Providence kicked off Pride on Sunday with a rally at the Rhode Island State House followed by a march to Providence City Hall for a Pride Flag raising event featuring Mayor Jorge Elorza and Governor Gina Raimondo. Across the country Pride events are being challenged to be more inclusive and diverse. In Boston yesterday the Pride March was interrupted by activists concerned with the rights of “low-income, trans, and non-white people.”
Rhode Island Pride has been grappling with these issues for some time (see: here and here), and Sunday’s State House rally featured a diverse array of LGBTQ+ speakers who openly called for greater inclusion and did not shy away from criticism of the movement.
Central to the the rally was the memory of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where, one year ago today, 49 people, mostly gay Latinx men, lost their lives in a mass shooting. Wilbury Theater Group actors Jeff Hodge, Beth Alianiello, Milly Massey, Lynne Collinson, and Dave Rabinow read from the play After Orlando, which was written in response to the tragedy.
Also remembered were the names of the twelve trans women who were murdered this year, 2017, in the United States. This does not count those trans women who took their on lives, a tragedy Nika Lomazzo, a trans woman speaking at the rally called “state-sanctioned murder.
“When we live in a society that invalidates our identities both socially and legally, a government that rejects us and attacks us and a society which has refused to pass a single hate crime protection law for trans people, suicide is indeed murder by that society,” said Lomazzo.
Yesterday’s events were the first in a series of Pride events for the month of June. The State House dome will be illuminated with rainbow colors for the next two weeks, the pride celebration and illuminated parade are next Saturday, and Governor Raimondo has proclaimed June to be Pride Month.
You can watch all the speakers in the video below. All the speeches are worth deep consideration:
Below is a quick video of the march from the State House to City Hall.
And here is the video from the Flag Raising ceremony at Providence City Hall.