Before the Parade

Four pride celebrations precede Capital Pride pinnacle

Before this year’s big Capital Pride parade and festival weekend on June 11 and 12, respectively, Washington will see several other pride celebrations. Those celebrations include the sixth annual DC Leather Pride, June 2 to 5, kicking off with a ”Boys Night Out!” social at the DC Eagle at 10 p.m. on Thursday, June 2.

DC Leather Pride‘s big event is the annual Mr. & Ms. DC Leather Contest. The contest took a hiatus last year, says local leather enthusiast Tim Woody, who produces the event. But it’s back June 3.

The mission of the event is to celebrate the rich leather history of the D.C. area, to provide education of the leather lifestyle in a safe and healthy setting, and to create a welcoming environment into the leather community and leather clubs for those interested or new to leather.

At this year’s Capital TransPride event, running 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday, June 4, Dr. Marci Bowers, a renowned surgeon with vast expertise in gender-reassignment procedures, will be serving as keynote speaker.

”The focus of the event is transgender health,” says Holly Goldmann, co-chair of Capital TransPride.

Goldmann says the event at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, which costs $10 to attend, is about education rather than entertainment.

”It’s more of an informative event,” she says. ”We’re going to have panels and workshops going on simultaneously – one on people’s personal experiences dealing with transitioning, and the other one is dealing with transgender health care.”

David Pérez, Latino Pride co-chair and president of the Latino LGBT History Project, says this year’s event is ”bigger and better” than before.

This year the fifth annual Latino Pride will take the form of a networking reception with cultural performances, at Town Danceboutique from 6 to 9 p.m., on Friday, June 10.

”We’re going to have a panel discussion and it’s going to focus on the inequalities of marriage equality,” Pérez says. ”We’re going to celebrate marriage equality in D.C., but we’re also going to look at the challenges faced by Latino and by binational couples.”

This year, organizers of DC Black Pride are not presenting the traditional large Sunday expo and stage show, instead collaborating with Us Helping Us, People Into Living, for the Health and Wellness Festival, Monday, May 30, from 1 to 6 p.m. at Fort Dupont Park in Southeast D.C.

Ron Simmons, executive director at Us Helping Us, says the change is about helping DC Black Pride go back to its roots.

”The intent of Pride was never to become this big event that attracts tens of thousands of people,” he says. ”It was to show, recognize and celebrate our presence as a black LGBT community and to raise money for AIDS organizations. A lot of people seem to forget that that was part of the initial focus: helping out with HIV.”

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