InterPride’s 30th Anniversary Annual General Meeting was held during the weekend of October 4 to 7, with delegates from more than 80 countries representing more than 200 Pride organizations, whose celebrations range from a modest half dozen people holding rainbow flags in a town square to marches hundreds of thousands strong, with millions attending one to two weeks’ worth of events. This year was one of the largest turnouts in some time and we all returned to the site of our beginning, convening in Boston with our hosts, Boston Pride.
From very modest beginnings 30 years ago, Pride organizers from around the country now gathered in Boston to put a movement together from very disparate parts. While Pride was a burgeoning movement, organizers felt that becoming more of a community with one another across state lines was important. Resources and experience could be shared and the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators was born. Any good movement ramps up its energy and soon Pride people from across the waters began to attend the annual meetings. “International” soon replaced “National” and then “InterPride” became the umbrella group name to be more fully representative of the whole.
This Annual General Meeting (AGM) saw some big events. World Pride was held in London this year and representatives gave a full report on the event. Our friends in Toronto will host the next event, sooner than we can imagine, in 2014. Toronto was in London for the London World Pride organizers to pass the banner and the title for their success in just a few short years. Madrid, Spain will be the site of World Pride in 2017, as decided at the 2012 AGM, so you can imagine how much effort, time and fund raising it takes to create and advertise events that draw LGBTI people and our allies from the four corners of the Earth.
The AGM in Boston also included a very special Duck Tour. If you are familiar with Boston, you know the World War II era amphibious vehicles that provided colorful tours of the sights of Boston, roaming the streets then taking to the water. It’s a very cool vertigo-moment, when your driver-brain says “oh, no, we’re going in,” even while your fun-brain is saying “bring it on!” What made this even more special was that this was an evening Duck Tour on the water, with the lights of Boston and Cambridge creating a canyon of light. Brilliant!
The gala dinner, where three of the surviving founders, Marcia Levine, Glenn McElhinney, and Sharon Tobin were honored, was held at the JFK Library and Museum on Saturday evening. Many pictures were taken and it was thrilling to be surrounded by the memorabilia of John F. Kennedy, one of the greatest Presidents the United States has had so far.
There were proclamations and welcoming messages from Thomas Mennino, the Mayor of Boston, as well as a visit in person from Governor Deval Patrick, who presided over Massachusetts’ adoption of Marriage Equality. Governor Patrick’s inspiring speech brought tears to the eyes of several of us, as he spoke of marching regularly, with his wife, with Boston Pride and how, when their daughter came out recently, she had their full support. Many of us recalled our own difficult journeys and were able to celebrate the change we’ve made in our communities. Young women and men now come into their own in a world that has more role models and, hopefully, a bit less judgment, due to efforts made around the world. If you ever doubt the impact you make by being fully yourself, know that your example provides strength to someone who could be halfway around the globe and looking to you for support.
Next year, InterPride’s AGM will be in Montreal, Canada. Make sure your passport is ready and get involved with your local Pride organizers. We make world change, together.
For more information, and to locate your local organizers, visit www.InterPride.org.