The group that produces the main Boston Pride festivities has officially shuttered amid allegations of structural racism and a lack of inclusion within the organization.
In a statement on July 9, the board of directors at Boston Pride announced their decision to disband the group a year after former employees and organizers ripped the organization for not publicly backing “Black Lives Matter” following the police murder of George Floyd. The closure of Boston Pride also comes as several LGBTQ organizations boycott the group for ongoing issues of diversity and inclusion — and according to the Boston Globe, the announcement came after Linda DeMarco said she would resign due to complaints that the organization left out trans people and people of color.
“It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride,” leaders said in a written statement. “We have heard the concerns of the QTBIPOC community and others. We care too much to stand in the way. Therefore, Boston Pride is dissolving. There will be no further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization.”
For years, members accused Boston Pride of not fostering a welcoming environment for people of color. In response, former employees of Boston Pride created the LGBTQ organization Pride For People to resist the alleged racist actions. The group also called for the board’s leadership to step down.
“In early June, the Boston Pride Board removed “#blacklivesmatter” and rewrote portions of a statement written by the communications team condemning unjust police violence against Black People, and posted it,” Pride For People said in a statement. “This ‘misstep’ was not an isolated incident of failing to adequately address racism, but part of a long history of poor relationships with Greater Boston’s communities of Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous, People of Color (QTBIPOC).”
To help meet the community’s demands after last year’s issues emerged, Boston Pride officials said they had hired a consulting firm focused on diversity and inclusion. The group also launched the “Transformation Advisory Committee,” an LGBTQ group focused on internal issues of racial injustice. However, despite these solutions, Boston Pride officials admitted “there is still work to be done.”
“We know many people care about Pride in Boston, and we encourage them to continue the work,” Boston Pride continued in a statement. “By making the decision to close down, we hope new leaders will emerge from the community to lead the Pride movement in Boston.”
The group added, “The current Pride Board no longer holds the trust of LGBTQ+ community that Boston Pride is supposed to serve, and Pride for the People has called for the current board of Boston Pride to step down.”
Boston was the site of a male-dominated Straight Pride Parade in 2019 featuring Trump flags and “Build the Wall” messages. The controversial former Breitbart journalist Milo Yiannopoulos served as grand marshal.
Pride organizers in Philadelphia are facing similar criticism. Last month, Philly Pride Presents (PPP) abruptly ended its organization and canceled its “Pride-lite” events in the fall for failing to prioritize the voices of LGBTQ individuals of color, reports the Philadelphia Gay News.
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