Boston LGBTQ+ community steps up to lead reimagined Pride Month celebrations
Boston is marking Pride Month for the first time since the organization Boston Pride disbanded last July amid calls for more inclusivity and representation. But members of the local LGBTQ+ community say Pride is stronger than ever in 2022.
Dozens of organizations are marking the month with their own events.
One event took place Saturday on Boston Common, where dozens of runners and walkers laced up their sneakers for the second-annual Road of Rainbows 5K, hosted by the Boston Theater Company.
It's billed as one of the first inclusive 5K races in Massachusetts, which means participants are not required to name their gender to sign up. The course was also Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, and winners were chosen based on their costume — not how fast they crossed the finish line.
"Pride is back," said Joey Frangieh, Boston Theater Company artistic director. "There are so many events happening and Pride is booming, and it's in the hands of so many amazing nonprofits."
Among the organizations tabling at the 5K was Trans Resistance MA. Supporting the race was a no-brainer, said KB Kinkel, the organization's communications coordinator.
"I am a trans and queer person who's an athlete," Kinkel said. "I love to see space being made for people to run in this beautiful, wonderful city and feel safe and free."
Even though there isn't a Boston Pride Parade or other official events, this year's Pride feels more authentic, Kinkel said, with many organizations planning and hosting a wide range of festivities.
That includes Trans Resistance MA, which is leading its own Pride march and festival on June 25, ending at Franklin Park. Kinkel said it will be a celebration that "centers the voices and skills of trans people."
"Especially Black and brown trans people," they said. "Those are voices and experiences that have been absent from Boston Pride for decades."
Pride in Boston is in a period of growth and re-evaluation, Kinkel added, calling it "a really good thing."
Morisa Reich and her 8-year-old daughter also attended Saturday's race. She said she's never participated in the Boston Pride Parade or official events, but said she treats every day like Pride.
For Reich, it's personal.
"My son is gay, my stepdaughter is a lesbian, my uncle is gay ... so I grew up in a community with a lot of people and lots of love, and I'm here to support everyone and to show my love," Reich said, adding she wants her daughter to know that her gay family members are not "different," no matter how others may see them.
Saturday's 5K was Caitlin Walsh's first registered road race. She said she's worked with Boston Pride in the past and sees a future for the organization and its work.
"I do envision the community event that's replacing whatever we need to replace to have less corporate sponsorships, less companies just hand-waving one day a year, saying, 'We affirm you,' and then turning a blind eye over all the numerous movements against us," Walsh said.