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Boston Pride Theme: Think About It

Remember to wear something Hot Pink during Pride if you have concerns about the theme.

On December 21, 2006 we asked QueerToday readers to write to the Pride Committee and local papers asking questions about the chosen Boston Pride 2007 theme. We'll continue asking.

Ask. Tell. (Who is asking? What are they asking? Who is telling? Why the military imagery and words?)
Proud to Serve Our Community, Our Country, Our World. (Are all of us proud to serve our country right now? Can we all proclaim
our pride to "serve?" Who are we serving?)
The LGBT community is an integral part of society at every level of organization: community, country, and the world. We are your doctors, lawyers, teachers, leaders, engineers, custodians, bankers, and bakers. We are proud of our service and we are happy to share our lives with you. (Not all of us are happy or able to share our lives with "you." Who is "you?" Is Pride for us, or a show and tell for the dominant culture?) Just ask, and we'll tell! (I think my trans friends are rather sick of being asked about their body parts for one thing. Note to straight folks, contrary to what the committee says, we might not want to "just tell.")

In addition to this wording the Pride Committee is using dog tags in all of their promotional materials. And the closing party is called the "Military Ball."

See Also: Just Ask & We Won't Tell, reject the boston pride theme, innewsweekly: new coalition forms to oppose theme


Tom said...

"In addition to this wording the Pride Committee is using dog tags in all of their promotional materials. And the closing party is called the "Military Ball."

You have got to be kidding!! So this whole bit about it NOT really being a military theme was a load of crap.

Mark D. Snyder said...

You are right Tom. And,the Pride Committee admits that the theme was originally going to be even more military focussed (on the madfemme message board).

The innews article says they are proud to be edgy. It is unfortunate that the "edgy" specific concerns (militarism, transphobia, racism) people have will not be addressed, but rather ignored and swept under the rug with broad statements like "we welcome the controversy."

I know it must be hard to hear criticism considering their hard work good intentions, but we can't just be silent on the issues this theme presents us with.

alex said...


Anonymous said...

Nice touch with the fetishization of Latinos as well! Sigh...

Anonymous said...

Is anyone in charge of the block party a Spanish speaking person? Are any of the DJS at the block party spanish speaking or specialize in latino/a music? Are the attendees comprised of mostly Latino/as? Doubt it.

Trevor Wright said...

The pride committee is full of shit!

Sounds like they just thought gay men would think it was hot to be in uniform.

It is not hot, I’m intimidate by most people in uniforms!

Mark D. Snyder said...

I'm sure they worked really hard and had the best of intentions. I think this shows a broader problem in our communtiy as a whole. War/Occupation/Racism/Social Justice Issues are clearly not at the top of people's radars.

Anonymous said...

I do think that before you rush to "judge" Boston Pride with the Military Ball as a part of your ammo, you should be aware of a couple of things.

1. It is not in fact the closing party to pride. That's on Sunday, the Military Ball is on Saturday, but yes, they both happen at Avalon.

2. it (the MB) is entirely a commecial venture that is happening aroudn the time of Pride. Boston pride is listed as a sponsor, but I suspect that that has to do with it being organized at the sametime and like any other organizer of decentralized multi-day event, Boston Pride probably will include anything that is willng to cross-promote it.

I think that our questioning of the theme is great. Especially since we don't agree with it. I do think that before we load up ammo (I don't like the metaphor either, but te theme is kinda in the air..) it is important to understand the subtelties of how these things happen and certainly it is important to be factually accurate.

I also object to Trevor's comment above that the pride committee is full of shit. I'm sorry to have to say this, but gurl, a week long festival is a vastly different undertaking to a one night prom.

I do not work for Pride, nor Avalon nor Chris Harris.

Brian Rainey said...

Thanks anon for your information. I think your post speaks to the need to avoid personalizing criticisms of the theme--that is, we need not attack the pride committee. We understand they worked hard; we understand it's a large undertaking.

If I understand the situation correctly, I think people are criticizing the theme to raise bigger issues about the politics in our communities. The military ball, while it, perhaps, was not put on by the committee still fits in with the overall problematic theme/aesthetic of the celebration (hence the "Boston Pride Main Event" prominently displayed at the top).

Tom said...

I would realy like to know what sort of negative email that Pride Committee must be getting from the LGBT community. I am sure it will never release that information accurately.

Last year when KnowThyNeighbor did something for Pride that we thought was a "wise" thing to do, the connotations produced the MOST hostile emails and calls to us from the LGBT community--including verbal attacks from a handfull of people at Pride itself.

