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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 13
InterPride holds conference to help Pride in hostile areas
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InterPride holds conference to help Pride in hostile areas

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On March 26-27, 10 of the 26 known Pride organizations in the Pacific Northwest region converged on Seattle to commit to the fight for human rights while showcasing their community pride by becoming members of InterPride.

Founded in 1982, InterPride is the international association for organizations that produce Pride events around the world. InterPride promotes Pride internationally and increases networking and communication amongst Pride organizations.

InterPride's member organizations are dedicated to producing Pride events such as parades, marches, rallies, festivals, arts festivals, and cultural activities organized for people identifying as LGBT and/or other emerging sexual identities.

The member organizations come from diverse cultures and countries around the world. Organizations of all sizes are InterPride members: developing or grassroots-focused, mid-sized and growing in size, and large, well-established Pride organizations. They produce Pride events ranging from large parades with over 1 million participants to smaller, developing marches and celebrations.

Seattle Out and Proud (SO&P), the organization responsible for Seattle's annual Pride Parade, hosted the regional conference. The conference took place at a Lifelong AIDS Alliance meeting space.

'It was a truly amazing experience to see so many organizations represented from our region, and I cannot wait to see it by this time next year,' stated Frank Leonzal from Out In Tacoma, producer for the Tacoma-Pierce County Washington Pride event.

Although a lot of focus was placed on regional Pride celebrations, InterPride officials told Seattle Gay News that human rights were also on the table.

'This was the first time a conference like this was held in the region. It is very exciting to be on the front end of a new movement,' said Caryl Dolinko, V.P. of operations and communications director for InterPride. 'There was a buzz in the room and a lot of energy. It was fantastic.'

The 'new movement' Caryl is talking about is called the InterPride Solidarity Package.

'Pride events are being held in hostile areas, and we support them with the help of donations,' she told SGN. 'Currently, injustice and inequality exists around the world for LGBT people. In seven countries, homosexuality is punishable by death, and in 73 other countries, severe penalties exist. We can make a difference by standing up for those who can't.'

According to Caryl, a majority of Pride boards are run by volunteers who want to do good for their community. She calls them 'accidental activists,' because 'Pride is a call to action.'

'We have a solidarity front,' Caryl explained. 'Anyone from anywhere around the world can donate and the money will go to a Pride in conflict that is struggling. Our international organization has a voice on the international stage.'

'Pride is a party, but it is a movement that is representing our community around the world,' she said. 'It's a changed world, but not in every corner of the world. We must work together for human rights and dignities for all people. You can't have second-class citizens in a world where we are all human beings.'

For more information about InterPride or to donate to the Solidarity Package, visit www.interpride.org/solidarity-package.

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