June 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
LGBT Pride events are celebrations, and nothing less
Pride celebration, Capital Pride, gay news, Washington Blade

Capital Pride Festival (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

There is an axiom utilized by D.C. Capital Pride to encapsulate the spirit and value of the annual LGBT festivities held each June, this week for the 43rd time in the nation’s capital.

“Every Pride is someone’s first Pride.”

In cities and towns across America, in places both large and small, the early summer heralds local Pride events that enjoy either a long legacy or a short history. Perusing photos and reading reports of the parades, festivals, concerts, street fairs and other community events – either grand in scale or simply small in size – held in a constantly growing number of locales is both inspiring and instructive.

LGBT Pride events are celebrations, and nothing less.

These signature events are the community-building occasions common to the fabric of hometown LGBT life across the country. They provide opportunities for assembling together, coalescing as a group while expanding interactive connections, commemorating achievements and advocating additional advancements, welcoming new members and honoring those no longer present, and – above all else – having a good time.

These celebratory events wouldn’t be possible, or even come to exist, without the backing of businesses and corporate allies. Financial support from the business community is essential to these undertakings, and always has been. Everywhere.

In D.C., the local Pride celebration first began in 1975 – and was organized by a business owner.

That businessperson, now-retired Deacon Maccubbin, told the Washington Business Journal two years ago when honored as parade grand marshal alongside his husband Jim Bennett, that Capital Pride is “very, very large and very, very corporate … it’s done with very, very large donations, from very, very big businesses.”

“And that’s progress,” emphasized the founder of Pride events in D.C.

That progress has allowed Pride to become an iconic major annual city event attracting both supporters and dollars from substantial components of the business community. Continuation and growth rely on further enhancing that support, as producing Pride is now a seven-figure business itself.

The world has watched while both small businesses and large corporations have stood with the LGBT community in localized skirmishes and national battles alike. More often than not, it is corporate support turning the tide and winning political victories.

In contemporary gay culture, it is well established that corporate commerce now serves as the primary force in the advancement of LGBT equality nationwide. Business allies and the engagement of enterprise pioneer the path toward lesbian, gay, and transgender acceptance, civil protection and equal treatment.

Businesses have well earned their welcomed participation in LGBT events and the vast majority of the community embraces their support of Pride festivities.

There are multiple ironies in the complaint of the tiny contingent of self-avowed anti-capitalist “No Justice No Pride” naysayers who have this year whined about business involvement with Pride celebrations.

First, they don’t appear to know much about the history of Pride events in D.C., and even less about the financial requirements of staging these events.

Second, they prattle on about pipelines, prisons, and public policies that are not LGBT related, while refusing to accept the community’s divergent perspectives on non-LGBT issues.

Third, they fail to recognize that these corporate sponsors are the businesses forging fundamental change. A financial institution that has been a perennial Pride sponsor, and which these radicals seek to pillory and prohibit from participating, is a longstanding leader in adopting both LGBT-friendly workplace policies and marketplace practices beginning in 1987 and expanded in 2004. This record has earned the bank a perfect rating for LGBT corporate policy.

Even more oddly bizarre, this small group of objectors seems to think businesses hire out-of-work actors to populate parade contingents or staff festival booths – when it is employees, often part of large and robust workplace associations and industry networks, who do.

With any luck, the little band of pouty far-left protesters won’t prove how unpopular they are among the rank-and-file by blockading the Pride parade or disrupting the festival.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

  • Wow! I actually agree with Mark Lee on something. Well done!

    That’s why the best way to Celebrate Pride at local businesses is to tip generously for good service.

    Remember, tips are good karma. And karma never lies.

    And only the wait staff knows for sure. Happy Pride!

  • “they prattle on about pipelines, prisons, and public policies that are not LGBT related”
    We can say the same about far-right conservatives who use the moniker of being GLBT to identify themselves while supporting right-wing conservatives with a record or agenda of opposing our rights!!! Trump is a great example! Then they whine about not being one issue voters in a weak attempt to justify their shameful actions!!!

    I wouldn’t support a leftist candidate with an anti-GLBT record either, even if I like his/her ideas! But time and again we find that those that promote anti-GLBT politics identify as conservative and Republican!

  • “they prattle on about pipelines, prisons, and public policies that are not LGBT related”

    Yes they are, and they always have been. Only the most well-off and privileged among our communities have the luxury of pretending otherwise. If you had even a vestigial sense of shame it would be working overtime right now.

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