Thousands of LGBT people and allies marched, rallied and partied in Boston this weekend during the 47th annual Boston Pride, a time when thousands of LGBT Bay Staters come together to celebrate ourselves and the gains we’ve made as a community.
And this year’s Boston Pride celebration was one for the history books.
Not only did it mark the first Boston Pride since last year’s passage of full non-discrimination protections for transgender Bay Staters—it marked the kickoff of our campaign to protect these non-discrimination protections at the ballot box next year.
Because that is the other purpose of Pride: Movement-building to protect the gains we’ve made, and need to make in the future.
— Freedom for All MA (@Freedom_Mass) June 11, 2017
This weekend that’s what we did. Freedom for All Massachusetts recruited more than 50 volunteers to spread the word about what’s at stake for Massachusetts’ transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law. This proved critically important, as many people weren’t aware these protections are facing a ballot challenge.
According to Freedom for All Massachusetts’ senior organizer, Vashti Selix, “At every debrief, we heard the same thing. ‘No one knows this is happening.’” But, she said “After three days of being at different Pride events and talking to hundreds of people, I am feeling inspired. People are ready to fight back, take action and do more.”
“After three days of being at different Pride events and talking to hundreds of people, I am feeling inspired. People are ready to fight back, take action and do more.” –Vashti Selix, senior organizer, Freedom for All Massachusetts
Freedom Massachusetts’ co-chairs, Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn were also at Pride. During their outreach, they made clear to volunteers and other supporters that the effort to repeal transgender non-discrimination protections in Massachusetts is part of a concerted, nationwide strategy to undo the gains LGBT people have made.
“LGBT people across the country continue to face attacks and potential rollbacks of rights, including here in Massachusetts,” they said, noting that the visibility provided by Pride is key to striking back. “This is how we grow support for our freedom and equality, it’s how we won marriage for same-sex couples, and it’s how we’ll uphold transgender equality in the Commonwealth next year.”
“This Pride, it’s more important than ever for us to come together, be visible, build community, and tell our stories in order to create better understanding about who we are. This is how we grow support for our freedom and equality, it’s how we won marriage for same-sex couples, and it’s how we’ll uphold transgender equality in the Commonwealth next year.” –Freedom Massachusetts co-chairs Kasey Suffredini and Mason Dunn
That’s why the highlight of Pride this year for many LGBT Bay Staters was Sunday’s Stronger Together rally, a time specifically dedicated to fostering solidarity among marginalized people within the LGBT community, including transgender people.
Two years ago, when the Freedom for All Massachusetts alliance began our final push to ensure non-discrimination protections for transgender people in public places like restaurants, retails shops and hospitals, we grew our movement through Pride. Now, we’re again using Pride to build our movement to protect our transgender friends and neighbors.
Boston Pride might be the biggest chance we’ll have this year to do that—but it’s certainly not the last. Pride month is in full swing across the state, and there will be other opportunities throughout the year for us to reach out.