According to InterPride.org, Pride could be defined as: the quality of being proud. I.1. A high or overwhelming opinion of one’s own qualities, attainments, or estate. 2. The exhibition of this quality in one’s attitude, bearing, conduct, etc. 3. A consciousness of what is befitting or due to oneself or one’s position 4. A feeling of elation or high satisfaction derived from some action or possession. II.1. Magnificence, splendor; pomp, display. +6. Sexual desire, heat’. (1604).
InterPride is a not-for-profit organization (incorporated in the USA) whose membership consists of organizations in cities, towns and countries all over the globe that produce community-based Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride events. InterPride’s main goals are to:
- promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride around the world
- increase networking and communication among Pride groups
- encourage diverse communities to hold Pride Events
- act as a source of information and education
InterPride’s history goes back to 1981, when a few lesbian and gay pride organizers in the United States met during a leadership conference, and realized that they could solve some of the difficult problems faced by their individual organizations by working together. A year later, the informal working relationship was formalized, and the National Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators was founded.
By 1987, the organization had become international with the inclusion of representatives from Canadian pride groups and underwent a name change, becoming the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Pride Coordinators, or IAL/GPC. In 1992, European and Mexican organizations participated, and IAL/GPC had become multi-continental. International participation grew significantly during the annual conference held in New York City in 1997, where attendees included representatives from Africa, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and six European countries. By 1999, as the organization’s membership became more international, the organization underwent another name change, becoming InterPride – a name that is readily translated into any language.
Today, InterPride has over 120 member organizations, representing 24 countries from 6 continents, but its goals remain those defined above. InterPride accomplishes these goals through four main tools.
As part of its mandate, InterPride holds an annual conference of Pride coordinators/organizers to review the state of Pride throughout the world, to select the International GLBT Pride Theme, and to share information and resources concerning operations and the logistics for the planning and production of their Pride events in their home town, city, state or country. Workshops range from the mundane (how to get permits; how to build a Rainbow Balloon Arch) to the esoteric (how to do organizational strategic planning; how to retain volunteers). The 2003 Conference was held in Montreal, Canada, from October 2nd to the 5th.
AlterHeros had the opportunity to take part in the 2003 InterPride Conference as the organization presented a workshop titled: GLBTQ Youth Involvement A Perspective from AlterHeros, a Montreal Youth Organization. The aim of the workshop was to inform participants and delegates of the importance of including youth focussed events as part of Pride festivities. The reality is that many of the events, which are included as part of Pride festivities around the world, are primarily adult-focussed events where people celebrate their sexuality and are proud to be who they are, which is not the reality for many Queer youth who are often still in the process of defining themselves, their sexual orientation, and gender identity. The AlterHeros facilitators highlighted the needs of Queer youth and Youth Groups with respect to Pride festivities, the importance of making Pride events accessible to all age groups by providing more youth friendly or age appropriate events (especially for underage youth that can’t drink alcohol), as well as suggesting how Pride organizers could work more closely with local youth groups and/or associations to create safe-spaces and Pride activities that appeal to youth (both Queer and non-Queer). To read and/or download the presentation, click here.
The story of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride events is a story of growth. The first Pride events were held in a handful of American cities to commemorate the rebellion of a small number of gay men and lesbians against police raids and brutality in New York City. These events attracted only a few thousand people in total. Thirty-two years later, InterPride members alone organized events around the world that drew a combined attendance of between 15 and 20 million. These activities ranged from the mega-events in places like Sao Paolo, New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Vienna, to picnics or rallies attracting a few hundred people in Hampton Roads (Virginia), Harare (Zimbabwe), and Curitiba (Brazil). No matter what size an individual event is, however, together they represent the strength and commitment of people around the world who are determined to achieve, maintain, and expand the rights of GLBT people to be who they truly are. And no matter where they are, InterPride will be there to offer help.
For more information:
- Articles dealing with Pride, the Rainbow Flag, and the history of the Gay Movement, click here
- InterPride official web site: www.InterPride.org
- To read/download the workshop: GLBTQ Youth Involvement A Perspective from AlterHeros, a Montreal Youth Organization.
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