Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston Pride's 40th anniversary

"Decades after Boston's gay community first began to organize, memories remain sharp for those who lived the history. For the younger generation? Not so much. This year, marked by anniversaries, could change that."

Sam Allis reports:
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Boston Pride, the organization that presents the annual parade held in recognition of Boston’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities.

It’s also the 30th anniversary of the History Project, the definitive archival source documenting and preserving the city’s gay history.

The landscape has changed dramatically in the intervening years. Many in the younger generation do not face the same type of discrimination.

Moreover, some younger gays and lesbians don’t embrace the activist rigor of their elders, who fought hard for their rights. Which has some feeling conflicted.

“They aren’t weighed down by a lot of baggage,’’ says John Ward, 67, an early gay activist in Boston who says some young people may look like slackers to the LGBT veterans. “They seem like ingrates, but they’re just living their lives.’’

“It’s a double-edged sword,’’ says Keri Aulita, 37, spokeswoman for Boston Pride. “On one hand, you’re happy to see them leading happy lives. On the other, you wish they had a better sense of history.’’

The theme of this year’s Boston Pride festivities, June 4-13, aims to address that point. Called “Riots to Rights: Celebrating 40 Years of Progress,’’

Pride will honor the Stonewall Riots in New York in 1969 that began the modern gay rights movement and remember turning points in local history. READ MORE