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Gay groups ‘not excluded’ from D.C. parade

Organizers unaware of LGBT Irish group expressing interest in taking part

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Patricia Hawkins, Pat Hawkins, D.C. Center, St. Patrick's Day, gay news, Washington Blade
Patricia Hawkins, Pat Hawkins, D.C. Center, St. Patrick's Day Parade, gay news, Washington Blade

Patricia Hawkins, who serves on the board of the D.C. Center, said the group plans to march in D.C.’s St. Patrick’s Day parade next year. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Unlike their counterparts in New York City and Boston, no LGBT Irish organization or any other LGBT group has applied to become a contingent in D.C.’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, even though the parade has no policy that would exclude an LGBT contingent.

“We are a non-profit,” said Colleen Cohan, vice chair of the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee of Washington, D.C. “So we don’t exclude any group that wants to participate in the parade.”

Cohan said the D.C. committee does have a policy banning “political campaigning” or commercial advertising by members of parade contingents. But she said contingent participants are free to carry signs or a banner displaying the name of their organization.

The mayors of New York City and Boston chose not to march in St. Patrick’s Day parades in their cities this year as a show of solidarity with the LGBT community because parade organizers ban participation of contingents that self-identify as LGBT.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast Monday morning at the Gracie Mansion mayoral residence but boycotted the parade in Manhattan later in the day.

“I simply disagree with the organizers of the parade in their exclusion of some individuals in this city,” CNN quoted him as saying at a news conference.

De Blasio marched in a separate St. Patrick’s Parade over the weekend in the Borough of Queens, which allows out gay contingents.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh decided early Sunday, March 16, not to march in the South Boston St. Patrick’s Parade shortly before the parade was scheduled to start that same day, saying, “I have to do my best to ensure that all Bostonians are free to participate fully in the civic life of our city,” according to CNN.

Cohan said she was informed by one of her colleagues on the D.C. St. Patrick’s Parade Committee that an LGBT group contacted the committee about participating in the parade last year but never followed up.

“I believe it was last year that we received an inquiry from an LGBT group,” she said. “And we directed them to apply online, to submit the application online. But we never received an application and that was the last we ever heard from them.”

She said she doesn’t know the name of the LGBT group that contacted the committee.

Lesbian activist Patricia Hawkins, who serves on the board of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, said it may have been the center’s executive director David Mariner that made the inquiry to the parade committee.

According to Hawkins, Mariner indicated the center’s staff and volunteers may not have had the time to organize an LGBT parade contingent for this year’s parade. In an email, Mariner told the Blade a D.C. Center spokesperson would provide a comment on the matter shortly.

“We definitely plan to do this next year,” she said. “I have been at the parade almost every year here in D.C. and sometimes in New York,” said Hawkins, noting that she’s half Irish.

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Delaware

Delmarva Pride to feature drag, dancing, and more this weekend

Easton and Cambridge to host events

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A scene from Delmarva Pride. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The Delmarva Peninsula will hold its annual Pride celebration this weekend, including drag shows, a festival, and much more. 

The Delmarva Pride Center will put on the annual Pride celebration starting on Friday, June 14, and it will go until Sunday to celebrate queer love and acceptance in Delmarva.  

The weekend kicks off on Friday with a free legal clinic in partnership with FreeState Justice at the Academy Art Museum, 106 South St., Easton, Md. Free legal services including name and gender marker changes, criminal record expungements, and peace and protection orders are just some of the services being offered. For more information visit freestate-justice.org.

Then on Friday night, the third annual Pride Drag Show will be at the Avalon Theatre, 40 E Dover St., in Easton. Bring your cash as four drag queens and host Miranda Bryant put on the fundraising show, where 100% of ticket sales go to the Delmarva Pride Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and performance begins at 7 p.m. For tickets visit avalonfoundation.org.

On Saturday there will be the Pride festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at  S. Harrison and E. Dover Street, in Easton. This free community festival will include vendors, live performances, and more. 

Saturday night the party gets going as Delmarva Pride will host its 2024 Pride Dance. There will be a DJ and drinks available for purchase. This event is for 18 and up and will include a cash bar for anyone 21 and up. No tickets are required. 

To round out your Pride weekend, on Sunday the Delmarva Pride Brunch will be held at ArtBar 2.0, 420b Race St. in Cambridge, Md. Tickets include food, access to the mimosa bar, and a drag performance. Tickets are available here

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Baltimore

People of Pride: Five Marylanders making a difference in the LGBTQ+ community

Baltimore Pride is this weekend

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Jabari Lyles poses for a portrait in East Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Jessica Gallagher/The Baltimore Banner)

By JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | One hosts movie nights, karaoke and other events that provide a safe space for LGBTQ people. Another has become a sounding board for customers at his gay bar dealing with pressures of the outside world. And a third beats the pavement to promote political awareness about LGBTQ issues.

These are just some of the things five Baltimoreans the Baltimore Banner is profiling in honor of Baltimore Pride Month are doing in the fight for visibility, support and acceptance of their peers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Delaware

Delaware’s Sussex Pride launches free statewide HIV, STI testing

Special program honors National HIV Testing Day on June 27

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Each year on June 27, people across the United States are encouraged to get tested for HIV. This year for Delawareans, it’s easier than ever.

Sussex Pride has partnered with STDCheck to offer free HIV and syphilis testing everywhere in Delaware. There are more than 20 locations across the state, making it simple to find a testing center.  

David Mariner, executive director of Sussex Pride, told the Blade, “We are thrilled with this new partnership with STDcheck. The ultimate goal is to empower individuals with knowledge about their HIV status, provide necessary support, and facilitate early intervention to improve health outcomes in our state.”

Finding a testing center, getting tested, and getting results is simple. Start by finding a lab near you using this link (https://www.stdcheck.com/std-test-center.php). Then call STDcheck at 800-456-2323 and request a free Sussex Pride HIV and/or syphilis test. Make sure to mention Sussex Pride in the call to get the test for free. Then schedule a time and get tested. 

“If you are HIV positive, the sooner you know, the better,” Mariner added. “Early and sustained treatment can help you live a long and healthy life. It can also help protect others.”

This special program is in honor of National HIV Testing Day, created in 1995 to highlight the lifesaving impact of HIV testing. HIV has historically had a disproportionate effect on the LGBTQ community. According to the CDC, 70% of all new cases of HIV in 2021 were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

The CDC’s theme for this year’s HIV testing day is “Level up your self-love: check your status.” The theme emphasizes, “valuing yourself, showing yourself compassion and respect, and honoring your health needs with self-love,” and the best way to do that is to test.

For more information on Sussex Pride’s testing program visit sussexpride.org/posts/testing/ and for more information on HIV visit CDC.gov/hiv.

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