Durham community gathers to celebrate LGBTQ pride at night
Pride will go on in Durham this fall.
After NC Pride, the group that has organized the festival and parade since the 1980s, canceled its permit for the Sept. 28-29 event, it was unclear whether the celebration would happen this year. The event was suspended, according to a June 21 notice on the event's website.
Now the LGBTQ Center of Durham plans to hold an event instead.
"The folks who were organizing Pride as we know it before have canceled," board Chair Helena Cragg said Tuesday. "We're moving forward to make sure there is not a void and that the history continues."
"The LGBTQ Center of Durham, this year will put on the best Pride it can put on with less than 90 days with the intention of continuing it going forward."
The event will be held Sept 29, according to the center's press release. It's scheduled on the same date as the Pride festival in Asheville.
John Short, who led the committee that planned NC Pride, could not be reached for comment.
Last year, NC Pride was criticized for scheduling the event during Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. The criticism led NC Pride to cancel the parade and move the festival from Duke's East Campus to a block of Rigsbee Avenue.
Several North Carolina LGBTQ groups, including the LGBTQ Center of Durham, wrote an open letter to NC Pride last year urging the public not to attend the event and instead support other LGBTQ events. The letter also questioned the transparency and financial practices of the organization.
Justin Clapp, a local drag performer, also known as Vivica C. Coxx, has volunteered to help plan the new event.
"J. Clapp will receive no compensation for any efforts put toward Pride in Durham, but will ensure the funds will be managed appropriately with the LGBTQ Center of Durham being the beneficiary," the press release said.
The center of Durham has not yet applied for a permit to hold the event, Glenn said.
"At this point, we can say that we are working diligently with the City of Durham to maintain the historic date of pride, the final Saturday in September," the press release said..
The Center will be asking residents in a survey starting July 15 what they want from Pride.. To offer feedback, email email@example.com.
Letter from J. Clapp and the LGBTQ Center of Durham
To the people invested in Pride in North Carolina:
We are excited to say that Pride in Durham will be happening again this year, but the people organizing it have changed.
After many years, John Short has decided to step down and we would all like to formally thank him for his efforts and dedication to LGBTQ Pride in North Carolina. After his step down, many became aware of Triangle Pride, which after several months of planning was canceled.
Here is where we step in. As time has changed, so have the needs and desires of the community here in Durham and North Carolina as a whole. We have seen the creation of metropolitan prides from Alamance to Charlotte with the Triangle remaining the central hub of Pride celebrations.
With the changing of leadership around Pride in Durham, we want to remain committed to welcoming people from municipalities without a Pride of their own to come celebrate as we do here in Durham. We will also work collaboratively with other efforts in the Triangle.
There are many questions around where pride will happen and when. At this point, we can say that we are working diligently with the City of Durham to maintain the historic date of pride, the final Saturday in September. This year, that will be on September 29, 2018 and will be planned as such in perpetuity.
Many of you are wondering who will be at the helm of Pride this year. In the spirit of Durham and in thinking of a sense of community, we are approaching this much more collaboratively and are still building a team, but Justin “J.” Clapp (also known as Vivica C. Coxx) has stepped up to lead the efforts with the LGBTQ Center of Durham. J. Clapp will receive no compensation for any efforts put toward Pride in Durham, NC, but will ensure the funds will be managed appropriately with the LGBTQ Center of Durham being the beneficiary.
At this stage, a team of individuals is being consulted to help develop a community survey to ensure the many voices of Durham are represented. Currently at the table are representatives from the City of Durham, some of the original cofounders of NC Pride, event consultants with past Pride experience, queer and trans people of color, voices from people of many faiths, and more (which just means we still have targeted recruitment). Once the survey is launched and we hear from the folks of Durham, help and further input will be solicited from everyone.
Our hope is to remember the community in front of us and those whose lives have been lost due to injustice in America. We embrace the responsibility to our youth to be visible and proud just as our elders did for us.
With this responsibility, we will continue to solicit input and feedback. We will be accepting questions at firstname.lastname@example.org starting July 15th (after the survey is launched). After this year’s Pride, we will be taking a critical look at Pride as a whole and will be utilizing the community’s opinion and an innovative spirit to create a spectacular celebration of self and others. We appreciate your feedback, support, and faith at this pivotal moment in Pride history. Let’s do this!
J. Clapp and the LBGTQ Center of Durham