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SpeakOUT’s Statement on Boston Pride

SpeakOUT Boston wishes a Happy Pride Month to the entire LGBTQIA+ community. We know it has been a very difficult year (and more) for our community and, in many ways, even more so for people of color and trans people within the community.

As an organization dedicated to “…ending homo/bi/transphobia and other forms of prejudice,” SpeakOUT Boston is in solidarity this year with other organizations boycotting official Boston Pride events. More importantly, and in the spirit of being actively anti-racist, especially regarding systems and structures, we join the calls for Boston Pride to commit to much greater diversity, equity, and accountability within their board and operations.

While we are thankful for the work done on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community by Boston Pride in the past, we recognize and affirm that the time has come for meaningful change. Black Lives Matter. Black Trans Lives Matter. And an LGBTQIA+ organization committed to true social and legal equity for all of its members should be able to say so — and act accordingly. Similarly, trans people and their voices and ideas deserve to be in leadership positions in any broad-based LGBTQIA+ organization.

Queer, Trans, and Bi People of Color (QTBIPOC) have always been leaders in the fight for equity and liberation, and yet, sadly, in the last several years Boston Pride has turned away from that legacy, even in the face of today’s increased understanding of the need to be actively anti-racist. As a result, they have lost 80% of their volunteer force as well as the trust and support of many other members of the Boston-area LGBTQIA+ community and our would-be allies. Many of the volunteers are organizing as Pride 4 the People and we encourage you to become informed about their experiences and demands for a future Pride organization for Boston.

We understand that Boston Pride’s board president has agreed to step down and we want to encourage more changes to the board and organizational structure to ensure that Boston Pride evolves into an anti-racist community organization. SpeakOUT Boston will not be participating in Boston Pride activities until the QTBIPOC community is satisfied with the changes that are made.

From SpeakOUT’s Executive Director and Board of Directors