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Letters-to-the-Editor & Commentary

We Need Pride in Lower Hudson Now More Than Ever

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May 30, 2023

In some ways, there has never been more LGBTQ+ Pride in Lower Hudson. From flag raising ceremonies, to family-friendly comedy shows, to street festivals and parades, there’s a little something for everyone.

But none of it really matters if we don’t show up for it.

That’s right—we. I’m counting myself, but I’m counting on you, too.

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Pride is a celebration of joy and acceptance, a radical expression of love for ourselves and for each other. Nothing, and no one, can take that away from us.

But some folks are really trying to, aren’t they?

The LGBTQ+ community is under vicious attack throughout the country. It’s tempting to try to fight fire with fire, give haters a taste of their own venom. But one of our greatest weapons in this movement is Pride.

Pride is not just about marching in parades. Here in Lower Hudson, it can mean attending Hastings Pride Night on June 2 or the Greenburgh Pride Flag ceremony on June 4.

This February, our local Pride organizers joined volunteers from across suburban New York and Connecticut for the second annual Pride Coalition Conference held at the Greenwich Hyatt. The goal was to discuss the ways in which local leaders could work with one another to create safe, fun, and inclusive Pride celebrations for all. Adrian Shanker, Senior Advisor on LGBTQI+ Health Equity Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, was the keynote speaker.

We talked about logistics like event setups and insurance questions, to security issues like working with local law enforcement and city or municipal governments to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all attendees. There was even a “PRIDE Toolkit” panel that included guest speakers such as Bill Pierz of Shoff Darby Insurance Agency, Jenn McMurrer of the Norwalk Common Council, Edson Rivas from Triangle Community Center, Judy Troilo from The LOFT: LGBTQ Community Center, Rachel Simon from Lewisboro Celebrates Pride and Hillary Desmond from Easton Pride. Closing Remarks were provided by Anthony Crisci from Circle Care Center.

I am proud to work with the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation, which co-sponsors the Pride Coalition in conjunction with Circle Care Center. Part of why we decided to support these local Pride efforts in a meaningful way is to help connect people to all the amazing events happening right in their own communities—we don’t always have to go to big cities like Boston or New York to find welcoming spaces to be ourselves.

We see what’s happening in parts of the country, and the world. Now is the time to get out and do something. And to have a fabulous time doing it!

If you’re looking for something specific in Lower Hudson, you don’t have to look far. Pride beings at home.

Many of us have spent too much of our lives learning how to love ourselves in the face of constant messaging to the contrary. It’s the greatest thrill to be surrounded by an outpouring of love, unity, celebration, and, of course, pride.

Colin Hosten

Colin Hosten is the Executive Director of the Leonard Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation.

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