Around the country, interest in ethnic-specific gay pride celebrations has grown in recent years. A listing of 2010 celebrations at the website for the International Federation of Black Prides showed 41 multicultural pride events, including newer celebrations in places like New Orleans and Central South Carolina.
Many women are wanting even more specialization, demanding niche events where they don’t feel overshadowed by gay men, explains Gail Christian, organizer of Dinah in Color. The event, designed to offer lesbians of color a more diverse alternative to the traditional Dinah Shore Weekend, recently drew about 500 women, a big jump from the days when Christian and her partner hosted the event in their Palm Springs home.
Some photos from Dinah in Color 2010
“Big events geared toward women of color have come about with women of color and lesbians becoming more financially stable so they could support these events,” says Christian, who believes the trend has been building since the ’90s. “As they became more financially stable, then they had disposable income.”
At the same time, she says white party promoters have shown no true commitment to diversity, a charge that bothers Alison Burgos, founder of Aqua Girl. Burgos, who is Latina, acknowledges some 45 percent of the roughly 4,000 women expected to attend her event this year will likely be white. Still, she says she’s added black headliners and a hip hop/ R&B music night designed to make everybody feel comfortable.
“Part of me is a little disheartened,” she says. “We have worked so hard at Aqua Girl to create a culturally stimulating and diverse, welcoming event.”
But partygoers like Aryka Randall say there’s more to conquering the divide than putting a few Gucci Mane records in rotation. Randall has written about the topic of the race-based pride divide on her blog, TheFabFemme.com.
“I’ve brought white friends to a black club and people just kind of ignored them, so I understand why people don’t want to go to a club of a different race,” says Randall, who says the real task is getting women of all colors to step out of their comfort zones.
Randall says she promotes diversity on her own blog by including news and entertainment bits designed to interest people of all races. The multiracial blogger says while she attends both majority white and majority black prides, she looks forward to a day when there are fewer separate events.
“We’re so divided within our community,” says Randall who plans on attending events in Atlanta and Houston this summer. “Then no one can figure out why the straight community doesn’t want to take us seriously.”