community and our individual-ness within that community!”

(Photo by New Haven PRIDE)

(Photo by New Haven PRIDE)

The weekend kicked-off on Friday evening with a Reception at City Hall with Mayor Toni Harp, an event that was created with the relaunch of Pride New Haven in 2014. There were many performances, the main one being the staging of a Wizard of Oz scene by a drag performer.

Following the performances speakers join the stage, the most notable one being Mayor Harp. After the reception there was a march to the New Haven Pride Center where the main event of the night was the Talent Show and Karaoke from 7-10pm.

Saturday is the signature event of the weekend, bringing a community-wide Block Party to the streets of New Haven. Located at the corner of Orange and Center Street, this is a tradition with historic ties all the way back to the first pride event in 1998. Private vendors and nonprofits line the streets as drag performers and bands like Mission Zero and Glamour Assassins take the stage to entertain the crowd.

“There are also speakers like Mr. CT Leather, poets, and other musicians to create a diverse and fun experience for the community,” says O’Connell.

The newest addition to the weekend took place Sunday morning. The Queer History Walk, debuted about a year ago, is a guided walking tour of historic LGBTQ sites in downtown New Haven.

“LGBT history in New Haven goes back centuries!” says O’Connell.

The weekend ended with ‘It’s a Wrap Tea Dance’, which was open to the whole community, with plenty of food, drinks, and entertainment to end the successful weekend.

The weekend was overly successful, drawing a large crowd and uniting the community. It was an especially important weekend for those in the LGBT community as they came together for strength and remembrance of the events that have led to now.

O’Connell explains, “The LGBT community is a strong, united community. Pride reminds us of our history, where we’ve come from, and serves to help bring us together for the future.”

Pride New Haven and Gotham Citi Café have worked together to put on a very successful weekend.

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PRIDE Weekend in New Haven