We rented a vintage hummer for the parade for the following reasons. 1) we needed to put our soundsystem on it--this 1980 hummer had its own generator 2) we thought that it would be more eco-friendly than bringing an 18wheeler and/or having to use a gas powered electric generator for the soundsystem 3) this hummer is used for monitoring the greenbelt on Cape Ann, has a license plate "ECO-SYS" and uses "eco-diesel"

Well...NONE of that mattered. I really got a wake up call regarding how aware our community is about the war, LGBT in the military, the environment etc. I have never received so many angry, mean-spirited emails from LGBT in my life (or anyone else for that matter and KTN has been criticized in the

Hopefully, Pride Committee is getting a similar response--it would only make sense. However, the Military Ball sponsorship tells me that either PC does not care or they are getting very bad advice.

Mark D. Snyder said...

For those interested in sparking discussion about the issues presented by this theme please join us today, Sunday at 5pm at the Community Church at Copley Square.

Anonymous said...

I think that this is crap. Seriously, there are so many gays and lesbians in the military, so many that have died, and those that continue to fight. I may not support the war, but I support those in the gay community. Why do others have to create divisions and continue to spread hostility. We wouldn't be in this war if Bush wasn't re-elected our president...if we had more blue states, if more people voted, and communities stuck together. Why do you have to go and hate on the pride committee. If you are at pride, or have pride - doesn't that mean that you are willing to share...since you are a part of a public gathering of the gay community?

I think that this whole thing is such BS and I wish that people would find something better to do with their time rather than create more divisions amongst a minority community.

Mark D. Snyder said...

The theme is divisive because no, not all of us are willing to share anything when we are asked. And Pride is a day for us, the language frames it as if it is all for straight people. Like it is our day to prove to straight people that we are just like them.

We believe the queer people in the military should be brought home now, and taken care of when they get home. That is truly supporting them.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI - Boston is not the only city sponsoring a "Military Ball". For one this is a theme that has been used around the nation for circuit/club events for years. Secondly, the "National Tour" shows how many other cities have also embraced this theme. Men will attend, and will be dressed in military gear. Many of them.

I'm not saying I like the idea, but isn't there power in taking back the idea when gays aren't allowed in the military? People can barely get away with using Queer as a negative word to people in the GLBT community anymore. We used it - called ourselves it - and took the power back.

Anonymous said...

they arent trying to reclaim it tho they are just being "sexy"

Anonymous said...

Can we PLEASE pick our battles, people? Instead of trying to fight about Pride themes, why don't you spend your time campaigning for the new trans-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation, which will have a *real*, concrete impact on the lives of some of the most oppressed queer people. Go to and do something today. If you're still looking for a real battle to fight, the constitutional convention is just around the corner. Oh, and GLAD, The Network/La Red, MassEquality, MTPC, BAGLY and GLASS need volunteers on a regular basis. Let's not spend our time attacking the work of people who want to create a fun Pride event. Oy.

Mark D. Snyder said...


Maybe you didn't know but most of us at queertoday already volunteer for ALL of the organizations you mentioned.

Don't you dare assume the members of QueerToday are only complaining about the Pride theme and not doing any other work in our community!

By resisting the pride theme, we are sparking important discussions in our community that need to happen.
We are a member of the Ask Tell Act Coalition which meets once a week for an hour. We DO pick and choose our battles and it is about time someone speak out about the corporitization of Pride.

If you read our blog regularly you would see that we volunteer for all of the organizations you listed, and we already do all of the things you suggested.

There is no bigger supoprter of the trans rights bill than the members of Queertoday. We were at the state house, we were writing letters, and we were blogging about it. And we will continue doing so!

Several QueerToday bloggers volunteered at the bagly prom, youth pride, and serve on the board of directors of area organizations including PFLAG, BAGLY, AND MTPC! Other queertoday bloggers are activing in fighting for the rights of people in Prison, and a myriad of other causes all while holding down full-time jobs and/or college/school.

To assume make an ass out of u and me.

Trevor Wright said...

thanks mark

alex said...

Also, Pride is a big deal. It's the single largest event of queer visibility in the state. It is quite possibly the time when there are the most queers congregated at a time in MA, the only time some straight people even see people proudly identifying as queer. Boston Pride is a significant cultural event that shapes the way we think about ourselves and the way others think about us. With this in mind, I believe in advancing a socially progressive (or at least responsible) politic in relation to the pride theme that does not ignore the experiences of the majority of queers. The Pride Committee glosses over the the fact "telling" is not a simple act for many people.

Also, I do believe that it is possible to fetishize, appropriate, and subvert militarism through queer sexual/social practices. I do not believe this is what is happening with Boston pride. Rather, the theme and the activities blindly parrot militarism when it has the potential to actually be subversive.

It is for these reasons (and many others) that Pride is an important event that is worthy of queer criticism and politics.