As a resident of New Hope, I am looking forward to the return of PrideFest on May 20-22 after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. I will join hundreds of others to march from Lambertville, N.J., over the Delaware River into Bucks County. The anticipation around this event of unity and visibility and others like it will be felt around the country as members of the LGBTQ community and their allies gear up for an exuberant return to regular June Pride Month festivities.
But the recent leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion that would end the constitutional right to abortion is also rattling our community. Law experts and Democratic lawmakers argue that, should Roe v. Wade be overturned, same-sex marriage is the likely next target for a rollback by the conservative-majority court. Even Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the 2015 landmark case that affirmed same-sex marriage throughout the land, expressed concern given that the draft decision on Roe v. Wade authored by Justice Samuel Alito twice refers to the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. Couple this with the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation bills being signed into law (over 300 filed since the start of 2022 alone), and you have a Category 5 hurricane of civil rights under attack, with its eye moving toward the entire LGBTQ community.
While these terrifying truths may not cast a pall on Pride celebrations, I suspect they will inspire revelers to shout their opposition to what many view as courts, capitols, and councils gone rogue.
Philadelphia’s Pride weekend, slated for June 3-5, has an additional layer of anxious expectancy.
It will be the inaugural effort of the newly formed PHL Pride Collective (PPC), which is looking to right past wrongs. PPC, comprised of queer and trans activists, was formed last year after Philly Pride Presents, the organizers of the city’s Pride events for nearly three decades, disbanded following a Facebook post about the Stonewall riots that was seen as racist and transphobic. Pushback from within the community was broad and swift, in part due to already mounting anger over the high cost of entry into events and a sense of exclusion coming from the group’s leadership, among other issues.
Philadelphia’s Gayborhood has not been alone in this struggle. Pride event organizers in major cities across the country are reckoning with previously held discriminatory stances in an effort to fully embrace a community with members who are marginalized not only from outside but also from within.
I do hope that all quarters of my community and our allies show up in full force this Pride season to celebrate our diversity and perseverance, and to support one another. We must stand up for our lawfully given rights and let our voices be heard.
Let’s keep the Pride momentum going. After the last flag is waved and confetti swept up, we will need to buckle up for what could be a bumpy ride.
Jobert E. Abueva is a member of the WHYY Community Advisory Board. He is also a writer and resident of New Hope. email@example.com