The thirty-fifth annual celebration of Capital Pride has taken over the national capital area. The local block party that started it all in 1975 has become one of the largest Pride festivals in the country, this year with more than 60 events running from June 3-13. The work of thousands of activists, allies, businesses and elected officials over the past 35 years has made this region one of the most friendly places in the country for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
While we celebrate the many victories of the LGBT community during Pride, we also know there is a long way to go before we gain full equality and civil rights. That is why we can say, after 35 years of Capital Pride, you ain’t seen nothing, yet.
We began planning last summer, not long after Pride 2009 ended, and we are excited to say that there is something for everyone during the 35th anniversary of Capital Pride. By the time that this issue of the Blade goes to print, we will have already celebrated more than 40 diverse events, including our 35th anniversary party at the Donovan House; our town hall, “Aging Proudly”; our Capital Pride Interfaith Service; concerts by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington; Pride in the Park; the Mr. and Miss Capital Pride competition; Leather Pride; Spy a Spouse; and more.
But thanks to the combined efforts of staff and volunteers under the guidance of the board of directors and in partnership with our many business sponsors and our incredible Community Partners, there’s still more to come.
This Thursday featured more than a dozen events. Friday features the Women’s Concert, as well as a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, and the official Capital Pride Shabbat. These are in addition to our award-winning Capital Pride Parade, the closing night party, ‘Homo Erectus: The Evolution of Pride’, and the Capital Pride Street Festival on the closing weekend of Pride.
An important part of celebrating our pride is to recognize the contributions of those who have worked to enrich and improve the lives of LGBT people in the region. Our Capital Pride Heroes and Capital Trans Pride Engendered Spirit Honorees play a big role in our Pride celebration, and we hope everyone gets a chance to thank them during the Capital Pride Parade or Capital Pride Street Festival. We will also remember and honor the contributions two people who helped shape Capital Pride into what it is today, the late Larry Stansbury and the late Bill Miles, who both served as board members and long-time volunteers of Capital Pride.
Working in partnership with our volunteers and business and community partners, we hope that everyone in the LGBT community and our allies can find something — or many things — to enjoy during the 35th anniversary celebration of Capital Pride. Whether this is your first Pride or you have attended Capital Pride for years, we hope you feel the 35th anniversary has been the best so far. But just wait, because you ain’t seen nothing, yet.
Bernie Delia is vice president of the Capital Pride Board of Directors, a founding member of the Capital Pride Alliance and former president of Dignity/Washington. He is a former appointee of the Clinton Administration at both the White House and the Justice Department and is currently a senior attorney with the federal government.