Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

People's Pride Events Set as Alternative to Pridefest Organizers Say They Feel Neglected by Delta

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

People's Pride Events Set as Alternative to Pridefest Organizers Say They Feel Neglected by Delta

Article excerpt

LGBTQ groups unhappy with how the Delta Foundation has handled this weekend's PrideFest will hold People's Pride, an "alternative celebration" Saturday and Sunday.

The alternative gathering - which culminates in the People's Pride March at 1:30 p.m. Sunday - has received support from more than 40 local LGBTQ and other organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union. The parade begins at 349 Crawford St., Hill District, and will end at Downtown's Market Square.

Cairo Thomas, founder of SisTers PGH, a nonprofit that serves transgender and non-binary youth and adults, is spearheading People's Pride. A black transgender woman, she and other activists say the Delta Foundation has failed to adequately serve or represent the needs of the whole LGBTQ community.

"What we hope from this march is that Delta wakes up and realizes they've neglected us for years," she said. "If you really care about us, then help us. This march is still about pride and its celebration."

Many also believe that Delta over the years has shifted spending, with more money on the annual PrideFest event and less on community support and awareness for all groups.

Delta responded with a prepared statement: "The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh has worked tirelessly to create a culture of inclusivity by building relationships with many individuals and organizations. Through passionate dialogue and activism we have cultivated lasting friendships, developed alliances, and fostered partnerships advancing our community forward in ways that we never thought possible."

Activists also cited Delta's decision to sell the naming rights of the parade this year to EQT Corp., an oil and natural gas production company, as a major misstep. Its Pride Parade this year - to be held at 12:30 p.m Sunday from the PPG Paints Arena to Liberty Avenue - was renamed EQT Equality March.

"Look at who is sponsoring the parade," Ms. Thomas said. "Those sponsorships are keeping us divided. …

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