June is not just any month to the LGBTQ community. It is our high holiday season. We honor the history and heroism of those who came before us, we recognize the current struggles that we are still facing, and we celebrate the beauty and fierceness of our diverse community. Being an activist, I love the politics. Being queer, I love the glitter and the boom-boom beat of the dance floats. And being bisexual, I don’t have to choose which one I like more. 😉
This year, Pride is particularly meaningful to me because I have the honor of being one of the pride marshals to ride at the head of Boston’s 45th Pride Parade. I was nominated for my work as president of the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) for ten years and the efforts I’ve put into raising awareness of bisexuality in both the LGBTQ and straight communities. I will be riding in a car alongside Woody Glenn, one of the co-founders of the BRC, so we are the bookends of the 30-year history of the organization.
This is historic as it will be the first time that out bisexual leaders have been elected as pride marshals in Boston. Within the bi community this is a huge occasion as it is very rare for bi people to be chosen to represent the LGBTQ community at this level. One recent example comes to mind from just last year when New York City’s Pride organizers very publicly patted themselves on the back for being so inclusive by having a gay, a lesbian, and a transgender marshal—somehow forgetting to include a bisexual marshal.
I feel honored to be representing the bisexual community as a Pride Marshal, and to be joining other bi activists from Pride history such as Brenda Howard (photo at left), who helped to organize the first commemorative march in New York. Often nicknamed “Mother of Pride,” Howard planned the Christopher Street Liberation Day March a month after the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969. On the one-year anniversary of Stonewall, Howard again helped organize a march that would be considered the first Pride march of its kind in 1970.
My personal pride is certainly partly due to my work in the bi community, but it is and always has been tied to feeling connected to the larger LGBTQ family as well. The work of SpeakOUT, for example, is enhanced by having individuals from various identities and intersections speak in the schools, colleges, religious classes, and corporate settings to tell the truths of their lives. We strive to have people from every letter in our community’s acronym to feel empowered to tell their stories and to help open minds and change attitudes in the spaces in which we speak.
On Pride Day in Boston, a few hundred thousand people will be out on the streets keeping this tradition of activism and celebration alive. As one of the oldest LGBTQ organizations in Boston, SpeakOUT will again be there to be a part of the festivities and to spread our mission of creating a world free of homo-bi-transphobia. Having been the Executive Director of SpeakOUT for a year now, I feel so lucky to be working with a team of such talented and committed volunteers. Stop by our booth and meet our team to find out more about what’s kept us going for 43 years and counting. We hope to see you there! Happy Pride!
Ellyn Ruthstrom, Executive Director