Pittsburgh Pride Celebrates Diversity and Authenticity
May 31, 2018 08:21PM
By Jennifer Monahan
Pittsburgh Pride, the area’s largest community celebration of diversity specifically for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, kicks off Friday, June 1, and continues through Sunday, June 10. The festival culminates with PrideFest over the weekend of June 9 and 10, on Liberty Avenue between Sixth and Tenth Streets in downtown Pittsburgh.
Christine Bryan of the Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh is in her eighth year overseeing marketing and development for Pittsburgh Pride. She said that this year’s celebration—themed “This is Me”—is notable because it represents the diversity of the LGBTQ community. The theme is a reference to a song from the recent hit movie The Greatest Showman; Bryan said the song speaks about being brave enough to be authentic and celebrating differences.
Bryan explained that a decade ago, it was a challenge to get corporate partners involved in Pittsburgh Pride. In recent years, she has observed a marked shift in attitudes. “Employers want to support the LGBT community, their allies and their own LGBT employees,” Bryan said. A few years ago, employees from the Walmart Supercenter in Tarentum led an initiative to support one of their own by walking in the equality march. Support has grown so much that last year, 450 local Walmart employees in Pride T-shirts followed by a huge Walmart truck festooned with rainbow-colored ribbons made their way down the parade route.
“People are starting to realize that a diverse work force is better for employers and for employees,” Bryan explained. “Corporate support of diversity makes Pittsburgh better for everyone, and that’s what Pittsburgh Pride is all about.”
Bryan is also excited about Pride Rocks PGH, a new multi-day concert event. Troye Sivan and pop star Kim Petras will perform on June 8. Sivan is a young, up-and-coming singer, songwriter and actor from Australia who has garnered significant attention from young adult hipster audiences. Kim Petras, a German transgender pop singer/songwriter, has topped international Spotify charts and is gaining popularity in the U.S. Bryan expects to have another big name for the headline performance on June 9; details are available via the Pittsburgh Pride website.
Bryan said Pittsburgh Pride is an important event because while the cultural climate for the LGBTQ community has improved since the first gay pride marches around the U.S. in 1970, discrimination and homophobia still exist in too many places. Bryan explained that in Pennsylvania outside of Allegheny County, people can still be fired or lose their housing because of their sexual orientation since there is no statewide, antidiscrimination ordinance that protects sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.
“Ultimately, Pittsburgh Pride is about creating community and making change happen,” Bryan explained, “so that people will be treated equally regardless of who they love.”
Bryan encourages everyone to attend Pittsburgh Pride, emphasizing that all are welcome—whether they are part of the LGBTQ community, allies, friends or just interested members of the broader community. “It’s an amazing event because everyone is really happy—it’s a huge celebration,” Bryan said.
This year’s Pride festivities will feature a variety of fun events. Highlights include:
• Pride Rocks PGH, a nightly live music concert scheduled for June 8 and 9. Tickets are available via the www.PittsburghPride.org website.
• Pittsburgh PrideFest, a free, family-friendly celebration featuring food booths, a wellness village, the 84 Lumber “tiny house,” inflatables, a children’s activity area, a PRIDE radio dance party area and ongoing entertainment across three stages. The all-day festival runs June 9 and 10.
• EQT Equality March, a march starting on the Boulevard of the Allies and wrapping up at PrideFest on Liberty Avenue. Bryan calls it “Pittsburgh’s most colorful parade” and highlighted a number of corporate executives who will show their support by walking in the parade, including Pittsburgh Penguins COO Travis Williams, Pittsburgh Pirates CEO & President Frank Coonley, EQT Foundation President Charlene Petrelli, UPMC Chief Financial Officer Rob DiMichiei and CCAC President Dr. Quintin Bullock. The march begins at 12:30 p.m. on June 10 and will include floats and various marching contingents.
For details and more information about Pittsburgh Pride, check out www.pittsburghpride.org.