Boston Pride, the decades-old LGBTQ+ group that organizes the city's Pride Parade, will disband.
The nonprofit's Board of Directors announced the decision in a statement posted online Friday afternoon.
"Over the past year, we have invested time and energy to address the concerns of the community," Boston Pride's board of directors wrote in a statement on the website. "It is clear to us that our community needs and wants change without the involvement of Boston Pride."
The announcement comes after years of growing tension with other Boston-based LGBTQ+ community leaders and organizations. In 2015, Black Lives Matter protestors interrupted the Boston Pride parade to demand more inclusivity and representation in the Pride organization. And last year, 80% of Boston Pride's volunteer workforce resigned after a statement put out by Boston Pride's board received backlash. The board came under fire for removing key parts of the statement, which was originally written by the volunteer workforce. Former volunteers alleged that the board removed "Black Lives Matter," without consent from its Black Pride committee members. Workers also cited allegations of racism and transphobia as reasons they resigned.
Former Boston Pride volunteers went on to form their own organizations, including Pride 4 The People (formerly Boston Pride 4 The People) and Boston Black Pride. In August 2020, Boston Pride sent letters to organizers of Pride 4 The People and Boston Black Pride, asking that they stop using "Boston Pride" in their names.
In Dec. 2020, Pride 4 The People, Trans Resistance, Boston Black Pride and other LGBTQ+ organizations called for a boycott of Boston Pride and the Boston Pride Parade until community demands were met. One of those demands was the resignation of the current Boston Pride board and the elimination of bylaws that former volunteers said gave the board unfair and undemocratic control of the organization. To date, 26 LGBTQ+ organizations have joined the boycott.
In response, Boston Pride's board released a statement reiterating the organization's dedication to hearing community leaders and to transforming its internal structure. While the board did not resign, it hired diversity consulting firm Dorrington & Saunders and created a transformation advisory committee to assist with changes to the organization.
This June, Linda DeMarco announced her plans to resign from her position as the board president of Boston Pride by the end of the summer. In an interview with The Boston Globe, DeMarco stated that her resignation was "a little accelerated now because I think the boycott is really hurting the community." The second Trans Resistance March and Vigil, organized by groups boycotting Boston Pride, happened the same week.
In announcing its dissolution, Boston Pride's board revealed that there will be no "further events or programming planned, and the board is taking steps to close down the organization."
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the planned events for Boston Pride's 50th anniversary celebration. The event did not include a parade. We regret the error.