Has the Delta Foundation, the non-profit group responsible for Pride, just alienated another group(s) of people or is it the same group(s) that they had already alienated? That seems to be the question at hand. Some will try and label the flack created by naming Iggy Azelea as this year’s headliner, as a small controversy, but if I heard it once today, I heard it a hundred times– This illustrates just how out of touch Delta Foundation is; that Delta is not representative of, nor an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and queer community of Pittsburgh.

I interviewed Joy KMT, one of the organizers of a protest which is slated to be across from the Pride in the Streets event. She describes this succinctly: inviting an artist who is so controversial to many within the LGBTQ community and especially persons of color is highly alienating. Alienating large parts of the rich tapestry of LGBTQ ought to be contrary to the very purpose for having Pride. Pride overall, and especially Pride in the Street needs to be a space where everyone feels welcomed.

It isn’t a new criticism for Delta– that persons of color are overlooked and/or ignored. But to some, this latest effort feels like a slap in the face. Does Delta deserve the criticism?

From the moment I heard about Iggy being the headliner, I thought it signaled the end of a LGBTQ-centered Pride event. It was (and is) my opinion , the choice was all about trying to get a large straight crowd. In some years, announcing the headliner on a very “straight” radio station seemed odd, but this announcement was perfect for their audience.

Delta prides itself (pun intended) on opening up to all of Pittsburgh, but at what cost? Who is getting left out by becoming more mainstream and normal.

Mixed with real objections and outrage, are some myths and misconceptions. Joy KMT told me that most of the Delta board is made of straight white persons. This isn’t true. I know all but three members of the board, and none of the persons I know are straight. But even as this comment is incorrect, it illustrates a very real problem for the Delta Foundation. They are perceived as being terribly out of touch with the community at large. Everyone should know the Delta board! The board ought to be representative of the whole of the community, rather than represent only a small element of the rainbow coalition.

I spent the afternoon, listening to Azalea’s music, wondering what was so offensive to so many in the community.To me, the language is vulgar and offensive. There is no way I’d go to anywhere I would have to listen to this. This is the first Pride, since Delta has been responsible, that the entertainer would be the reason I stay away, and in fact may protest against it. I’m as old as dirt, but I have never actually felt pushed away from the community at large. I’ve never felt left out. Until now. Many persons of color and many queer persons have felt left out all along.

Here’s the link to the protest event

Update: Wednesday 5/20/2015

Joy’s name was edited as per her request.



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