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Capital Pride organizers report increased attendance

Attendees undeterred by massacre in Orlando

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Orlando, gay news, Washington Blade

Capital Pride Festival attendees observe a moment of silence on Sunday. (Blade photo by Hugh Clarke)

Although the atmosphere at D.C.’s Capital Pride Festival on Sunday was subdued following the shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., earlier in the day that claimed the lives of 49 people, the overall attendance at the annual festival was greater than in past years, according to Capital Pride officials.

Despite hot and humid weather, the section of Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. between 3rd and 7th Street reserved for the festival was packed with people who circulated around the more than 200 booths set up by LGBT organizations and LGBT-friendly businesses and government agencies.

“Our attendance did not decline. If anything, it increased,” said Bernie Delia, Capital Pride’s president. “I believe that the tragedy in Orlando strengthened the resolve of the members of the LGBT community to come together to show support and unity in the face of unspeakable tragedy and horror,” he said.

“We have usually estimated the number to be about 250,000,” said Delia. “We likely went to 275,000 over the course of the nine hours we were there.”

As if the shooting by lone gunman Omar Mateen in Orlando were not enough, news media outlets on Sunday morning reported that police in Los Angeles arrested a man whose car was packed with firearms and a container of explosive chemicals and who said he planned to attend the L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood.

Authorities have since said the arrested man, 20-year-old James Wesley Howell, had no connection to the Orlando incident. But law enforcement officials say they have yet to determine what Howell planned to do with the weapons and the container of an explosive chemical found in his car.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Police Chief Cathy Lanier announced that the city had stepped up security at the D.C. festival and at local LGBT clubs as an extra precaution, even though no credible threat existed to indicate the festival or other LGBT venues were in danger.

“Today, as always, we will not be deterred by hate as we gather to celebrate love,” Bowser said on Sunday.

As the Capital Pride Festival’s main stage near the U.S. Capitol was opened for a full day of entertainment, Delia asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Orlando shooting incident.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington then sang the National Anthem and dedicated its performance of subsequent songs to the Orlando shooting victims.

Similar to past years, dozens of LGBT community groups and supportive businesses, large and small, marched or rode in floats in the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 11, and set up booths to promote their message or products at the festival on Sunday.

Participating in the parade this year were contingents from eight foreign embassies, including those from Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland.

Among the sports-related parade contingents was the Washington Capitals National Hockey League team led by their star goal tender Braden Holtby.

Gay Emmy Award-winning actor and comedian Leslie Jordan served as the parade’s grand marshal.

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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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