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How can my center participate in a local Pride Festival?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The summer months bring exciting opportunities for celebrating and reaching out to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) communities. During the month of June, many communities host Pride Events, Festivals and Parades as a space for activism around sexual and gender equality. In many communities, Pride offers a collective, safe environment for openly expressing sexuality, gender identity, and hope for a just and equitable future.

This webinar, hosted by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, shares information to help sexual assault programs create a more welcoming environment for those who identify as LGBTQ:

Pride festivals often include a space for vendors and nonprofits to share information and participate in this vibrant community event. Costs for tables are often offered at a reduced rate for nonprofit organizations. As you plan your outreach, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Keep it positive. You know that sad face that you see sometimes when you tell people that you work at a rape crisis or domestic violence center? We know it too. Pride celebrations are meant to be fun, affirming, open and engaging. As you prepare your outreach materials, think about the goals of primary prevention. What are you for? Using this space to educate on healthy sexuality, active consent, and building positive gender norms can help to lighten the information you have to offer. Build bystander skills and educate on how all people can have great sexual interactions, which never involve violence or coercion.

Partner up. If the Pride festival in your local community has limited opportunities for vendors or a hefty fee for participation, think about teaming up with another community organization. These partnerships can build new connections, open doors to new volunteers, build community response skills, and get you some joint face time at this event.

Meet and greet. Once your organization is set up, take the time to walk around and greet the other vendors. You may learn of a new organization or group that needs training you can provide. Offer your organization’s contact information and resources on where and how to get help if it’s needed. Maintain your connections and follow up with questions and requests after the event is over. This will help to cement your organization as an open and affirming member of the community.

Pride Festivals also provide a unique space for local advocates, preventionists, and activists to reach out to members of historically underserved communities. Creating an Inclusive Healing Community within your anti-sexual violence program can be challenging. Keep in mind that this process happens over a period of time with ongoing and consistent effort. For more information on sexual violence and LGBTQ Communities, check out the Special Collection or the Applied Research paper on this topic. We’re also anxiously awaiting the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) report on this topic, due for release this summer.

What are you doing to create an inclusive community for people who identify as LGBTQ?