COLUMN: LGBTQ+ Center Renews Mission for Upcoming Pride Celebration
annual Pride celebration slated for Saturday, June 11, in Phoenix Park
It’s been a rough year for LGBTQ+ issues in America. In legislatures across the country, including in our state, measures have been introduced that seek to suppress and silence LGBTQ+ people, and to further marginalize those already facing discrimination and prejudice. LGBTQ+ youth, and transgender youth especially, are being used as a tool to incite fear and hatred and justify laws that criminalize basic support and compassion. Locally, harassment and threats over LGBTQ+ protections in our schools have garnered Eau Claire national attention.
June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month in many places. A time to celebrate in shared joy the resilience, expression, and excellence not only of the many LGBTQ+ people living in our communities, but those who have gone before us. Who have fought for social recognition and acceptance in the face of the same hatreds that have made the last year so difficult. Pride is not merely a party – it’s a chance to reaffirm each other and our commitment to pushing for change and fighting for our rights. Which is why the theme of the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center’s Pride celebration this year is “Renew.”
Because, after COVID has strained so much in our lives, and after the recent efforts to undermine and reverse the progress made on LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance, it’s time to Renew our dedication to serving the diverse and wonderful LGBTQ+ people living in our communities. And we’re kicking that off on June 11 with what we hope to be our biggest Pride event yet, this year presented by Mayo Clinic Health System.
Pride is not merely a party – it’s a chance to reaffirm each other and our commitment to pushing for change and fighting for our rights.
CHIPPEWA VALLEY LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY CENTER
There will be vendors and tables from organizations based across the Chippewa Valley. Our partners at Transforming the Valley, Bolton Refuge House, and Black and Brown Womyn Power Coalition Inc. will all be attending and helping to make the event a success. There will be food trucks, live music from Jerrika Mighelle as well as a DJ, a performance put on by Transforming the Valley, and a drag show to cap it all off, as well as other activities to participate in throughout the day. In the week running up to Pride, we also hope to put on three panel discussions with professionals and enthusiasts about topics ranging from LGBTQ+ education to healthcare to creativity. The second CVLGBTQ+ Zine will also be released, and it will be full of local art, poetry, and prose. And we hope to add more events to help get people out and engaged.
We also hope to grow and adapt as we move forward. Building on the success or our inaugural LGBTQ+ Census last year, we plan to make the Census annual, and use the data we collect to help guide our efforts into the future. One important part of that will be renewing efforts to create and maintain a resource guide of LGBTQ+ friendly services and business in and around the Chippewa Valley. And after our physical Center has been closed to the public for most of the last two years due to COVID, we hope to once again host live events and gatherings, and hold open office hours. More details about that will be announced on our social media, newsletter, and website.
Pride is not merely a party – but it is a celebration. A celebration of LGBTQ+ people, history, and possibility. And we can’t wait to celebrate with you this year in Phoenix Park.
Charles Payseur is vice president of media at the Chippewa Valley LGBTQ+ Community Center and an active writer, editor, and critic.