RI Pridefest & Parade – RI PrideFest: IndiVISIBLE will be held on June 20, 2015, from noon to 8pm, on the South Water Street Greenway, in Providence. Presented by Dark Lady & Alley Cat, PrideFest features a Kids’ Zone, Youth Center, over 100 vendors, the Beer/Wine & Spirits Garden, and performances by American Idol’s Crystal Bowersox, Pearl & the Beard, Shannel from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Mimi Gonzalez, Sir Ari Gold, Pamela Means, Derek Capobianco, Heather Rose in Clover, Shryne, and so much more! And it’s all free to the public!
- Creating opportunities for integrating and promoting visibility for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
- Promoting equal rights and diversity through public education and the arts.
- Providing safe opportunities and venues for people to come out and express and celebrate their sexual identities and genders.
Pride RI 2015
The Illuminated Night Parade kicks off at 8:45pm, and winds through the streets of downtown Providence.
RI PrideFest attracts 30,000 festival-goers.
For generations sexual minorities have been feared, ridiculed, discriminated against, and ostracized because of misinformation and misunderstanding. In 1976, lesbian and gay Rhode Islanders began to organize our first ever pride march, believing it is essential that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people have avenues to educate the larger community, as well as opportunities to come together and openly celebrate who they are. State and City leaders attempted to block the parade, but those early organizers pursued litigation which eventually led to a court ruling allowing this “pride” event to take place. About 75 individuals marched through downtown Providence to celebrate their diversity, and to highlight the contributions they had made to the wider community. Thus was born the group that would become Rhode Island Pride. In four decades, participants have grown annually from just under 100 in 1976 to over 30,000 at RI PrideFest today.
In the 1970s and 80s, gay men and lesbians across the nation were engaging in a variety of grass roots actions that we now identify as the “gay liberation movement.” Through the production of seminars, rallies, performances, theme events, art, literary programs and projects, as well as televised political issues, individuals have been able to learn about the oppression, concerns and contributions of LGBTQ people. Here in RI, early gay pride celebrations were the first steps that eventually led to civil rights protections being extended to gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals in 1995, and to transgender individuals in 2001. Rhode Islanders have been able to legally marry in their home state since 2013. In keeping with this tradition, RI Pride continues to reach out to an increasingly diverse and growing population, hoping to make it easier for all gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people to be themselves.
RI Pride is one of the most active and visible LGBTQ organizations in the New England region. We provide year-round programming, and share our office space with the upcoming RI LGBTQ Community Center, and Options Magazine as we work together to establish a space that will welcome all through its doors. RI Pride provides resources and referrals to callers, and space for open house gatherings, community meetings, and celebrations. We produce the annual Pride Fest and New England’s only Nighttime Pride Parade which draws over 30,000 — LGBTQ and heterosexual individuals of all race, ethnicity, and age — to celebrate their individuality, and their culture. The PrideFest Kid’s Zone includes an educational and interactive recreational area where LGBTQ parents engage in family-oriented activities with their children. RI PrideFest attracts attendees from all over the world, especially Canada, New York, Boston, and Washington D.C. Annual events like The Goddess Show: A Celebration of Women in the Arts, The Triple Crown Pageant, Rhode Island Pride Honors, Gallery Q, and our Pride Prom are examples of our vital efforts to provide safe opportunities and venues for the LGBTQ community to come together, be visible, and express themselves.
PROGRAMS AND EVENTS
RI Pride is proud to have an event or function every month throughout the year. These programs and projects help LGBTQ individuals develop self-pride and self-esteem. In addition to the annual RI PrideFest and Illuminated Night Parade, RI Pride has produced or sponsored the following programs or services:
- The Goddess Show: A Celebration of Women in the Arts featuring local performers.
- Gallery Q – An LGBTQ themed pop-up art gallery.
- Countdown to Pride – A statewide outreach and information program.
- RI Pride Honors – An awards event in tribute of outstanding members of Rhode Island’s LGBTQ community.
- Triple Crown Pageant – Competition for the titles of Ms. Lesbian, Mr. Gay, and Miss Gay RI.
- Triple Crown Fundraisers – “Crowned ones” act as liaisons to organizations outside of the LGBTQ community to lend support and foster connections.
- Rainbow Flag Raising – A festive, public kick-off event at Providence City Hall in June.
- Business After Hours – Professional networking hosted by RI Pride at both LGBTQ, and non-LGBTQ businesses.
- International Gay and Lesbian Entertainment and Business Expo in New York City – Promoting Pride events and Rhode Island in general.
- InterPride – Participation in a conference for delegates from Pride organizations around the world to meet for networking, education and information exchange.
- Northeast Regional Pride Conference – participation in an annual conference of pride organizers in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states where RI Pride members present workshops. RI Pride has hosted the conference in the past.
- PrideTV – An innovative tool created for YouTube to reach a wide audience with news and information about the RI Pride Community
- RI PrideFest Video Retrospective – Annual video production that captures the spirit of the annual Pride celebrations.
- Presentations to community organizations and businesses about LGBTQ issues to address homophobia and prejudice.
- PrideFlicks and the LGBTQ Film Festival – LGBTQ-themed movie events.
- Community workshop focused on coming out, identity and self-affirmation.
- Support and organizational development assistance to smaller LGBTQ organizations to enhance programming to their target audience.
These events and programs also reach thousands of non-LGBTQ individuals, helping them to gain a better understanding of the LGBTQ community. RI Pride hopes that with better knowledge and awareness by non-LGBT people, prejudice, discrimination, and acts of violence will be relegated to history.
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