PrideFest 2009

We are finally home from another Pride Festival.  All the Sunday evening chores are finished and we are both sort of vegging on the sofa with cool beverages and the Sunday paper. 

I truly intended to try and live blog direct from Pride, using my email blogging capabilities but things happened so quickly I could barely keep up.  I posted a ton of photos from the march and the speakers stage.  They are up on Facebook along with a video of the Renaissance City Choir drum corp.

The PG estimated 5,000 people attended. Organizers told me 8,000.  I'm not the best at these things, but I'd probably say 3,000 is more likely.  It was never crowded to the point of overwhelming.  But these things are always points for debate.

The weather was lovely.  The organizers improved things quite a bit … much more seating, cleaner grounds and a nicer flow of traffic.  The march timing is still being refined, but it is still very nice.  Most noticeable differences are the increasing contingents from communities of faith and affinity groups at local employers (Highmark, Bank of New York Mellon, Google) while some of the community group contingents are shrinking — probably as people switch.   It shows that the power centers may be moving away from the gay democrats to the gay health insurance employees.  Something to consider. 

The festival was nice.  We ran into a ton of people and had a nice time.  

The big news is that Allegheny County Council will be voting on the County-wide non discrimination ordinance on Wednesday, July 1, 2009. 

Our community made history by turning out a record setting crowd for the ordinance hearing back in January (more than 150 people).  This is another chance to bring Allegheny County into the 21st century and you can make a difference by attending this meeting.  Sign up to speak if you like.  Bring a friend.  More importantly, call your Councilperson between now and then to encourage them/thank them for their vote. 



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  • I wouldn't be at all surprised if there were 20,000 people at Pride Fest. I was there until 6 and the crowds were still pretty strong even at the end. Plus there were people who came up from the Arts Festival. And even some of the symphony crowd was getting a kick out of it as they walked back to their cars.

  • I stood in line for the bathrooms a few times and got some food. There is no way 20,000 other people were there or I would have given up on that hot dog a lot sooner.
    It doesn't matter. The event was fine. Who cares about a number? Let's move on to why our President is suddenly talking like Rick Santorum?

  • Well, numbers are important, if you're going to sway elected officials. You can't just stamp your feet and act like a little child to get what you want. You have to win hearts and minds. And having 20,000 people, gay AND straight, gather to celebrate the LGBT community sends a powerful message. Elected officials need to know that the won't suffer a backlash if they support us, so seeing a large crowd that supports us gives them cover. That's how politics works.

  • It doesn't sway elected officials to make outrageous claims. There is simply no way 20,000 people were at Pride. Maybe 200 people lined up near us for the parade. I doubt you walked around the corner and smacked into 19,800 people even over six hours.
    The 150 gay and straight people who turned out for the County Council hearing in January made an impact. Turning out another 150 people on July 1 will make an impression. Stop bickering about an intangible number no one can prove. Instead, call your friends and invite them to the July 1 hearing.
    Who is stomping their feet and bickering now? Just let it go and move on.

  • When a Politian stands on stage, grabs a mic and pretends to be all about gay rights, after YEARS of never attending a GLBT event. And after his pretend speech, runs as far away from Liberty Ave as he can, instead of walking through the crowds and shaking gay hands ( cause you do know, it is not contagious) and when a Politian only shows support when he is looking to further his career does not make me feel better, not one fucking bit. ( sorry for the f bomb) They are not afraid of backlash, they are afraid of us. Do you think Dan Frankel, Amanda Green , Doug Shields are concerned about backlash,
    WAKE UP!!!!! The Mayor and The Chief do not truly support us!!!! They want money and votes… hmmm kinda like our president!!
    Numbers are important when they are votes swayed by lies.

