With this years Pride celebration approaching in Washington D.C. aka “Chocolate City”, I decided to educate myself a bit on some historical points of the Black Gay/Lesbian Pride movement. I did a little research for you guys so that we all can have a bit more insight before we “TURN UP” (lol) at this year’s Chocolate Temptation Pride Event. We all like to party and have a good time, but it’s great to know that we are celebrating for a SPECIAL purpose.
HOW DID THE BLACK PRIDE MOVEMENT IN WASHINGTON D.C. BEGIN?
The first Black Pride event in Washington D.C. started in 1991 and was originally called “DC Black and Lesbian Gay Pride Day.” A group of Black, LGBT men and woman were inspired to host this event based on an annual tradition in DC called the “Children’s Hour” that took place every Memorial Day weekend at a black, gay bar called the “Club House.” The Club House was popular starting in the 70’s but unfortunately shut down in 1991 because of the effect that HIV/AIDS had on many of the staff members.
WHO ORIGINATED DC BLACK & LESBIAN GAY PRIDE DAY AND WHAT KEPT THE MOVEMENT MOVING FORWARD WHEN THE “CLUB HOUSE” SHUT DOWN?
The originators of DC Black and Lesbian Gay Pride day were Welmore Cook, Theodore Kirkland and Ernest Hopkins. After the unfortunate closing of the “Club House” due to the rise of HIV/AIDS, these guys came up with a plan to continue the tradition while raising funds for organizations dedicated to providing services for African-Americans infected with HIV/AIDS. In addition, they would promote information regarding prevention methods of HIV/AIDS to all of the guest at these events. A little over 800 men and women showed up to the first event, in 1991, making this the first “Black Pride” in Washington D.C.
WHY ARE BLACK PRIDES SO IMPORTANT?
Historically, living in America and being African-American has had its share of struggles. Try being black AND GAY! Black Pride events became popular because it gave Black LGBT men and woman an outlet to come together and to celebrate EVERY aspect of who they were as individuals and as a group.
To be surrounded by other men and woman whom you can directly relate to is VERY empowering and encourages us as a group to be united and connected. Healthy LGBT Communities is a step in the right direction to battling homophobia and prejudices towards LGBT members within the black community.
This was my very brief summary of the history of the Black Pride Movement in D.C. but feel free to visit http://centerforblackequity.org/about-us/history/ for more details that I may not have covered!
With all of that said, I’m SO EXCITED to celebrate our individuality, unity and dignity at this year’s pride events in D.C. on Memorial Day Weekend, the official start of SUMMER. #TurnUp!!!