Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Black Gay Pride Events Growing In Popularity

"From a single event in Washington in 1990, black gay pride has grown to 35 gatherings nationwide that are expected to draw 300,000 people April through October."

Leslie Fulbright reports:
Inclusion and acceptance are at the heart of the gay pride movement and of pride events held across the country each June, but gay African Americans are increasingly organizing their own events to boost their sense of identity.

"The majority of people who go to black pride do not live in the gay ghettos, on Castro Street or in Chelsea," said Earl Fowlkes, president of the International Federation of Black Prides, a coalition created in 1999. "Black folks don't have the institution that develops in gay neighborhoods, and they don't feel that safe space. Our events create a space where no one is going to call them names -- or question their blackness."

Organizers and participants say that what initially grew out of a sense of alienation at largely white events morphed into a chance to unite with other African Americans, talk about issues and feel accepted.

The largest events are held in Washington, Los Angeles and Atlanta, but smaller offshoots provide an important sense of identity because they are held in black communities, organizers say.

Though coordinators of the larger pride events support the black pride events, organizers said the big celebrations nationwide are still organized primarily by white gay people. READ MORE