After more than a year of isolation, we are all more than ready to come out into the streets and be our fabulous selves. This time of seclusion and fear has been a true struggle for many in our community. But now that a majority of adults have been vaccinated and Covid infections are steadily declining, the State has established new guidelines for public spaces and gatherings, and they cannot come soon enough when it comes to Pride season. We are now at the eleventh hour of Pride, but have no fear: folks are working feverishly behind the scenes, like queer little elves, to create events that celebrate our LGBTQ+ community.
No one is surprised that the PrideFest of years past, that many know and love, is not happening again this year. There are several reasons for this, and many hope that our beloved Rhode Island Pride organization will rise again, overcoming some significant challenges to regain its place as a centerpiece to our community. For now, we must think differently, with the realization that the enormous blow-out party – a vital celebration of identity and life – that was the RI PrideFest may never return in the same way.
But that’s another story. Right now, let’s focus on what IS happening this year! Thankfully, a group of LGBTQ+ community leaders, along with the City of Providence, Options, and several businesses, have convened to give us ways to commemorate and celebrate during Rhode Island’s traditional Pride weekend, always the third Saturday in June. As for specifics about this and other events, check the Options Pride Month calendar for the latest information. New listings are being added nearly every day. What can you expect? Plans are underway for street fairs, a march, a film festival, block parties, drag queens and drag kings strutting on stages, and more. There will be opportunities for you to support and learn about the many queer service organizations around the state, including Newport Pride weekend. You can get a free Hep C/HIV test or a vaccination, view the AIDS Quilt display, and learn about organizations like PFLAG, YPI, and many more. And yes, there will be merriment, dancing, and laughter.
So keep your eye on Options’ calendar, and we’ll see you OUT in Providence!