There was a notable absentee from this year’s Pride festivities. After two decades of celebrating D.C.’s queer youth, Youth Pride was a no-show — but not for lack of trying.
“Youth Pride has normally been held the last week of April,” says Sarah Blazucki, the secretary of Youth Pride Alliance. “We wanted to make sure we were having that conversation, that the youth we serve still wanted it to happen.
“We had reached out to SMYAL, to Capital Pride to discuss about coordination for a June date, but we hadn’t received as much input as we liked,” says Blazucki. “So we wanted to just hit the pause button and make sure we were having those conversations. At a roundtable meeting in July, we got more robust feedback. We learned that the youth wanted to hold the event, and that it was particularly important given this climate, the political and social context.”
As in previous years, Youth Pride will be held in Dupont Circle. The five-hour event takes place in the afternoon of Oct. 7, and features various speakers and performers, a booth where participants can design their own T-shirts, and representatives from various LGBTQ youth organizations offering brochures and other information on their services. Transgender rights advocate Gavin Grimm will serve as a keynote speaker at the event, while invitations have been extended to Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of the D.C. Council.
The celebration culminates with a dance party from 6-9 p.m. at the Tropicalia nightclub. Admission, limited to those under age 24, is free, and food and drinks will be provided.
“This is the 21st anniversary of Youth Pride Day and, at this particular moment, it’s important to have safe, supportive events for LGBTQ youth,” Blazucki says. “It’s an opportunity for our younger generation to connect with resources and be able to express themselves in ways they may not be able to at home or at school.”
DC Youth Pride is Saturday, Oct. 7 from Noon to 5 p.m. in Dupont Circle. The Youth Pride Dance is Oct. 7, from 6-9 p.m. at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. Visit youthpridealliance.org.