Last week, I posted that I had mixed feelings about the way the controversy over Iggy Azalea was prompting groups to pull out of the Pride March and PrideFest, and yesterday, I posted a letter by Billy Hillman, expressing his feelings about boycotting the Pride March. The question may remain: what should you do? Here are some of my thoughts.

As I wrote in my post “13 points to get the most from Pride,” Pride isn’t the organization. They are merely a vehicle making Pride events and activities available to you. What you do with these events and experiences… that’s what Pride is all about.

I don’t really agree with Billy Hileman about boycotting most Pittsburgh Pride events. I did fully support boycotting the Iggy Azalea concert, however since that has been cancelled, it is now a moot point. But the Pride March, and PrideFest are different. These are spaces where everyone gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer, cis, white, black, brown, and every other way you can identify belong. In fact boycotting these events has a reverse effect in my opinion. Our presence there is what helps spur change and progress. We need to occupy these events and claim these spaces as fully inclusive.

There are two base conflicting agendas that have been playing out behind the scenes over the past few weeks. One has been all about the creation of fully inclusive Pride events (Roots Pride Pittsburgh grew from this idea), and the other has been about bringing down the Delta Foundation and taking control of Pride away from them. These are two very distinct and separate agendas. I’m not really supportive of the latter, regardless of how many problems we can identify with the Delta Foundation. Doing Pride is a significant amount of work, and I’d personally rather see efforts to transform Delta to fix issues instead of trying to get them out of the picture.

PrideFest and the PrideMarch are two events where you you prompt change by being present and a part of them, so I encourage everyone to be there and occupy those events. I also encourage you to participate in the Roots Pride Pittsburgh events, such as the town hall meeting and the intergenerational balloon battle. And, I encourage you to support other events like the Dyke and Trans March, and Black Pride. All of these are opportunities to build new awarenesses and develop new relationships.

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