Three of a Kind

Trans, Leather and Latino communities add their own flavors to Pride

Pride in Washington is not just a weekend affair. Everyone knows the big Capital Pride Parade and Festival — June 13 and 14, respectively, along with the two weeks of events that lead up to them. With Youth Pride in April and DC Black Pride marking Memorial Day weekend, the GLBT community is just getting warmed up for a plethora of pride.

D.C. Latino Pride is a nighttime affair, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 12, in the Equality Forum of the Human Rights Campaign building.

”We’re having a cultural event featuring a panel of LGBT leaders who are going to talk about the 40 years [since] Stonewall and how it helped the LGBT movement, from the Latino perspective,” says José Gutierrez, president of the Latino History Project, which produces Latino Pride. ”We need to recognize our LGBT brothers and sisters and the Latino community’s contributions to the community.”

Gutierrez says he’s grateful for the D.C. government’s support in helping produce events like his, and adds that Mercedes Lemp, director of the Office on Latino Affairs, will be speaking at this free celebration, which will also include live music by local singer Luci Murphy, and a dance number by the group Mpodérate.

They will be performing at D.C Latino Pride just days after dancing at Capital Trans Pride, Saturday, June 6, at Loews’ Madison Hotel at 1177 15th St. NW. Trans Pride runs from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Organizers are asking for a suggested donation of $10.

Jessica McKinnon, organizer of this third annual Capital Trans Pride, says the event will ”bring the whole transgender community of the metro area together to celebrate the things that we have in common, and to help educate each other about those things, perhaps, that we don’t have in common.

”It’s a forum that will allow ‘cisgender’ people to talk completely openly about whatever they feel in relation to people that they know that are transitioning,” McKinnon says of just one of the day’s offerings, a forum for family and friends, explaining that ”cisgender” refers to anyone who doesn’t identify as transgender.

Michael Sessa is also hoping for some consciousness-raising at the fourth annual Leather Pride, running June 4 to 7.

Among this year’s offerings are classes by Master Taino, a popular bondage/discipline, sadomasochism (BDSM) instructor.

”There are only a handful of organizations that actually provide hands-on information and education about how to do stuff responsibly, safely and sanely,” says Sessa, organizer and founder of D.C. Leather Pride. ”It’s a difficult topic for lots of people to talk about, because it involves sex, it involves kink, and those are topics in D.C. that people shy away from.”

Sessa says he’s most excited that D.C. Leather Pride, which includes a Mr. and Miss Capital Pride Leather contest, is earning more local support.

”The [Defenders Leather Levi Club] added a Mass,” he says. ”And some guys stepped forward so we’re going to be adding a ‘Hot Ash Party’ at the DC Eagle. People are stepping up and saying, ‘I like the idea, I want to be a part of it, and let’s continue to build it.”’

For a full schedule of D.C. Leather Pride visit www.dcleatherpride.com. For more information about Capital Trans Pride visit www.capitaltranspride.org. For more about D.C. Latino Pride, call José Gutierrez at 202-464-0153.

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