2022 Pride Month festivities in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania combine celebration and activism

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — City Hall’s north apron was packed with people on Friday afternoon, many of whom wore rainbow clothing and accessories that showed their support for the LGBTQ+ community. But the biggest prop was the large rainbow pride flag that was hoisted in front of City Hall.

The celebration marks the start of Pride Month. This year’s festivities come as Philadelphia celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first Pride events.

“Our fight continues, generation after generation,” said Erik Larson, deputy director of the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs.

The city’s Office of LGBT Affairs and the support and resources available in the city fall far short of the availability of programs in the suburbs.

“Here in the counties, we face systemic issues and a lack of resources that I don’t know a lot of people realize,” said Kyle McIntyre, vice president and co-founder of the nonprofit. social justice nonprofit Understand, Devotion, Take Action and Justice (UDTJ) in Upper Darby.

The UDTJ organization was formed during the period of civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd. The mission of the organization is to fight for justice for all. Part of integrating this mission is valuing alliance and intersectionality.

“For a long time we tried to fight our own fights. We tried to fight our own fights. And the reality is my neighbor’s fights are my fights,” McIntryre said.

The Philadelphia Pride flag-raising event also focused on representing all voices of the LGBTQ+ community.

“I am a queer, trans, and Indigenous immigrant living in Philadelphia,” one person who identified themselves as Sofia said while addressing the crowd.

“The most marginalized of all groups, including the LGBTQ community, tend to be people of color in this group,” said Shanay Rowe, assistant director of Philadelphia Family Pride.

The event also included representation from members of the LGBTQ+ community with disabilities.

“(We want) to work towards transforming a society that quickly forgets those who are most marginalized,” said Vicki Landers, executive director of Disability Pride PA.

The pride also comes at a time when activists say trans rights are under attack.

“Bills across the country and here in Pennsylvania are being introduced and enacted into laws that discriminate against our trans youth,” Larson said.

This gives organizations like the UDTJ a new focus and new opportunities, such as organizing the second march and the annual Upper Darby Pride Festival.

The festival will take place on Saturday, June 11 at Upper Darby High School from 1 to 5 p.m. Prior to the festival, there will be a march departing from Beverly Hills Middle School at noon. Attendees are encouraged to bring signs representing the LGBTQ+ community and issues. The festival is open to the public and will include educational sessions, entertainment and over 100 vendors.

The Philadelphia Pride March and Festival will take place on Sunday, June 3. The march will take place at 11 a.m. at the north end of the Independence Mall, across from the Constitution Center. The festival will begin at noon in the Gayborhood immediately following the march.

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