Pittsburgh City Paper recently published a story, by Rebecca Addison, titled, “Members of Pittsburgh LGBT community criticize EQT sponsorship of Pride Parade.” In it she details the issues some in the LGBTQ community have with the Delta Foundation, and highlights a counter march being organized in protest of the linkage of the (formerly called Pride March) EQT Equality March.

Some question why confront Delta and raise criticism directly before Pride month. The folks who feel this way believe that the LGBTQ Community needs to move into Pride unified and strong. But this mindset is counter to the very notion of Pride. Pride was begun as a resistance, and a questioning/confrontation of authority. Indeed, those who speak up now and against the Delta Foundation are acting very much within the tone and purpose that we celebrate by Pride.

Criticism of Delta and their handling of Pride is not new, and I like others have been very critical of the Delta Foundation. In my opinion, Delta’s goal is to put on a Pride that is best for the whole community… that is what they want to do. But their efforts fall short of that repeatedly because they seem oblivious to any criticism and refuse to change. Their notion of Pride is old fashioned, male dominated, and inconsistent with the changing face of Pittsburgh’s queer community.

From my perspective, the chief complaint this year surrounds the change in the name of the Pride March portion of the Pride festivities. Delta sold the naming rights, and so this year’s Pride March is now the EQT Equality March.

Now for many participants, the name of the march is irrelevant. The march is a way to demonstrate being out and proud, and they will participate because the event itself, has meaning for them. But in the bigger picture, this very notion of selling the naming rights to what ought to be owned by the whole community is illustrative of the issues with Delta. Delta owns Pittsburgh Pride. It has copyrighted the name, and aggressively worked to be the owners of all things Pride in Pittsburgh. Delta owns Pride, not the LGBTQ community, and many don’t like that. In my opinion, with good reason.

I think many who are critical of Delta would be accommodated, if Delta was a good steward surrounding Pride– if their efforts appeared to be sincere efforts to serve the entire LGBTQ community. But like with this specific issue-selling naming rights, Delta’s efforts are all driven by profit mongering, and not the community itself.

I believe the community wants two things:

  1. For an organization to take care of Pride such that it continues to be an event consistent with the meaning of Pride and the rebellion at Stonewall that Pride commemorates.
  2. That Pride is an event (or series of events) that is fully respectful, inclusive and welcoming to the whole of Pittsburgh’s LGBTQIA+ community.

That City Paper published the linked story suggests to me that the resistance to Delta will again this year, be publicized.

I do not stand with those who decry the polarization and criticism of Delta. Speaking out against authority that does not function for the whole of the community is exactly what should be happening during Pride as well as all year long.

More abut the counter march can be found on this Facebook page.

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