  • Here are the numbers that matter to me:
    The number of promises/backtracks made by the Obama Administration from the Illinois Senate to the Presidency.
    The number of federal employees who still can't access domestic partner health insurance or the security of pension benefits in spite of today's little bone toss to the community.
    The number of US Senators willing to introduce legislation repealing DADT. That would be ZERO.
    The number of US Congresspersons committed to a firm yes on an inclusive ENDA. That would be 25.
    The number of County Councilpersons who rescinded their sponsorship of the County Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.
    The number of months it took Dan Onorato to suppor that same bill. I think that number is 5.
    The number of Southwestern PA Democrats who are not supporting HB 300, don't believe LGBTQ persons experience discrimination and don't know any gay people.
    The number of financial contributions being made to hire a dedicated LGBTQ Western PA based organizer.
    The number of times the leaders of Pittsburgh's LGBTQ organizations have sat down together and had a constructive dialogue.
    The number of straight allies who have called their legislators.
    The number of LGBTQ persons who are meeting with their legislators.
    The number of police officers who ensured the public safety during the Dyke March. That would be zero. Again.
    I'm not worried about how many people came to Pride. If turning people out for a street party could effect political change, great. But the symbolism hasn't accomplished anything concrete except an embarrassing pay for play scandal involving the Pride organizers and a registry that's quite a muddle. Plus, empty promises from a Mayor whose Deputy Chief of Staff can't organize a committee for some unfathomable reason.
    Trust me, if 20,000 queers and allies turned out for Pride, there would have been more than 3 counterprotestors there to save us.
    Can't we just leave it at nice party, fun afternoon, blah, blah, blah. We have bigger fish to fry.

  • Sue,
    For what it's worth, and just to keep things factual, the offical attendance estimate by the Pittsburgh Police for Sunday's PrideFest event was 19,000.
    Peter Karlovich

  • It would be nice if you were the cook and not the lady sitting in the passenger seat of a car at the drive through asking for her fish sandwich. Make your own food lady and stop using the drive through or stop complaining to the cooks.

  • Lady asking for a fish sandwich? Nice sexist, homophobic slur. Over a stupid attendance argument which wasn't even started by a “lady”. Classic gay male bullshit.

  • She made the “fish to fry” reference, not anonymous. Numbers arguement was made by the person who said there was 3,000 above, whoever that was.

  • How is it insulting to say that Pridefest attracted 3,000 people? That is a lot of people. Why is it insulting? It may not be accurate, but she didn't say that 3,000 people equals a bad event. I think you are being way too sensitive for your own good. It was a street party, not the political advocacy moment of the year. Lighten up and stop making the veiled lesbian bashing comments. “Fish to fry” is much different than that awkward drive-thru analogy.

  • It's a shame that there can't be a discussion of important topics to our community without it sliding into anti-woman/anti-lesbian comments. That being said, the attendance numbers can be important for credibility reasons–a claim should not be made about attendance to any event without the facts to back them up. The City paper put the number in attendance at 5,000, Delta says 20,000, the police supposedly put the number at 19,000. The true figure is probably somewhere in the middle. Moreover, because I've been around the community awhile, I have also been a bit taken aback about the rewriting of LGBT history regarding the pride events. This year was not the first time a weeks worth of events were held. Way back in the dark ages of the 1990s there were pride events held for a week. Again, it's all about credibility.

  • I saw that bit in the City Paper several times over the past year. All they need to do is read their own archived articles on Pride. In 2004, Marty Levine describes a month long plan of activities. Two years later, they are referring to the expansion of Pride to a week and continue to do so for the next several years. Type Pridefest in their search box and see for yourself.
    That's just shoddy reporting and even more shoddy editing. Alternative papers should be a bit more thorough when an event like Pride goes corporate and starts making grandiose proclamations.

  • A lot of people came to Pridefest. A good time was had by all. The end.
    You know who didn't come to Pridefest? Luke Ravenstahl. Yarone Zober. Jim Ferlo. Wayne Fontana. Bill Peduto. Jay Costa. Paul Costa. Don Walko. Natalia Rudiak. The list goes on, my friends.
    The fish sandwich comment demeans the Delta Foundation. I look forward to Mr. Karlovich defending women in his community as ardently as he does his attendance facts. Then tell us why Bill Peduto skipped your party.

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