April 22, 2010 | by David J. Hoffman
Pride for teens and tweens

As many as 750 people are expected to join the 14th annual Youth Pride Day on Saturday at Washington’s P Street Beach, according to Gay Pride Alliance Vice President Roscoe Boyd.

“GPA is the non-profit organization sponsoring the event and is designed to serve the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and ally youth empowerment,” Boyd told DC Agenda. “Our goal is simply to encourage positive self-development and expression, as well as leadership, for youth aged 12 to 18 and to celebrate the dignity and courage of all young people.”

Youth Pride Day, which features musical performances and other entertainment, begins at noon and lasts until 5 p.m. along the area at 23rd and P streets, N.W.

Boyd said his organization focuses on turning out the community to support the “tweens and teens” who are often not yet out to their own parents or closest friends. He noted that this work is especially important as the youth struggle to come to terms with their sexual orientation — all while their hormones are in flux and they face new challenges at school.

“No wonder Youth Pride is so urgently needed,” he said. “So we’re committed to creating safe spaces for these young people of diverse ethnic and social and economic backgrounds, so they can come together safely. And this is hard, because there’s not enough safe spaces for LGBTQQ youth almost anywhere.”

Boyd said the Youth Pride Day lineup includes speakers as well as musicians, comedians and other entertainers, plus numerous vendors and booths from organizations such as the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League distributing information during the event. Other organizations sponsoring the event include the Human Rights Campaign and D.C. Black Pride.

Boyd, who also is managing director of the Dance Institute of Washington, a dance education organization based in Columbia Heights, moved to D.C. last spring from New York City, where he was deputy director for a community-based college prep program in Brooklyn.

A native of Detroit, Boyd holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Morehouse College in Atlanta and a master’s in teaching from Fordham University.

Boyd said that following Saturday’s outdoor events for Youth Pride Day, young people are invited to the Infatuation dance at the Fly Lounge, a dance club styled to appear like the inside of an airplane. Fly Lounge is located south of Dupont Circle at 1802 Jefferson Place, N.W. The dance, which begins at 5 p.m., goes until 9:30 p.m.

For more general information about Youth Pride Day, visit youthpridedc.org.

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