This month in the city is chock full of opportunities to celebrate Pride, but there are a few options that take up the entirety of the month so that everyone can join in on the fun.
“Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community couldn’t afford to lose our Gay Pride two years in a row to the pandemic,” said community organizer and out/proud gay business owner Kory Aversa, who helped mobilize the master list and new Pride month website. “The pandemic took such a toll on our city and region’s gay and queer community. Gay teens who started to find comfort in local services and youth centers were cut off from the services they started to rely on. College students who started their coming out process in our city’s colleges were sent back in the closet as they got kicked out of their dorms and many were forced to move back home. International students, residents and workers who sought the safety net of a larger inclusive city were forced to go back to their countries and basically head back into the closet. Gay seniors faced mental and physical challenges, including added isolation. Gay nonprofits saw an increase for services, while donations decreased, while they were forced to pivot and sort out how to keep functioning and how to navigate staff shortages. Gay-owned businesses were forced to shutter their doors for months at a time and endure necessary but harmful restrictions.
“For the volunteers and leaders that stepped up to organize the 280+ events and master list, it wasn’t a question of ‘Do we do this?’ but more an issue of ‘How do we organize everyone, get out the word, and never let this happen again?’ Philly has an amazing Pride Parade which is one of my favorite events of the year, but it also has a diverse robust community with dozens and dozens of organizations doing things all month-long. In three weeks, 300+ calls and emails later, and a lot of coffee, we have mobilized not just a transitional list for this year, but one of the best lists Philly Gay Pride Month has ever seen.”
LGBTQ Hall of Flags and Philly Gay Pride Flag Exhibit
Sofitel Philadelphia is known for showing off its own Pride through an oversized rainbow flag, with Philly’s addition of the brown and black stripes to honor diversity in the community. The flag can be seen as soon as you walk in the front door of the establishment, but the celebration continues inside with the lobby, which has been renamed Philadelphia’s LGBTQ Hall of Flags. The Philadelphia rainbow flag will be joined by a variety of LGBTQ flags flying high inside the lobby to celebrate the different facets of the local gay community, including the Lesbian Pride Flag, Gender Fluid Pride Flag, Binary Pride Flag, Pan Sexual Pride Flag, Transgender Pride Flag and the Bisexual Pride Flag.
The hotel also recently announced a year-long benefit for a local LGBTQ charity. According to a release, during the entire month of June, and through the rest of 2021, Sofitel Philadelphia will donate $1 per each banquet menu item designated with the William Way Community Center’s logo on the menu. Designated items range from breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets to beverages and snack breaks for groups of 10 or more people hosting a meeting or event at Sofitel Philadelphia. Sofitel Philadelphia will also donate $1 from every Liberté cocktail sold in the Liberté Lounge to WWCC during Pride Month. The resources raised through the partnership will support the organization’s programs for seniors, as well as its Trans Resource Center. Funds will also support the WWCC’s capital campaign. The Liberté Cocktail is available in Liberté Lounge and features pear infused vodka, lemon, St. Germain and sparkling wine.
PrideFLIX; The Virtual Pride Film Festival
This event is remaining virtual this year, but the fun has never been more amped up for this annual festival. PrideFLIX features five weeks of LGBTQ+ documentaries, feature films, short films, and web series that viewers can watch from the comfort of your home. The festival, which is now in full swing, has many highlights with one of the most notable being a screening of gay writer/director Mike Mosallam’s rom-com, “Breaking Fast.”
According to the release, the film stars out actor Haaz Sleiman as Mo, a heartbroken gay Muslim who meets — and eats with — Kal (Michael Cassidy) during Ramadan. Because the Holy Month forbids impure thoughts and activities, Mo is forced to practice self-control. Mosallam’s clever conceit allows Mo and Kal to fall in love as their relationship develops over numerous romantic meals and dates. Sleiman and Mosallam, who were to be honored for their work at the fest in March, have been invited to participate in a post-screening talkback via zoom on June 29 along with Seth Hauer, the film’s producer. Several of the films will include talkbacks with filmmakers and/or talent.
In addition, PrideFLIX is also planning a weekly moderated discussion of specific titles on Sunday nights in June to help foster a sense of community during this period of social distancing. Ticket prices will range from $7-$10 per viewing, with $1 of each viewing going towards local LGBTQ+ nonprofits. There will also be an option to purchase a festival badge to view all the films.
Gay Pride Month at Philly AIDS Thrift
For the entirety of the month of June, AIDS Thrift is offering shoppers the opportunity to get into the spirit with all they have to offer at Philadelphia’s largest and gay-owned thrift store. Shoppers can see right away just how spirited the business is with their Queer-centric window display celebrating the diversity of our city and region’s queer community.
Philadelphians can also celebrate this month with America’s oldest continuously operating LGBTQ bookstore, Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room in the Gayborhood, which is selling all Pride month essentials including copies of the queerbook anthology — a collection of fiction and non-fiction work by LGBTQ people from all over the world that was published by PAT during the pandemic.
Moving Forward When the World Stopped: Queer Life 2020-2021
This particular exhibit showcases work from 28 artists in the Philadelphia area. The new showcase of works features submissions from Allis Chang, Charlie Welch, Chloe Luisa Piñero, Christine Jung and others, and explores the pain of suffering through the pandemic, the shifts in our relationship with technology, the immense amount of loss, the calls to action, and our strength to carry on as a community. ‘Moving Forward When the World Stopped: Queer Life 2020-2021’ presents a timeline of events, memories, and experiences from the past year and will be on display at the William Way LGBT Community Center until June 30.
1315 Spruce St., waygay.org